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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!