Approaching a subject...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by CannonKid, May 16, 2007.

  1. CannonKid

    CannonKid TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I wanted to ask all of you how you approached human subjects? I’ve seen some people on the street with great character (whether it be features or clothing etc…) and I’m wondering how you guys approach them and get the shot without creeping them out? I’m wondering if just holding a camera usually makes people a little more accepting. In the areas I live in tho I couldn’t picture them thinking anything else but that I’m a weirdo – or that I might in turn use the photos for malicious or perverted purposes. Do you guys make every subject you photograph sign a release? I’m a large black guy, I know race don’t matter at all but we ARE talking about the real world out there. Should I maybe make sure to be wearing a nice dress shirt or something. Do you think that it would maybe make my purpose look a little more legitimate? Do you guys get shot down a lot, like people just shying away from the camera like you were pointing a gun at them? Right now I couldn’t imagine an adult giving me permission to take random photo’s of their children (or am I mostly looking at pictures from other countries where maybe things like that are more accepted?) I’m just wondering what works best for you guys. Every day that passes I’m a day closer to getting my baby back! Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Tavis
     
  2. milosmyth

    milosmyth TPF Noob!

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    hi Tavis

    I find it depends on your approach. Sometimes camera up taking continuous shots work, sometimes a polite request for permission to take the shot works.
    But what is most important is your clothing. cheap t shirt and scruffy jeans are great for shots of still images but people are uncomfortable when approached by someone who does not look safe. So I find a jacket over the t shirt often works and again ask ask ask and do not take offense when people say no.
     
  3. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Some guys I have spoken to have (what I would call in the uk) "Balls". They are not embarrassed at all. Have a business card or something and offer them prints. Me on the other hand, I'm like you and find it tough asking to take someone's picture.
     
  4. Augphoto

    Augphoto TPF Noob!

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    I, too, have trouble with this. I've passed up many a good photo because I was worried I might offend or 'creep' someone out. Yet, we see many great street shots by others. Sadly, I guess I don't have the "Balls" that are needed. How many out there have the ability to take these shots? Sure wish I could.
     
  5. AlexisRhea

    AlexisRhea TPF Noob!

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    Great Question!
    I personally still have hang-ups in this area. I don't want to be intrusive or "weird". I keep a small notepad in my camera bag and offer to send them a copy of the photo via email.
    I think the biggest factor is the confident attitude. If YOU don't feel like you are a weirdo or threat, act like what you are doing is completely safe and normal, I suspect that will carry over to how the people you approach will feel. Trust me, I know its a challenge! I'm probably not seen as so much of a threat, but I still feel awkward asking. Have confidence in yourself that you are a pro. ;)

    I'm looking forward to what the others have to say!
     
  6. Augphoto

    Augphoto TPF Noob!

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    You are probably very, right about this. Still, even knowing this, I need to develop more in this area.
     
  7. d1a1s1

    d1a1s1 TPF Noob!

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    I was seriously thinking of dressing half way decent and making a fake "Press" badge! Also, Im active duty Military and if Im in uniform people seem less concerned when I take their picture. I just dont like to wear the uniform in my free time.
     
  8. nrdm

    nrdm TPF Noob!

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    What I was recommended was to be friendly and approach with a smile. Start a conversation with the person, get to know a bit about them, and to tell them what you'd like to do. And don't have your camera out ready to snap a picture - this tends to make most people feel uneasy.

    Seems like I'm not the only one having the problem of approaching people :lol:
     
  9. d1a1s1

    d1a1s1 TPF Noob!

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    But that doesnt work if your trying to catch a candid moment.
     
  10. CannonKid

    CannonKid TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies, and it's good to know others share my plight!

    So it looks like a little bit nicely dressed, friendly attitude and i like the idea of not having the camera in 'ready to get the picture' mode. Maybe still have it in the bag so it doesn't seem like i'm SO DETERMINED to get the shot. I was liking the fake press badge, but maybe just saying that your a columinst or working on a project for the local paper or something would make it not SOOO faked heh. I liked the notepad too, ready to get the info the send them the pictures. Hopefully this helps them warm up to you.

    Keep 'em comin'! I'm happy with the response ive been getting - and i've gotten more ideas now :)

    Thanks!

    Tavis
     
  11. RobinChen

    RobinChen TPF Noob!

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    I'm a sales consultant for T-mobile, and IMHO I think it all comes down to this.
    1. Confidence, know what your selling. In this case, your selling the customer a free picture of themselves that they may or may not use after u send it to them.
    2. Feel them out. Remember just like in photography its all about perspective. What you see on your end might be fine to you, however on their side it might be a whole new story.
    Be respectful and Don't get upset if you get a no.
     
  12. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    What I sometimes do is pick a spot on a busy street and just sit down on a low wall or bench or something. I then just hold the camera up and pretend to be taking a picture of something else. Every now and then someone will walk by who I think is interesting and I will snap them as they walk by. They don't think that they are the subject tho and that you are just taking a picture of something else. I have times people have even apologized for getting in my way.... little did they know they were the subject.


    As side general appearance can say a lot. I hate to go into the whole "if you have a really giant camera and lens it means you are better" but in the public's eye if they see a big camera, big camera bag, and a lot of confidence they probably won't think anything of it. Business cards are also a good idea, it will make you look more professional and not "a scary creep"
     

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