Cameras have always been loud -- the clack and whirr of the shutter, the mirror, the film as it rewinds. At least we don't have to use those giant flash bulbs with the reflective dish anymore, like the reporters in the old black-and-white gangster movies did.
Cameras are still loud, though, even if you haven't loaded an actual roll of film since the 1990s. Digital cameras and camera phones beep and ding and make loud, unnecessary shutter sounds. Auto-focus beams shoot out at the subject's face, strobes reduce red-eye and flashes can occasionally go off when you (and your subject) least expect it. If you're going to practice urban photography, you'll need to turn all of this extra stuff off.
Digital cameras have also made it easy to immediately check the image on the screen, but try to avoid doing this in the street as you're taking pictures. If the subject notices you checking the image, he or she is probably going to wonder what you're doing and why you need a picture. This, like the surprise of a flash, is going to change the picture you get -- and probably not for the better.
For more urban photography tips and information about other related subjects, follow the links on the next page.