Photographing Strangers, please help

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by hawkeye, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. hawkeye

    hawkeye TPF Noob!

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    I have a question. From time to time we all spot that interesting subject out on the field. Photographers that are more extroverted probably have no problem just walking up to that subject and starting up a convo. But for the more shy and introverted, how do you walk up to a complete stranger with a seemingly large camera (to the general public), and not come off as a weirdo. I dont think some people view photography as art and may not understand why someone would want to photograph a person that is not a friend or family. I've always felt that trying to photograph people without them knowing comes across creepy and voyeuristic.

    What are some of your approach methods to photographing interesting people on location? I'm not so shy that I cant talk to people. I just never really have a good transition from "Hi" to "can I take a few pictures of you?" :lol:
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    just take their picture. Most people don't complain at all actually. If they do...well...it's not their problem...cause it's allowed.
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    search the forum...there have been a million threads on this already.
     
  4. Just take the picture, and learn about yourself. To get esoteric, photography can be a lot of things - but it's also ok to just take the picture. You don't need to become buddies with your subjects. Just be friendly.

    You don't need to interact with the person, you don't need to become friends. If you're asked, just say you're a photographer, and you really like the image you saw in your mind's eye, and want to capture it. Don't hem and haw about whether you're a hobbyist or some pro - you're a creative photographer, that's why you're spending your free with a camera stuck to your face. No need to explain what you're using it for, if you're asked just have some answer or say "probably nothing, my hobby is documenting this neighborhood." Whatever, just get the shot, you're there to take pictures.

    There are of course neighborhoods and people in Atlanta who don't respond well to a white college kid with a baseball cap pointing a camera at them. You're unlikely to get the kind of shots you'd really like to. Photographing people is about comfort to some degree. Figure out what you can realistically shoot. Create a body of work around the people that are most accessible to you. There's nothing wrong with guitar rock and pick-up trucks.

    The best advice I can give regarding street photography is to keep your eye open to good light and interesting spaces - large and small, preferably layered. Then wait for people to walk into the shot. It's more like fishing than hunting - I guess, I'm a city person, I've never done either. Check out this one.

    One thing that helps a lot is to shoot with large headphones on playing music. People realize I'm in a world of my own, and it actually does help me tune out everything except the visual aspects of what I'm doing.

    AND DON'T CHIMP. You do NOT need to look at the back of the damn camera the whole time - you'll see if you got the shot when you get home. THAT makes people feel like a subject more than the actual shot. Just fire off one or two, and move on.

    Don't bring a lot of lenses or any of that crap, just a camera and a lens. Everything else fits in your jeans pocket - keys, cell phone, wallet, spare battery and memory card.
     
  5. hawkeye

    hawkeye TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much for your serious reply.
     
  6. hawkeye

    hawkeye TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    Now do the truffle shuffle
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow, I never thought of that one .. maybe because with film it never was a problem, but you are probably right!
     
  8. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    I am fairly introverted and am not so self-centered that I think my "rights" trump everyone else. Sometimes I simply ask, "May I take a shot...." At other times I hold the camera up and smile and they either nod or shake their head. I also ask if they have an email address and offer to send them a copy of the shots.

    A few weeks ago I saw a lovely Indian woman with a new baby. I asked if I could take a picture, many of the Indians don't want you to, and she shook her head and looked angry. Since then, when I see her, I admire her baby and how well he's growing. Perhaps some day. Perhaps not. In any case, I doubt the world is waiting with bated breath for my photo.

    FWIW, introverts can learn to behave as extroverts although it's tiring and not always enjoyable. Extroverts cannot learn to behave as introverts.
     

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