Urban street photographer reveals his candid capture secrets

Urban street photography
(Image credit: Michael Eugster)

1. Statics and movement 

By combining rigid architectural characteristics with organic structures, Michael has created an interesting interplay between a still moment and movement. The contrast turns the human silhouette into an additional graphic element of the photography and, because of this, the photograph is eye-catching and visually appealing. Integrating a person into the background allows parallels to be drawn between graphic and dynamic structures, preserving the balance within the image.

2. Strong contrasts

Dark shadow areas eliminate detail in the architectural elements and anonymize the person. “The strong contrasts go well with this silhouette image and help focus the eye on the essentials,” Michael says. The light background supports the dominant lines, creating a clear demarcation between both pictorial planes. Despite the static composition, the interaction between the light and dark parts of the image creates a certain dynamic that is characteristic of a light and shadow situation.

3. Color management 

The choice of color here radiates a sense of objectivity, allowing the image to appear clear and the details to be visible. “The colors in the blue spectrum fit well with the minimalist style of the image,” says Michael. Due to the surface structure of the material, the colors change throughout to create a unique effect. The color gradient highlights the graphic elements and demonstrates how multifaceted these components are. This interaction creates a visual contrast between color and structure.

4. Graphic elements 

By limiting the colors, the architectural elements stand out and are transformed into graphic lines. The graphic elements operate like building blocks and create a clear pictorial composition. The dominant structures skilfully guide the viewer’s gaze throughout the photograph.“This station is interesting in terms of its architecture and it offers countless possibilities when composing pictures. The windows in the background, the stairs that form diagonal lines up to the struts are all elements that help to structure the picture graphically,” says Michael.

Tech details

Fujifilm X-Pro 3

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 3

Lens: Fujifilm XF-35mm F1.4 R

Aperture: f/2.5 

Shutter speed: 1/1700sec 

ISO: 250

Michael Eugster

Zurich-based Michael Eugster focuses on candid moments on urban streets. By observing people, he captures unique moments and documents everyday life. His work was presented at the PhotoSchweiz 2021 exhibition. 


This article originally appeared in Digital Photographer, a monthly magazine, and the kitbag essential for pros, enthusiasts, and amateurs alike!

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Kim Bunermann
Technique Editor

Kim is the Technique Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine. She specializes in architecture, still life and product photography and has a Master's degree in Photography and Media with a distinction from the FH Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany. While studying, Kim came to the UK for an exchange term at the London College of Communication. She settled in the UK and began her career path by joining Future. Kim focuses on tutorials and creative techniques, and particularly enjoys interviewing inspiring photographers who concentrate on a range of fascinating subjects including women in photography, the climate crisis; the planet, its precious creatures and the environment.

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