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Portraits of Strangers: Don't Be Afraid, Just Ask

Since we are photographers, we look at our environment differently. Everything is a potential subject. The images that appear in our photos already exist and it is our job to find them and put them on film. Sometimes, the potential subject is a stranger and we are too afraid to take a photo. if you want to get over this fear, this is the tipster for you.

The solution is so simple that it sounds stupid but it can change the way you take photos forever.

This is what you do:

  • Walk up to your “subject” and ask them if you can take a photo of them.
  • If they say yes, take a photo.
  • if they say no, it’s over but you will be happy knowing that you tried.

I’m not going to lie, it is a little bit awkward because you don’t know the person but the results are worth it.

And always keep in mind: The worst thing they can say is no!

They will say “no” if they do not want to be photographed. That’s it! Never let that stop you from taking an excellent photo.

Just be confident and think of the results. Don’t let a few seconds of awkwardness stop you from taking an excellent photo! I have only taken a few portraits of strangers because I am still new to lomo, but I am happy with all the results.

written by ivan_the_terrible

27 comments

  1. nuhdos

    nuhdos

    I've wanted so many times to take photos from strangers (it's better if I say dogs of strangers! haha) but never tried... Maybe one day I won't be so shy !

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. ivan_the_terrible

    ivan_the_terrible

    @nuhdos: Inténtelo! :D te prometo que te gustaran los resultados.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. hervinsyah

    hervinsyah

    AT FIRST, I NEVER ASK STRANGER BUT I SNAP ON THEM. MOST OF THEM ARE ANGRY, AND ONE OF THEM CHASING ME AND WANT TO PUNCH ME. HE ALSO PUSH ME TO TAKE OUT MY ROLL FILM. HEYYYYY, THIS MAN KNOW IF I USE FILM CAMERA. HE ALSO WANT TO TAKE ME TO THE POLICE OFFICE. SINCE THAT I NEVER WANNA SNAP (ADULT) STRANGERS AGAIN :)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. ivan_the_terrible

    ivan_the_terrible

    @hervinsyah: that's why you need to ask them first haha

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. kiwikoh

    kiwikoh

    @hervinsyah I'm not sure about the law and culture in you country. Maybe taking photo of a stranger is consider a very rude and offence act in your country. As far as I know, taking photo of a stranger at a public place is legal in most of the country. I've done many street photography, sometime I ask, sometime I don't. But one thing you do need to remember is to smile. It work 99% of the time. Another thing is don't try to be sneaky. The more sneaky you are, the more people think that you are doing something bad or illegal.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. kiwikoh

    kiwikoh

    @ivan_the_terrible - Great article. Sometimes it just all about guts.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. adi_totp

    adi_totp

    love this article :D yeaah, I always ask them first and talk to them. It's nice to talk to a stranger and take a photo of them. It's a way to communicate :D

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. eva_eva

    eva_eva

    I always wanted to do this. but....:D

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. domo-guy

    domo-guy

    I just shoot from the hip... :D

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  10. itisanormalname

    itisanormalname

    @domo-guy
    +100500 :)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  11. bridgetj

    bridgetj

    This is so true. I need to get over my shyness and do this more. Some of my favourite photos are the rare ones I've taken of agreeable, outgoing strangers.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  12. revolte

    revolte

    Es verdad, si disparas desde la cadera a veces la gente no se da cuenta de que los estás fotografiando, igual es mejor preguntar : D

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  13. farhans

    farhans

    ALWAYS
    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  14. flykiwii

    flykiwii

    @hervinsyah . lol! this is why I am scared.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  15. elkedesmit

    elkedesmit

    I think I'm too shy for that but I must admit, the results are amazing!
    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. darkart69

    darkart69

    i usually dont ask, try the hip shot..works..hehehe..but nice tip
    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  17. ivan_the_terrible

    ivan_the_terrible

    @darkart69 I've tried the hip shot a few times and the pictures didn't really come out how I hoped they would. I found it better to just ask :)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  18. simonh82

    simonh82

    Great article and some really fantastic photos! It is those few moments of awkwardness that have stopped me taking many many photos. Maybe a I need a new years resolution to start photographing strangers.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  19. icuresick

    icuresick

    What's that thing in the nose of the man in the first photo?

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  20. msnicks

    msnicks

    Tell people you want to take their picture because you're a photography student doing a portrait assignment. Works like a charm :)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  21. nanyeah

    nanyeah

    So true!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  22. babybuffalo

    babybuffalo

    You made me enencouraged! Awesome article <3
    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  23. foodeanz

    foodeanz

    I AGREE WITH YOU @domo-guy...from my experience, i only have i photo that i ask for permission...the result is ok...but my finger covered 20% of the lens...=( too bad..

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  24. vanilajan

    vanilajan

    cool! i like it~!
    @domo-guy >yea, me too!with their natural movement!:D

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  25. jarvislomo

    jarvislomo

    I just took the moment at first, then I look how the person reacts. Most of the people don't mind to be photographed, but maybe I should have asked their permission first. Thanks for the article :-)

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  26. lomonesia

    lomonesia

    i wanna do that.But i'm shy :D

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  27. susielomovitz

    susielomovitz

    here it is a nice story by @horaciorv about this> http://www.lomograph(…)o-the-world NICE ARTICLE!!!! :).

    about 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Français, ภาษาไทย, 한국어, Italiano, 中文(繁體版), 日本語, Nederlands, Československy, Türkçe, Deutsch, Spanish & Português.