How to snap top street style photos

Street style photographer Roy Zhang offers his expert advice

Photo: Roy Zhang
Street style photographer Roy Zhang ( shares his expert advice on how to take great street style fashion snaps in Shanghai

Time I like to head out between 3pm and 6pm, for the soft afternoon light and the steady stream of people heading home from work – you’re likely to see something special. Of course, any time I go out I have my camera with me, just so I don’t get caught without it when something catches my eye.


Location For street style photos I like going to the former French Concession and Nanjing Xi Lu to look for a background before I shoot. I like going to events too, like the Central Studios Spring Fair, since there are always plenty of interesting people there.

Subjects I don’t like taking pictures of people who dress to the nines just to stand out, but rather people who have their own special quirks and characteristics. I think that’s a quality that comes from someone’s personality and not just their appearance. A subject’s age isn’t a big factor for me and I love trying to capture older people who still show great vitality.


Interaction with subjects When I want to take someone’s picture I usually introduce myself, explain what I do and get their permission before taking the shot. I like chatting with them, because that way they become more relaxed and I can capture them in a more natural state. Many people don’t want to look into the lens, so it’s better to take a more natural shot.


Equipment My goal is to use as little equipment as possible, so generally I’m not carrying many things when I go out. It’s important to take advantage of peripheral lighting, like from street lamps and store fronts, so even in the evenings I don’t carry a flashbulb. I use a Nikon D3 with an 85mm f/1.4G lens and that’s all I need.