Workers at the Long Bien Market
Workers at the Long Bien Market

Hanoi Street Photography

Hanoi is a city with a special character: the chaotic traffic with millions of scooters and motorbikes, skinny shop houses, tiny dark alleys, busy sidewalk cafes, smoky street restaurants... It may sound crazy but Hanoi is a pedestrian-friendly and a very walkable city, too. It seems that Hanoi happens to be made for great photography. And photographers will find it just easy to walk about and capture amazing scenes just around the corner...

Pedicabs on a street in Hanoi
Pedicabs on a street in Hanoi

I don't know how many times I have wandered in the streets of the Old Quarter with my camera. Familiar things have become yet I'm still attracted to the great atmosphere, the cacophony of traffic, the smell of food and coffee, the colors, the contrasting scenes... Seasons repeat, faces and the streets are too familiar, but the moments are not to experience twice. It is based on these moments that the life of a photographer counts, at least it is true for myself only. Moments bring inspirations, creativity, knowledge and more understanding of life... It is the moments that you can wander forever in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and still find it strangely new again. 

A souvenir vendor in Hanoi
A souvenir vendor in Hanoi

 Am I making things more complicated than they actually are? Yes and No. No, I am not exaggerating because street photography covers a wide range of topics from photography of shops, cityscape... to photography of people's life, their behaviors, emotions... More for the No, because street photography is dependent on natural light conditions, the weather... Or in other words, you can not control your objects and the scenes and that you have to make quick decisions unexpectedly all the time...

A shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi
A shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

 Yes, street photography is simple that anyone with a camera can do it, it is all about documenting people's life anyway. Nowadays you can use your smart phone for street photography really; you carry it with you all the time and ready to take photos of anything that come in your way and stir up some interest in you. Obtaining some basic knowledge of photography, possessing a special interest in capturing people's life and keeping on honing your observation skills are all that you need to become a great street photographer. You may still be with me, but I am afraid that I'm wandering far off my topic, so let us get back.

a hat shop in Hanoi Old Quarter
A hat shop in Hanoi Old Quarter

 Walking in the Old Quarter of Hanoi one would expect to encounter busy traffic with pedestrians, scooters and rickshaws vying for every little gap to move forward. Everyone keeps blowing their horns every now and again as if the louder ones would be allowed to go first. You would expect see tiny shop houses that a family or many times some families share a little space. Everything you encounter here would probably be made great for street photography. You take pictures of people going about their life, of their houses, of their shops.... You manage to capture their emotions, their thinking... You breathe into your photos something of your emotions and artistic skills to make your works tell stories.... You surely get great photos then.

A shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi
A shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi selling hats and banners

The pictures in this article are some my own works that you may find helpful in shaping up your expectations before you take a trip yourself in this little cozy town. Hopefully these photos help you with more ideas about the suitable gears that you need for your photo trip to Hanoi. Keep in mind however that your gears may assist you to have sharp images, but it is you who make your photos tell stories. And it is that which defines great photography. 

Traffic near Hoan Kiem Lake
Traffic near Hoan Kiem Lake

 

 

Street dining in Hanoi
Street dining in Hanoi

 

 

Street food in Hanoi
Street food

 

 

A bonsai vendor
A bonsai vendor

 

 

A vendor in the Old Quarter
A vendor in the Old Quarter

 

 

Decorations in front of a house
Decorations in front of a house

 

 

A food vendor in the Old Quarter
A food vendor in the Old Quarter

 

 

Grilling food on the street
Grilling food on the street

 

 

A fruit vendor
A fruit vendor

 

 

Stools for dining on a pavement
Stools for dining on a pavement

 

 

A pickled fruit shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi
A pickled fruit shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

 

 

Rice balls - Troi Tau
Rice balls - Troi Tau

 

 

Festive atmosphere of the Old Quarter
Festive atmosphere of the Old Quarter

 

 

A lady selling souvenirs
A lady selling souvenirs

 

 

A flower in the Old Quarter
A flower in the Old Quarter

 

 

A worker hurrying in the traffic
A worker hurrying in the traffic

 

 

A street vendor
A street vendor

 

 

Ladies dining on a pavement
Ladies dining on a pavement

 

 

A street vendor
A street vendor

 

 

A cyclo driver in the Old Quarter by a luxurious car
A cyclo driver in the Old Quarter by a luxurious car