My First Photo of a Stranger

DrumsOfGrohl

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I just wanted to share my accomplishment. I'm new to photography, and this weekend I watched the documentary "Everybody Street." I got super inspired to go out and shoot people, so I went downtown and just walked around.
I'm still trying to get comfortable with taking pictures of strangers, and every time I saw a chance to take a photo, I got all nervous, and took the shot from way to far away for there to be any value in my photograph (as any noob would).
I stopped when I saw this magenta scarf talking to some girls, and he saw me looking at him. He approached me and asked if he could sing some music for me, because, after all, we're both doing "street art."
He gave me a choice between Gospel and R&B, and I chose Gospel, because I grew up Jewish, and was never really exposed to that. After he was done, I asked him if I could take a picture of him (which had to be the most difficult 7 words I've said in a long time).
I was super nervous, so I didn't think to look for a nicer backdrop (I was in middle of a beautiful part of downtown, I absolutely could have found a better angle), and I shot in landscape, and I centered him up in the frame! It was like all of the things I've been learning about composition went out the door. I know I'm being a little hard on myself for my first time, but I'm still pretty happy with my final picture.
If you want to C&C, I'd be happy to hear it, but that's not my particular intention of posting this.

(I ended up cropping it a bit so he wasn't centered)

Issachar Dukes, Street Performer by Mike Rothschild, on Flickr
 

Designer

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Catching your subject doing something would have made an improvement.

Do you think framing your subject to one side is something that should be done? If so, why?
 
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DrumsOfGrohl

DrumsOfGrohl

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Catching your subject doing something would have made an improvement.
Yeah, I hear that. Next time ;)

Do you think framing your subject to one side is something that should be done? If so, why?
A couple of reasons. One, the cropped side had even more parked cars behind, so I felt cropping it like this would eliminate some of that (I guess I could have done that to both sides, too). You think the photo would be any more interesting if my subject filled the whole frame? I do, however, like that despite the boring parked cars in the background, you can still see buildings and from that understand that we're downtown...
 

Didereaux

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You had an excellent subject, you just needed to 'work' the shot a little more. But that will come with practice.
 

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It's a good start. I like the way the color of his scarf pops him from the background and frames his face. I think it could be cropped even tighter.

I had a friend who was fearless with street photography, and got lots of nice shots because of it. I'm just shy by nature, and should probably try to force myself to be more bold, because I love the genre. Maybe start with my pocket camera so I won't draw so much attention.
 

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Not a bad portrait. I might think about cropping the left side too. In this one centering him could work I think because the background buildings are various heights. I think that can balance the image.

Next time maybe flip the camera to vertical unless more background in horizontal is what you want.

It will take practice to be able to know what to do, how to frame the shot, how to figure out a vantage point, etc. Until an interesting person comes on the scene spend some time looking thru the viewfinder and notice what the backgrounds will be if someone comes along. Or shoot some of the scenery (it is, it's just buildings instead of trees etc. there's still some sort of scene there, that could give you some practice). Notice what's there, is there anything you see that looks like it might make for an interesting photo? You don't always have to release the shutter, spend some time looking and thinking.
 

wyogirl

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Good job on getting out of your comfort zone. The more you do that, the easier it becomes and you will become more bold. As a result your shots will improve. Getting a shot of him performing would have been better but for your first shot.... Good job.
 
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DrumsOfGrohl

DrumsOfGrohl

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It's a good start. I like the way the color of his scarf pops him from the background and frames his face. I think it could be cropped even tighter.
Thanks. That might be a good idea. I'll post something up again when I get home tonight.

I had a friend who was fearless with street photography, and got lots of nice shots because of it. I'm just shy by nature, and should probably try to force myself to be more bold, because I love the genre. Maybe start with my pocket camera so I won't draw so much attention.
It's pretty intimidating, but I'm working on getting out of my comfort zone and growing. I could already see myself getting more bold as the day went on. I'm sure the more you (I) do it, the easier it will become. Or, at least, I'm hoping.

It will take practice to be able to know what to do, how to frame the shot, how to figure out a vantage point, etc. Until an interesting person comes on the scene spend some time looking thru the viewfinder and notice what the backgrounds will be if someone comes along. Or shoot some of the scenery (it is, it's just buildings instead of trees etc. there's still some sort of scene there, that could give you some practice). Notice what's there, is there anything you see that looks like it might make for an interesting photo? You don't always have to release the shutter, spend some time looking and thinking.
I wasn't really picking a scene and waiting. I was walking around looking for something interesting and this guy popped up. A few times, I found a scene that could produce a nice background and waited for a subject, but I found myself getting bored of that. Plus I was enjoying the exercise I was getting from walking around. But, with this guy, I did have some time while he was singing that I could have spent thinking about backgrounds. Lesson learned.
 
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DrumsOfGrohl

DrumsOfGrohl

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Good job on getting out of your comfort zone. The more you do that, the easier it becomes and you will become more bold. As a result your shots will improve. Getting a shot of him performing would have been better but for your first shot.... Good job.
Thank you. This is how I felt, but it's nice having a confirming opinion.
 

beagle100

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yes, he could have been doing something but I think you picked a good street stranger
 

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Getting up the guts to ask the guy for a photo makes this a winner! :)
But it is also a nice solid start, good job! :)
 
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DrumsOfGrohl

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Getting up the guts to ask the guy for a photo makes this a winner! :)
But it is also a nice solid start, good job! :)
Truly thanks for you support, guys! I didn't realize how difficult it would be to muster up the courage to go out and take photos.
 

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There are symmetrical compositions and the are asymmetrical compositions. Depending on the subject the former can be static and the latter dynamic. Interestingly beginning art students almost invariably choose to place the subject symmetrically in the center of the composition if not directed otherwise.
 

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Looks very natural, and I like the light. I think a warmer white balance would improve this shot, and I feel that the color in the scarf is too intese, but it's an easy fix with an adjustment layer and a layer mask in photoshop.
 
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DrumsOfGrohl

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Looks very natural, and I like the light. I think a warmer white balance would improve this shot, and I feel that the color in the scarf is too intese, but it's an easy fix with an adjustment layer and a layer mask in photoshop.

I don't have PS, just Lightroom. I think I bumped the Saturation a bit, I could tone it down.
 

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