Can you shoot street photography without humans? 10 tips

Are you wondering can you shoot street photography without humans? Of course you can! However, before digging in, here's a secret: Humans are attracted to other humans. When looking at a photo, nothing attracts the eye more than humans. So when you want to shoot street photography without humans, you must work extra hard at keeping the attention trough other means. Let's dig right in…

Can you shoot street photography without humans?

Yes you can shoot street photography without humans, you just need to focus on these:

Let's look at each more in detail…

1. Shoot buildings

Street photography without human

Buildings make for a great subject matter without humans. Simply look up and shoot interesting buildings. However, be warned that a building does not make a great street photograph. You must make sure that there is SOMETHING special to the building you are shooting, like dramatic light, reflections, etc.

2. Shoot the scenery

street scene in japan without humans

If buildings themselves don't fancy you, look at the scenery. You will have to look at street photography from a landscape photographer's perspective. Since you probably have a wide angle lens, this is great to shoot the urban landscape.

3. Make color your subject

When making color your subject, make sure the colors you chose are the main draw. In the shot above, the bright red is attracting the eye and holds the attention. The color is the shot when you want to make images like these.

4. Make light your subject

A bit similar to the make color your subject, in this case you want to pay extra attention to light. Either the draw is the color or the soft qualities of light. The shot above is a good example of drawing from all 3 of the previous street photography tips: Shoot streetscapes, color and light.

5. Look for discarded objects

A great subject that is not human is discarded objects. Whatever those are look for them. There's plenty in the streets like sneakers, boxes, TVs, etc. Shoot those and make street photography that doesn't have people in it.

All of the images in this page have been processed with these street photography presets.

6. Look for reflections

Reflection provide really interesting patterns when you shoot them. As I have said without humans it's hard to grab the attention but with reflections of windows, water and more it creates interest capable of not only drawing but also holding the attention of your viewer.

7. Shoot animals

Street Photograph of a Cat on a Car

One great street photography subject to shoot without anyone (and a great subject in general) is the animal kindgdom. Good look for trying to shoot mice and other bugs, but cats and dogs are pretty are pretty darn current in the streets. You can make a whole body of work simply doing dog street photography.

8. Dead things

Death is part of life and also part of the streets. It makes for a grim image and a memento mori, a reminder of death. I'm a happy-go-lucky guy, so I don't seek these out but to paraphrase a photography quote: I ain't saying no to an image if it falls on my lap!

9. Traces of humans

While you might not want to particularly shoot humans, you can shoot traces of humans. Act as if yo are an archaeologist shooting a scene you've just discovered. Shoot bicycles, decapitated windows and more. Shoot the evidences that humans are present without ever seeing them.

10. Shooting Murals

If you live in a city, chances are there are billboards, advertisement and more you can shoot. These are always an excellent and easy subject to shoot and 100% human-free. Crop-in tight for an extra effect.

What's next? The other 99.99%

I've revealed 10 ways to make street photography without humans. If you are reading this you are interested in street photography, right? Well these 10 tips are nothing (like 0.01%) compared to what's in my brain-dump street photography course. I reveal my best-kept secrets there, everything from secrets of art history to graphic design.

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