When it comes to street photography, 35mm is typically the recommended focal length because of its semi-wide angle view. It’s wide enough for including more of the scene in your frame, or even shooting in cramped locations. But, it also encourages you to get closer to your subjects for great street portraits. These qualities and more make it the choice of photojournalists and street photographers, alongside another popular focal length: 50mm.
In the video above, London street photographer Shane Taylor of Framelines talks about two reasons why he loves 50mm lenses for street photography. First, it has a perspective equal to the human eye, a quality the focal length is perhaps best known for. However, he also mentions a bunch of factors to keep in mind about this. Next is how 50mm lenses place a good length of personal space between you and your subjects. It gives you a good chance of not being noticed so the scene you’re capturing isn’t disturbed. Therefore, using this focal length can be especially crucial if, like Taylor, you prefer to shoot as a spectator and/or observer.
As a bonus street photography inspiration, he also included a peek at Elliott Erwitt’s new book, “Found, Not Lost.” Erwitt, as you may know, holds preference for 50mm lenses since the early days of his career.
Do you have other reasons for shooting with 50mm lenses? Drop them in the comments below! Don’t forget to join the Photofocus Community as well and share them our photography group discussions.