My Top 3 Places for Street Photography in Columbia

South Carolina doesn’t have this rich history of street photography like London, New York, and Los Angeles. I mean, it’s a small southern capital with plenty of surrounding neighborhoods easily accessible via the automobile. While the population density isn’t there (which is something that’s often sought after), the challenge is presents itself to create an image.

I’ve heard Ibarionex Perello often talk about his experiences standing in one place for 30 minutes to an hour, waiting on the shot. In Columbia, that may equate to an hour or more…it just depends. Nevertheless, the challenge is here. Where can I go to start creating images on the streets of Columbia? I’m glad you asked!

Here’s a list of my top 3 places to photograph in Columbia.

1. Soda City Market

The Soda City Market has become a part of the Columbia experience. There is an average of 150 vendors a week every Saturday from 9am - 1pm. There is not a shortage of vendors, patrons, or photographers. I like to get out as early as possible to catch the low, early morning light.

Two men walking
Woman looking at artwork
couple at market
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2. Five Points

Five Points is Columbia’s college-centric district. With three universities within walking distance, it has easily become the place for party-goers, revelers, and the like. One thing Five Points is known for is its characters. I’m sure Diane Arbus would have a field day here.

This is where I come to look for characters. Because of the layou, it’s not so much about catching interesting shadows between buildings or looking for great compositions. It’s about finding the right person to ask for a portrait. And Five Points doesn’t disappoint.

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3. Main Street

This is where I spend most of my time. Whether it’s in the morning or the evening, this is the place I end up a majority of the time. The tall buildings offer places for shadows, reflections, light pockets, etc. Also, it’s pedestrian friendly.

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Bonus!

Enjoy Columbia, but venture out! The surrounding towns have some interesting things if you just go and look!

South of the Border, SC

South of the Border, SC

Batesburg-Leesville, SC

Batesburg-Leesville, SC

Gilbert, SC

Gilbert, SC

Timmonsville, SC

Timmonsville, SC

Ridgeway, SC

Ridgeway, SC

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Both of these were taken at Pig on the Ridge in Ridgeway, SC, an annual BBQ festival located in rural South Carolina.

The goal is to get out and shoot. Have fun with it. Make it your own. Let most of the traditions go and start making images.