Tips/Guidelines - How to ask people/strangers (nicely) to get their photos taken.


Opethian

Link Posted 04/10/2011 - 19:26
I tried searching across the forums for a thread already discussing this (to no avail). So here I start a thread on something that I personally have trouble with:

How to approach/ask/request/talk people you meet on the streets into agreeing/accepting/consenting to have their photos taken.

Kudos to the people who have been successful so far in doing this:

Stranger Portraits
100 Strangers
bionicteaching's Stranger Portraits

What's my reason for trying to do this? Two-fold actually, first is to practice my portrait photography in various conditions and scenarios, and second to practice my social skills (or basically level up my charm points ala-D&D), just how much can I get away with?

This is a topic I've always thought about ever since I got interested in photography again, with that Olympus C-740UZ bridge camera many years ago.

Some of the ideas that pop to mind are to 1) always bring calling cards with contact info/web/email/link, or 2) a mini-portfolio of work you've already done. Nice idea, but what if you don't have photos of people yet?

I look forward to your suggestions, experience, and knowledge that you are willing to share regarding this topic. Thanks in advance!

Twitter | Someone said time-lapse?
Pentax K5 | Samsung N9005 | DA 18-55 WR | DA 35 2.4 | DA 50 1.8
Tamron 10-24 SP | Tamron 90 2.8 Macro | Tamron 70-300 Macro
Samyang 85 1.4 ...and a few other manual lenses older than me.

Gwyn

Link Posted 04/10/2011 - 21:27
I had to do something similar for a photography course. I just approached interesting looking people, explained I was doing a course and asked if I could take their photo. A few said no, most said yes. Some asked to see the photo, and one asked for a copy.
It was nerve racking and I have never done it since, but by being open and friendly I generally got a good response. I never tried to grab a photo as some street photographers do.

Opethian

Link Posted 04/10/2011 - 21:39
That's like the fellow here:

http://www.dannyst.com/gallery/portraits-of-strangers/
http://www.dannyst.com/gallery/5-sec-faces/

It's something that I really hope to do, and am already thinking of spots around London where I can try this out. Probably start out near Westminster Tube Station.

Twitter | Someone said time-lapse?
Pentax K5 | Samsung N9005 | DA 18-55 WR | DA 35 2.4 | DA 50 1.8
Tamron 10-24 SP | Tamron 90 2.8 Macro | Tamron 70-300 Macro
Samyang 85 1.4 ...and a few other manual lenses older than me.
Last Edited by Opethian on 04/10/2011 - 21:40

gartmore

Link Posted 05/10/2011 - 09:24
I've feel like I've spent my entire lifetime doing this!

Most people are flattered and many people want to be photographed. Dont bother with portfolios and so on. Smile and ask nicely.
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

spinno

Link Posted 05/10/2011 - 10:07
Opethian wrote:
It's something that I really hope to do, and am already thinking of spots around London where I can try this out. Probably start out near Westminster Tube Station.

just be aware how close you are to the Houses of Parliament. You might get lots of MPs vying to have their photographs taken (let's not miss a photo opportunity eh) or you might get carted away if someone thinks you're a terrorist on a recce....
David

davidtrout

Link Posted 05/10/2011 - 10:09
Begin your portrait career by attending events where people have dressed up specially and welcome having photos taken.
Battle re-enactments, the Whitby Goths Festival, 1940s themed events such as the Pickering War Weekend organised by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and similar themes staged by some of the other restored steam railways.
In the North East there's Durham Miners' Gala, Chinese New Year celebrations in Newcastle, which also has a zombie event and Beamish Museum.
Street festivals, agricultural shows, village shows, flower shows, dog shows - these all provide photo opportunities where the majority of participants are happy to pose.
There are events such as these all over the country.
By working with willing subjects you gain confidence to go on and approach total strangers who you think may make good models.
Your address is in London - the photo opportunities there must be endless.
David
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 05/10/2011 - 10:11
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