Diane Wehr Street Photography

Dedicated to Street

A Street Photography Blog

Parts Is Parts - The Beauty of Detail Shots

I am so glad my sister-in-law, Mary, alerted me to this photo opportunity when we were in Cappadocia, Turkey.


Everyone is doing it. Certainly the wedding photographers are doing it. In every wedding portfolio there are pictures of the bouquet and the rings and perhaps the wedding dress on its hanger. The newborn photographers are doing it, too. Tiny feet and tiny hands and tiny ears are too charming to pass up.

The architectural photographers certainly photograph the striking parts of a building that contribute to the grandeur of the whole building.  And flower photographers can get quite wrapped up in pistols and stamens and leafs and bugs on leafs.

Street photographers should do it, too. In his excellent article, People and Portrait Photography Tips, written for National Geographic, Robert Caputo observes, “The details of the human body make great photographic subjects, either as expressions of ideas or emotions, as graphic shots, or as a way to say something about an individual.”

There is no place like home to start practicing. When my granddaughter Lucy was born, my daughter took a lot of pictures, most of them on her cell phone. Here is one that was not an exceptional shot, until it was post processed into a detail shot.

Photo by Kate Wehr Johnson. Used with permission.

I have a grandmother’s mug with this picture on it. It is my favorite of the pictures.

Photo by Kate Wehr Johnson. Used with permission.

You do not have to have a baby in the house to have opportunity. Hands fixing food or knitting, feet kicking balls or running, the reflections in sun glasses, all are opportunities for telling a story about a person in the moment.

 Here are some things to look for when taking detail shots:

 Can you create an emotion?

Photo by Paula Reardon. Used with permission. Perhaps it is my age, but this makes me feel wistful. You can see Paula’s gallery on Instagram at @paula.reardon.nyc.

Can you hint at an interaction?

Photo by Neil Goodwin. Used with permission. I think we get the picture here. You can see Neil’s gallery on Instagram at @drneilgoodwin.

Can you create the sense of motion?

The father makes the drums in Panama and the son wins the competitions.

Can you get a message across about someone’s social status or where they are in the human life cycle?

Photo by Shar H. Used with permission. You can see Shar’s b&w gallery on Instagram at @findinginterestingpeople, her new color street photography account at @colormystreet, and her first gallery of pictures taken mostly with an iPhone at @Phillylady2.

 Can you convey what someone does for a living or a hobby?

Photo by John Farnsworth. Used with permission. You can see John’s gallery on Instagram at @johnsfarnsworthphotographer or on his website at johnfarnsworthphotographer.com.

Writing a blog has several parts to it. Sometimes the easy part is the writing. The much harder part is finding the right pictures to fit into it. It took a long time to find the pictures for this blog. I think that is because street photographers are not often enough seeking the opportunities to take detail pictures.


If you haven’t taken detail shots of humans, go out and give it a try.