Capturing the Essence of Everyday Life: A Guide to Street Photography

Photography allows us to creatively express ourselves while capturing the beauty of the world around us. Street photography, in particular, is a powerful way to document everyday life, culture, and people, while also providing an opportunity to step out of our comfort zones and explore new places. In this post, we’ll discuss some of our work using street photography and provide tips for taking more engaging photographs.

Recently, The Highrise Project collaborated with LASSN (Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network) on their Connecting Opportunities programme to offer photography walks to their participants. The goal of these informal sessions was to introduce individuals to new areas of Leeds or encourage them to look at familiar places in new ways. Participants were taught techniques for capturing more engaging photographs using both their phones and digital cameras, as well as how to edit their photos and develop an understanding of photographic vocabulary. During the walks, the group visited the Specialist Gardens in Roundhay Park as well as Leeds City Centre, exploring the contrasts between nature and the urban landscape while learning about the history and function of the different spaces.

Using street photography enabled the participants to share their own perspectives on Leeds, showcasing its essence by documenting the people, buildings, and surrounding culture. Through highlighting the ordinary, edgy, humorous, and poignant, the work they produced captured the textures and colours of everyday life. You can see more of the photos we took on the project page. If you’ve ever wanted to take more creative and interesting photographs, why not challenge yourself to explore your surroundings with your camera or phone? Try out some of the ideas below, either on your own or with family and friends, and share them with us on social media.

Black and White: Take a series of photographs that focus on shapes, textures, and contrast, with the restriction of shooting only in black and white.

Minimalism: Challenge yourself to capture images that are simple, minimalist, and uncluttered, with a focus on negative space.

Colour: Select one bright colour and challenge yourself to capture it in various settings, making it the main focus of the image.

Reflections: Capture creative and interesting reflections in water, mirrors, or other reflective surfaces.

Low Light: Practice your low light photography skills by shooting in conditions where natural light is limited, such as during sunrise or sunset.

Food: Take pictures of food that are creative and visually appealing, highlighting the colours, textures, and presentation.

Macro: Focus on the intricate details of small subjects, such as flowers, insects, or household items.

Silhouettes: Capture the outline of a subject against a bright background, with the subject appearing as a dark shadow.

Double Exposure: Experiment with double exposure photography, where two images are combined to create a unique and creative composition.

Texture: Focus on capturing interesting textures and patterns in the world around you, such as the bark of a tree, a brick wall, or a rocky surface. Experiment with different angles, lighting, and focus to bring out the details and uniqueness of each texture.

You don’t need an expensive camera to take great shots. Here are a few handy tips to help you with your photography walk challenge. 

Change your viewpoint: Don’t just stand in one spot and take photos from the same angle – move around and experiment with different viewpoints. Try getting low to the ground, shooting from above, or angling your phone to capture a unique perspective.

Turn your camera upside down: This may sound odd, but it can actually lead to some interesting shots. By turning your phone upside down, you can create a different framing or perspective, which can add a new layer of interest to your photos.

Experiment with lighting: Lighting is key to good photography, and you can experiment with natural light, artificial light, or a combination of both. Try shooting during different times of day or in different lighting conditions, and see how it affects your photos.

Use editing apps: Don’t be afraid to use editing apps to enhance your photos. There are many free and paid apps available that can help you adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, and more. Just be careful not to over edit, as it can make your photos look unnatural.

Remember, the best camera is the one you have with you, and with these tips, you can take great photos with just your phone. Once you have your photographs, share them by tagging us using @leedshighrise on Twitter or @thehighriseproject on Instagram. You can also email them to us at We’d love to see your creativity in action!

Image courtesy of Nelson Rodriguez