I'll add another vote to the "Just do it" chorus, and a caveat, and practice this with the folks you already know well: a single portrait photo, unless an environmental portrait (I don't know what you're planning to do for settings on these photos, but please don't do Avedon-esque plain white backdrops), doesn't tell enough of the story of each person. Interview the folks you photograph, and document their stories along with the images. Oral history is as important as the photographs, and will make them so much more meaningful ten, twenty, or fifty years down the road when most of those people have moved on or died. Practice interviewing with your friends and family first, so you get used to pulling good details out of people (get them to talk about stuff you know about them, and remember to dig deep into any ear-catching details they sprinkle in. Don't just let those things go by unremarked or un-investigated). Use details from each previous interview as a springboard for questions in the next one. Oh, and get yourself a good recorder and microphone of some kind. Trying to take notes while interviewing is a long dead (and extremely difficult) art.