Understanding Street Photography by Bryan Peterson: the human condition in all forms

New book understanding street photography by Bryan Peterson
(Image credit: Bryan Peterson)

Acclaimed international photographer, Bryan Peterson, has curated a new photography book titled Understanding Street Photography, offering useful tutorials covering a vast array of subject matter and insight into how images were created. 

Something for every reader, this book by a global bestselling author and worldwide photography teacher can help advise on how to capture those decisive moments while expanding your vision to create those compelling compositions.

Supposedly, street photography is one of the most searched photography categories on Instagram, along with travel photography and the best camera for street photography is a popular bit of gear to own. Some might suggest that various elements of travel photography in recent years have been adapted from methods of traditional street photography, with tourists capturing buzzing city streets frequently as opposed to remote beaches and dreamy destination landscapes.

This latest book from renowned portrait and landscape photographer Bryan Peterson takes a new form in the category of a beginners guide to street photography. “Street photography allows you to capture the human condition in all of its good, bad, joy-filled, sad, tragic, celebratory beauty.” he shares.

Understanding Street Photography by Bryan Peterson, published by Watson-Guptill. (Image credit: Bryan Peterson)

Since 2003, Peterson has written 13 photography books, in nine different languages, and is widely recognised in the photographic community as the author and photographer of Understanding Exposure, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. 

In addition, Peterson has curated best-selling titles such as Learning to See Creatively and Understanding Color. If this weren't enough, Peterson is also the founder of an online photography school and leads photography workshops around the world. 

The secrets to mastering street photography are revealed in his latest offering, from shooting city streets to country roads and the intriguing alleyways in between. Described as a master class, the tutorial book defines street photography as 'images that convey evidence of human interaction, whether that’s a striking cityscape, an image of rush-hour foot traffic, the remains of a half-eaten sandwich, or a pedestrian portrait'.

(Image credit: Bryan Peterson)

Peterson shares 120 “mini diaries” throughout Understanding Street Photography, as well as the story behind each included image; the thought process; composition arrangement; psychology of colors; and  which lens was used. Peterson also discloses helpful image specifications such as the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO used for readers to attempt to replicate his work. 

An admittedly very candid approach to photography education and teaching. Sharing knowledge is a great way to help beginner photographers get their heads around the technical side of things and that's exactly what Bryan Peterson does in Understanding Street Photography. 

(Image credit: Bryan Peterson)

Both Professional and aspiring photographers alike will learn from this book, honing skills to produce posed and candid compositions and capture movement while working with aspects such as light, shadows, weather, signage and architecture. 

Street photography as an art form requires a keen awareness of your surroundings and how people, vehicles, and bicycles interact with encompassing aspects.

(Image credit: Bryan Peterson)

Endless opportunities are present in street photography for creatives to experiment with varied shutter speeds, implying motion or alternately freezing the action, or perhaps even optimizing the simple act of panning.

Through lessons, exercises, and anecdotes, Bryan Peterson provides his best tips for capturing the unpredictable world of urban life in motion, and will help awaken your senses to the amazing possibilities for image-making on global streets. 

Published by Watson-Guptill, Understanding Street Photography will be available to purchase in August 2022 at a RRP of £25 ($31 /AU$44 approximately). 

Discover the best books on street photography and 14 essential street photography tips to help you improve your street craft.

Read more: 

Best lens for street photography
The ultimate guide to street photography - Part 1: Lenses
The ultimate guide to street photography – Part 2: Camera settings 

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.