Saturday, December 21, 2013

How to Shoot a Stranger's Photograph - 8 Easy Steps by Valerie Jardin on Digital Photography School

I love to photograph people on the street, people I don't know. Weird? Okay, I can accept that.
Sometimes, I really want to photograph people going about their business, hopefully oblivious to me and my camera. This is where a small, discreet camera comes in. Other times, I feel a little more outgoing, and enjoy meeting and talking with the people I come across. That's a very different type of photography, and it's not for everyone.
Matching Glasses, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 14mm f2.5 Lens
iso 160, f8, 1/160 sec.
Digital Photography School has posted a piece by Valerie Jardin, outlining 8 "easy" steps to taking portraits of strangers.
(Click Here) to read the post on Digital Photography School.
Here are the steps, and my thoughts on each:
  1. Practice without a camera. This may not work well for me. In fact, many times, the camera gives me a reason to talk with someone. I'm sure that I would not have spoken to the young ladies in the photo above if I didn't have a camera and a picture in mind. But maybe that's just me.
  2. Photograph street performers. This is great advice. If you want to interact with your subject, this is a very good way to go. Performers are doing just that - performing. They generally love to have their pictures taken, and it shows.
  3. Take a friend along when you go to shoot. This one really doesn't work for me. I do so much better interacting with strangers when I'm alone. For one thing, they're not outnumbered. I think that can be threatening (it would be to me).
  4. Don't hide behind a long lens. Great advice, again. If you use a spy lens, you get a spy image. Sometimes that can be okay. Usually not. It's tough to interact with your subject from across the street.
  5. Be confident. Great advice, if you can pull it off. If it's not natural to you, this advice is like telling a tall person "be short." Some days it comes natural to me; other days, I don't want to talk to anyone.
  6. Take your time. This is a real lesson. I don't know how many times I've overcome the hesitancy to talk to someone, finally went ahead with it, then rushed the shot. When this happens, I think how great it could've been if I'd tried just one more angle, checked the exposure more carefully, asked another question, etc. Pay attention to this one.
  7. Enjoy the experience. I couldn't agree more. If talking to strangers is about as fun as having a tooth pulled, stop doing it! If you genuinely enjoy meeting new people, well then, enjoy it.
  8. Share the results. Totally. Share your pictures with your subjects, if they want. Share them with others. Let us see your work!