The ‘f/8 and be there’ rule serves to remind us that capturing a fleeting moment is sometimes more important than the equipment or camera settings a photographer has used to photograph the scene.
If you are looking to try your hand at street photography (or improve your success rate in the genre) then try using the following ‘set-and-forget’ settings while using a 35 mm equivalent wide-angle lens. It is a great opportunity to try your hand at manual exposure and manual focus and see that sharp, well exposed images are not as difficult to achieve as you may imagine.
The advantage of using the following manual settings is that you don’t have to worry about exposure compensation or accurate focus, leaving you to focus on seeing the moment.
Set the focal length to 35 mm (or equivalent),the aperture to f/8 and the shutter speed to 1/250 and then adjust the ISO depending on the ambient light conditions (see the reference table above ).
If you are using manual focus, try pre-focussing on a subject approximately 3 meters from you and leave it at this distance for the shoot. Remember f/8 will cover any minor focus errors, so long as you are using a wide-angle lens and you are not too close to your subject, i.e. all your subject is included from head to toe.
One of the creative tasks during my one-on-one training sessions and workshops is to show you how to capture decisive moments in the ‘street photography’ style of shooting.