Street Photography – Toronto, CA

For the past several years, I’ve enjoyed the street photography posted here on WP.  For the first time, I deliberately shot some street photos while visiting Toronto on business a few weeks ago.  Along with the urban landscapes and architectural abstracts, I had a blast shooting in Toronto!

Canada Legal Day One at Saint James
Canada Legal Day One at Saint James
Adelaide St E Vignette 1
Adelaide St E Vignette 1
Yonge St Composition 3
Yonge St Composition 3
King St E Vignette 1
King St E Vignette 1
King St E Composition 1
King St E Composition 1

I would be interested in your feedback on my first intentional street photography effort.  For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version.

See also, Toronto Street Photography 2 and Toronto Street Photography 3!


C. S.

32 thoughts on “Street Photography – Toronto, CA

  1. I can honestly say that I would love see more street photography from you. I think all your shots from Toronto have been wonderful (architecture, abstract, etc). I enjoy viewing street photography on WP and other sites and I think your first intentional effort shows that you have an eye for this genre. My two favorite photos from this set are Adelaide St E Vignette 1 and King St E Composition 1. I hope to see more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I prefer the first two photos. The main thing is the person, nothing distracts. Especially in the last one are too much “eyecatchers”, my eyes don´t know where to look at… But this is just my opinion… Questionless all of them are good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mona, thanks for your great feedback. The last image is a bit busy. I went back and cropped a little tighter and brightened the overall exposure a bit. My intent was to have the streetcar rails lead into the streetcar, which is a point of departure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A great variety of images and if I didn’t know better, I’d say some of them were mine from Melbourne, Australia. Would you believe I’ve got 2 very similar shots as your first 2 in this post (which I love by the way).

    The 3rd shot makes me feel, (and this is just a personal thing), as though I’m falling to one side. I would straighten and lift the right hand side of the image a tiny bit so that the building tops are in more of a straight horizontal line at the top of the frame. The cafe walls on the right hand side look as though they’re leaning too much to the right (whereas the ‘no right turn’ sign on the left hand side of the frame, is only leaning slightly to the left)……if you know what I mean. I would make the 2 vertical lines on either side of the frame similar in crookedness. The cafe table tops which are white and stand out, look too crooked for my eye (for example) and need to be more horizontal. And yet, the lady walking down the street looks just fine to me. On the other hand this could all be an illusion due to the splay of lines in the composition. Sometimes the tiniest bit of straightening can make a big difference to the ‘balance’.

    I’ve got a couple of narrow alley way shots which are deliberately taken on the crooked with me kneeling down at ground level but the image clearly look intentionally crooked.

    FYI when I used my Canon DSLR, I seem to tip slightly to one side when I press the shutter button. When I use my lightweight Sony a6000 ‘mirrorless’ camera, my images (horizons etc) are always straight. Must be something to do with the size and weight of the camera/lens.

    I used to find it very hard to decide when to make the horizontal lines straight OR the vertical lines straight in high-rise buildings. Sometimes it works better to make all 4 sides of the frame slightly off, to get a ‘balanced’ composition. Sometimes it works better to make the vertical lines straight.

    Many, many times when I download my street photography, (which i don’t do any more by the way), I find I need to crop off a tiny 1/4″ off one side of the image. I used to find my eye was so fixated on the subject, I would miss a tiny distracting bit while out on the street at the time of taking the shot. I can’t see well enough to do much in the way of photo editing, so cropping 1/8″ or 1/4″ off one side can make the world of difference. This never really happens on my full frame Sony camera, only my Canon DSLR.

    Love the rough texture of the old brick building facade in the King St shot. This works extremely well in B & W. This is another one which is surprisingly similar in mood to one of mine. The only, (hopefully constructive), criticism, would be that the man in the hydraulic lift looks like his head and arm is chopped off. His white safety jacket blends in with the white frame of the hydraulic lift machine and confuses the eye. I suspect the wonderful texture of the building facade looks good in B & W and the man cleaning, or painting, doesn’t.

    The 4th (colour) image looks also similar to our main shopping mall in Melbourne except our trams are yellow and/or green. I thought this shot perfectly displays the busyness of the scene in inner modern cities and I like how your eye is drawn directly to the bright red of the tram.

    I read an article on the use of red in photography compositions (and advertising) only a couple of months ago. I think it was on DPS (Digital Photography School).

    I think the opposite to Mona Dee’s comment for that last shot. My eye is drawn directly to the bright red tram and is a perfectly balanced composition by capturing the man in the suit crossing the road (on the lower left of the frame).

    Photographing inner western city scenes can get too busy, but knowing when to convert them into B & W, and when to leave them in colour, so that one pop of colour, (in this case, red), draws your eye in, can take a while to learn. Some photographers naturally seem to have an eye for B & W.

    (BTW I am extremely short-sighted and use ‘distance’ glasses perched on the end of my nose to review my images on a 27″ high resolution screen attached to my 13″ Mac Pro laptop. I daresay if I was looking at only my tiny laptop, my opinions might differ. My reading glasses kept breaking on the side hinge, so since I need the ‘distance’ ones to walk around with, I wear them all the time now. In other words, I don’t have perfect vision up close).

    On a final note…….Street Photography is not as easy as it looks. You need to have your camera in your hand at all times with the lens cap off and fairly good camera settings for any potential scene you might see (especially if there are people walking, or other fast movement in the scene). Best way to learn is to take hundreds of shots and then analyse them later on the computer screen, to see what you like and why. Balance, contrast, learning to ‘see’ in monotone and quick reflexes help too. It’s not like B & W portrait photography when you can control the light, angle and the subject sits still.


  4. Hi Vicki, thanks so much for the wonderful and detailed feedback! b I went back an tilted the third shot back to the right about .47 ticks – it definitely helped. Click on the pic to see the change. Usually I try to make the center lines in the photo vertical. Doesn’t always work – not in this case. I like your approach of providing some additional space on the sides to crop in. I try sometimes to use a subtle amount of vertical tilt.

    I also went back and darken the worker’s vest – that also helps. I slid the red luminance value almost all the way down to make the darker bricks contrast more to light bricks. Yea, I agree the last image works better in color, I can see where there would be less to anchor the eye without the red streetcar.

    That’s cool too you have similar shots. I plan to sharpen my street photo chops. Thanks again for the thoughtful feedback!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome.

      To be honest, I wish people would say what they like (or dislike) on my own B & W blog. It’s so easy to say ‘great series’ or ‘nice shots’. We all have different styles or ways of capturing scenes, but I’d really like to hear what other bloggers think………even if I don’t agree with them…….I’d still like them to mention any odd part of the composition.

      I really noticed the difference in the worker’s vest you changed in particular. It may be only subtle, but it works for me. I had a look back through my own B & W blog to try and find my shot which is the similar tall narrow alley as your second shot and couldn’t find it – I must have deleted it. I like that figure in the right hand foreground. He really adds interest to the composition.

      The only comment I’ve ever disliked on my own blog was a ‘newbie’ photographer who literally just ‘told me off’ for not using the rule of thirds. He had said nothing constructive or useful for me to consider, just told me off. It would have been far more helpful if he had told me why he didn’t like my composition and what made it NOT work for him (not just some rule he had learned out of a book/or tutorial). I would have appreciated if he had made a constructive suggestion. I had used the ‘rule’ of diagonal lines in the shot (as it so happens) and I felt like replying that occasionally there are also other rules or ideas that work and still make the composition balanced and pleasing to the eye. When I looked at his own blog, I could see that he was very new to photography and he had taken the Rule of Thirds a bit too literally in EVERY single shot.

      I still learn something new every day and nothing beats practice, practice and more practice. My biggest problem was always where to put the horizon down at the beach, but a couple of professional landscape photographers have been very helpful when I asked them.


    1. Hi Jacob, thanks for stopping by. I visited your blog, you have a good eye for composition and street photography. Here are some thoughts:
      – my approach to street photography is a mix of visually interesting composition, photo journalism and social anthropology (study of people and culture). This is by no means unique, just how I think when I”m photographing
      – you have a solid foundation, just keep shooting and learning
      – unless, the scene or composition dictates otherwise, I prefer to maximize tonal range with all tones represented in the histogram. Until about a couple of years ago, I found much of my work was darker than I intervened. This was because my monitor was old and not old and properly calibrated. In some cases, a tilt to the darker and/or compressed tonal range is the intent of the photographer. This works well on the foggy bridge photo I commented on. In many of your other images it feels like they just need to be brightened up a bit. The last step in my workflow usually involves me pushing up the exposure a tad without pegging the highlight detail.
      – one final workflow tip I like. The end of my workflow ends up in film emulation software to give the grain and film characteristics of legacy film stock. Try the 30 day trial of Alien Skin’s Exposure X software, or the free Google film emulation software.


      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think they’re good work. I can’t decide if I actually like the monochrome ones more or if it’s just that I expect street photography to be black and white 🤔. Looking forward to seeing more of your work

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Andy. While street photography is likely rooted in photojournalism, I do agree with those who would say the absence of color elevates the compositional elements of shape, texture, light, mood and message. Cheers!


  7. Pingback: Street Photography – Toronto, CA — C.S. Young Jr. Fine Art Photography – SEO
  8. Excellent compositions. Found your blog through a random tag search on wordpress and I’m happy I landed here. Particularly like the shot with the man walking across the tramline. Great timing there. Look forward to more. Cheers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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