Well, I'm not sure I agree with the premise that only professionals* with magazine or book assignments or letters of introduction should be allowed to photograph people, presumably while all others are banned. Especially if the people to be photographed have given their consent.
Originally Posted by PKM-25
But I do wholeheartedly agree with the premise of taking time to get to know your subjects at a much deeper level as individuals before releasing the shutter.
A camera can be a license to find out about entire worlds that may have been totally unknown to you before you asked. That was certainly the case for me with this photograph. It's just an unposed simple grab shot. But when combined with what I learned over the course of an hour or so of quiet listening, to me it's priceless.
* Photographers, that is. We all are, or were, professionals in some current or past field of expertise.
No Sir, You leave these people alone. Me, I will ask for their permission.... :cool:
Originally Posted by PKM-25
Originally Posted by rustyair
If you have examples of what you intend to do with the results, it can help allay fears.
There you have it. Works every time...
Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings
Pick your moments! Asking in rush hour probably isn't going to work too well. Try a weekend at a location where people are killing time. Tell them why you are doing it and flatter them like no tomorrow.
1. Smile. Genuine one.
You'll know it yourself if the smile isn't genuine, then back off.
2. Engage in conversation - not necessarily about the camera, although having a camera or gear that catches attention more than makes up for it. (Usually it makes *you* the interesting person)
3. Be clicking other things, not just the portraits.
4. Someone mentioned Timing above - very important. I find myself happier taking snaps early morning or early evening - And, people more willing as well.
Try during times people might want to be clicked.
5. The 100 strangers project is a good-one to quell fear n boost confidence.
(I had tried it for a bit and the above is the common things to when I got successful street portraits)
Ken and Poison du jour make excellent points about people skills and those have worked for me as well.
Also, someone mentioned that "'third-world countries' like India" apparently it's easier to photograph. No, its not. I live in India and I have faced people saying no, people refusing to let me shoot near buildings etc., The world's a lot different from even 5 years ago, let alone ten.
And the dslr-toting 'enthusiasts' with rotten manners or phone cameras have over-run the earth.
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Originally Posted by PKM-25
i can see why you are saying this .. seeing the world is full of scoundrels who make photographs of people and then they
plaster them all over the face book or the you tube or on bumper stickers or tee shirts or some other place where the public may find them
and the subjects may get upset they have been bamboozled into having their privacy disrupted ... but it isn't like this sort of thing is anything new ..
the other side of the coin is that if a photographer has a legitimate reason for photographing someone in public, and he/she
is honest with his/her subject about the reason for making the portraits, there is no reason not to ...
its no different than asking someone permission to photograph their red barn, or sheep or dog or harley .
i wish the OP lots of luck ...
I think that a handheld camera is a disadvantage, making people feel uncomfortable (they are used by journalists that usually expose aspects of peoples private lives). On the contrary, a large (at least MF) camera on a tripod would make people feel less "threatened". You also have to explain why you want their portraits taken and what you'll do with them.
In 2009 our photography group, "Overexposed" organized a group project, called "Sunday Times". We decided to go to different parts of the city every Sunday with a Hasselblad on a tripod and try to convince passers-by to pose for a portrait. There were 6-7 persons from our group there every time, some of them female (it helps, hahaha) and we assigned a different job to each one every time we did some shots of a person. So, one would operate the camera, the other would hold the reflector, the other would approach the people that walked by etc. It worked really smoothly and we managed to shoot more than 60 people after a couple of months. We promised to the people that agreed to sit that their pictures would not be exposed in magazines, newspapers or some journalistic site, but would only be used for artistic purposes (an exhibition for instance).
We are now at the final stages of printing (we had some problems with our darkroom for some time) and we'll soon be ready to show the work.
Don't despair, there's always a way to do it !!
There's this guy Brandon who has a project called Humans of New York. He posts a couple of street portraits every day on Facebook together with short interviews. His project has now turned into a bestseller photobook. Take a look, his method is to approach people softly and respectfully as far as I can judge from the short films he has posted about his method.
Another person who has had great success as a modern street photographer is The Sartorialist. He is into fashion and makes portraits on the streets of various cities around the world. I guess he works fulltime on his blog, gets invitations etc.
So it is not impossible when you can communicate a strong reason why you want the portrait, I guess.
I have tried street portraits myself when I lived in Moscow, and I most often tried not to be noticed. I am not sure I feel totally right about it though. Some people seemed annoyed.
erikpetersson.livejournal.com (go backwards in my blog one or two pages)