Do you find photographing strangers in the street extremely awkward and even unpleasant? I know I do, so this video from Jessica Kobeissi and Mango Street really amused me, but also got me inspired. The three young photographers teamed up, created “Free Portraits” posters and interacted with strangers in the street asking them to take their photo. It’s a fun experiment of pushing personal boundaries.
Street photography is a scary enough prospect on its own for many people. But to actually approach random strangers on the street and ask if you can shoot their portrait? That fills many with a fear akin to walking the plan over shark infested seas. You have to really push yourself to get outside of your comfort zone and do something you’re not happy with.
And it can be a very difficult fear to get over. But photographer Matt Higgs from WEX is here to help with some advice. His challenge is to photograph 30 random people in the streets in 2 hours. For those counting, that’s a new person every 4 minutes. A lot of pressure, especially if it can take you 10-15 minutes just to work up enough courage to ask the first,
If there is one genre of street photography I specialize in, it is “street portraiture.”
I love talking with my subjects, engaging with them, and focusing on their faces. If I started shooting street portraits all over again, this is the advice I would give myself.
This is one of my favourite subjects. I love teaching in my workshops as most people feel awkward about approaching people on the streets to photograph them.
Through experience, trial and error, I have had the pleasure to understand the psychology of approaching perfect strangers to ask them for a pic and the wonderful joy we receive by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.
I think in street photography, there are many different “sub-genres.” For example, you have the traditional candid street photography, you have “street portraits” (taking photos of strangers, primarily of their faces), you have photos of urban landscapes, and of just random stuff you might find on the streets.
Candid street photography is one of the trickiest. You need to be fast, you don’t want to disturb the scene, and you want to have courage. Here are some candid techniques, insights, and tips which I hope will help you:
Seeing a random person on the street that you’d love to photograph can rapidly become one of the scariest scenarios out there for many portrait photographers as soon as they start to consider how to approach them. With “Don’t talk to strangers!” being drummed into us from a very young age, it’s just one of those things which seems hard wired into our system.
If the thought of asking a stranger if you can create their portrait puts you in a frozen panic, New York based portrait photographers Miguel Quiles and Jeff Rojas are here to help with some tips on approaching people you don’t know in order to get them in front of your camera.
A few weeks ago I posted a series of photographs of couples ‘making love’ in public places and got a very positive response. So I figured I’d keep at it!
At the time, I used to only shoot couples I ran into randomly, so it was pure street photography. But then I thought, I don’t run into couples sharing an intimate moment that often… So why not create those moments?