To keep it brief:
I love WLF for shooting the streets - I'm sure this has been brought up by someone else by now but if not it's a great option.
Wide angle lenses are nice - usually you can look at something in the distance as if you're lining up a shot of that with a telephoto and then snap away - I've done this a lot over here in China.
Another thing I've done is to wait on a busy street lining up a shot of a building and waiting for the right person or group of people moving in an interesting way in front of it as they pass by. Most people wont notice - again a wide angle lens is nice here - you can shoot the building and some fascinating characters in front of it.
When you say 'stick a camera in camera in someone's face...' I hope you don't mean that literally - if you want the candid street photo look then this will never work. That being said you can certainly take photos of people if you don't mind talking to them...but it really depends on your intentions here. Most people don't mind if an interesting person finds them interesting as well and asks to take a photo...this is my experience anyhow.
For the 'people of the street' (ie the homeless) it's a good idea to talk to them first, during, and after. I did a project on 'bums' in highschool and it was a great challenge at first but became very comfortable. I traveled to different cities around Canada around that time and hung out and photographed a number of the street folk - I usually offered them a cigarette and we were able to shoot the breeze and enjoy the process together. I definitely recommend it, and the next time you see them I'm sure they'll give you a warm smile and wave. I was later able to track some of them down and give them some finished prints - this made them VERY happy and I got a couple of good hugs and handshakes out of it.
So you can be discrete and shoot without people knowing or try to be slightly obnoxious in your outgoing attitude and see what happens - chances are the more outgoing you are the more attention you will attract from other outgoing people - try to get people to notice you - if people stare for more than a couple of seconds it's a good way entry for you to ask them if you can shoot them.
That's my ¥2.
Last edited by jamesgignac; 09-09-2010 at 05:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.