"Can I take your picture?"

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Lupecita, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. Lupecita

    Lupecita TPF Noob!

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    As I visit New York City often, I frequently see amazing photo opportunities in people. As I have just recently started out in photography (I took my first class at school last year), I have occupied my time by taking pictures of signs, trees, animals, buildings, etc. But lately, I have become more interested in photographing people. My question is: how do you ask someone if you can take their picture? I know it can be as simple as "can I take your picture?", but don't people change the way they're acting when you ask that? How can you preserve the moment without being rude to your subject?

    Thanks!
     
  2. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    My main concern was not to get shot, while my friend exclaims: "oh cool! there's barbed wire around the coffee shot!!!"
     
  3. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    There are loads of techniques for getting people to say "yes" to you, but you won't get good candids by asking first.

    My favourite technique is to shoot from the hip (not literally) and pretend to be cleaning my camera or fiddling with it and to hope the composition is ok.

    Rob
     
  4. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    Shoot first don't ask questions ever (may involve some running)
     
  5. Lupecita

    Lupecita TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, guys. So it's better not to ask, and just hope for the best?

    Oh, and Daniel: I am quite the fast sprinter. :wink:
     
  6. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    just make sure you can run faster than bullets and you're sorted :lol:
     
  7. df3photo

    df3photo TPF Noob!

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    When I was in school (for photography) in Pittsburgh, that was one of our assignments (take pictures of random people on the streets...) What we did many atime with out insident was walked up to the people and said "can we take your picture, its for a class assignment..." 9 out of 10 times they said ok. if not, fine we moved along. Most of those pictures where more of a portraite and not much of part of what they where doing at the time...
    Another assignment we had was the same except we wherent suposed to let people know we where taking ther picture and when the teacher said "shoot from the hip" he ment "shoot from the hip" or like Rob said above. just dont let them see you, and alot of time you do get some great shots with different framing that you would have done normally.
    Other than that, If your on public property you can shoot who and whatever you like at any time. Just watch if your on property around a building and you think its public... Ive been yelled at by security afew times... but just play dumb and it will usually end up ok, or take off if you see someone comming...
    I would say alot of people will let you photograph them if its not going to end up published as well... you can alway lie to them and say its for class... but make sure you check your subject out completely... I found this guy once and older african american in a tweed suit and hat standing next to a building that was tiled with colorfull blocks... I asked him, he said yes so i photographed him, walked away and my friend said... "he was a great subject... with the mechanical arm and all..." oups... i somehow failed to notice that he had a shinny steal apendage protruding from his tweed jacket.... and cropped it out... and i think it would have made the picture just alittle more interesting...
    good luck!
     
  8. RBMKAlpha

    RBMKAlpha TPF Noob!

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    Politeness and attitude are key. "Pardon me, sir" "Pardon me, m'am" sort of thing.

    About candids, what happens if you snapped a shot and someone reacted angrily? Explain your purpose, or beat it out of there? (Probably depends on the nature of the situation.)

    Plus, there are some histironic people who probably wouldn't mind being photographed at all, or actually like it. (Of course, those eccentric people might also react very badly, so use caution.)
     
  9. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    All good advice! :thumbup:

    I find it really wierd when people come up to me and say "Can/Will you take my picture".... WHY??? Maybe it turns them on or something, but they're definitely freaks to be avoided!
     
  10. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    I find that odd too. they ask to have their picture taken then walk off :shock: what was the point of taking it? I don't want a picture of you!
     
  11. Lupecita

    Lupecita TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the great advice. You've been so helpful. :)
     
  12. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    That happens to me often, and I give out cards and tell them they can order a print, and I never hear from them :p
     

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