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Portraits of Strangers: Ask and Get Some Awesome Shots

I mainly take photographs of my friends and family. I want to be able to have photographs of good times with them. However, sometimes I'll see (or maybe even meet) someone who makes an impression on me - enough so that I take their picture.

Photo by slumbrnghok

Photographing someone you don’t know is often more challenging than photographing someone you do. At least I find it harder. The key is to be yourself and be polite. After all, you’re expecting them to behave that way aren’t you? ;) Alternatively if you can take the photo without them knowing, you can end up with shots like the one above.

These guys were at my mate Lewis’s party. They were off work the next day and having a blast. The guy on the left was super interested in my SLR and demanded a photograph. I obliged. He’s a chef.

Always keep a camera on you. Take it in your car glove box, in your bag, leave one in work. Just make sure you have one with you. You never know who you might see!

This is Heather, she’s a friend of a friend. This was a pretty pumping party in full swing. Heather turned up late, her cheeks flushed from the cold. As soon as she stepped through the door I knew she would look great in a photo. I introduced myself and shot three photos. She thought I was weird but this picture turned out really well. I thought she looked quite classy so I composed the shot like an over-the-shoulder close-up from a movie.

When you take a persons photograph you learn something about them. Are they shy? Are they outgoing? Do they like photography? If you take two or three photos think about how they posed or what their reaction was in the first photograph. This should influence how you shoot them in subsequent shots.

Lisa was the new girl at work (at least last Christmas she was). As soon as I was introduced to her I took her photo. Now we’re good friends and I love working with her. She’s a grafter. I have now taken her photograph a lot. This is probably the best outcome when you shoot a stranger – you end up making a new friend.

If you are going to be around the stranger a lot then taking their photograph can be a good way to break the ice. It doesn’t have to be a formal thing. Just snap a shot of them and show them the outcome later on. It will give them an insight into your hobby as well.

I got seperated from my friend on a night out and sat with these four guys. The guy on the right worked at Sky and the guys on the left were his very drunk friends. I had a drink with them and we chatted before I made a quick exit – never outstay your welcome. Once you’ve got your shot make sure you don’t bother people.

Be conscious of your subject: if they aren’t enjoying having their picture taken LEAVE THEM ALONE! It’s that simple. All you will do is piss them off otherwise; you look like an arsehole and ultimatly will end up with a photograph of someone uncomfortable who doesn’t like you. Really want to cherish that memory?

I worked in Jessops for a very short time. This is my boss – Mike; collegue – Kim; and the lab tech – Graham; posing for me. They were all really kind to me and looked after me in what I felt was quite a demanding job. People slam the staff in Jessops for not knowing enough but we have to deal with really obnoxious people sometimes and there is a lot of pressure to upsell products. I didn’t know these guys very well but we had fun and they all taught me a lot about photography! Thanks!

Your workplace can be a goldmine of photographic oppertunity. I like taking shots of people making pizzas. I like to quickly jump in and snap some shots. Remember not to breach any workplace guidelines specific to your job.

This is a guy I met in the pub. He saw my GoldenHalf and was interested. I told him I was processing my own film and he was psyched. He had done a lot of photography at college (including printing). I think it made him think about picking up a camera again.

Yes is sometimes faster than no. I was delighted to take the picture above. The guy was nice and he looked good. I like the resulting photograph. However – you may, at some point, find yourself not wanting to take someones photograph. If you have film left in your camera be aware of this: it is sometimes much faster to simply shoot the shot and move on to something more interesting rather than refusing. Up to you but I know I can’t be bothered wasting time having a converstation when I can satisfy someone’s request in 1/125th of a second :P

Remember that the worst thing that can happen if you try and take someone’s photo is that they say no. Ask away and you will get some awesome shots!

written by slumbrnghok

2 comments

  1. icomewhenieatcaponata

    icomewhenieatcaponata

    nice article

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. slumbrnghok

    slumbrnghok

    over 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Italiano & 한국어.