Thursday, September 08, 2011

A simple lesson learned on taking photos of people on the street

Love seat - #250/365 by PJMixer
Love seat - #250/365, a photo by PJMixer on Flickr.
Via Flickr:
I've been doing the 100 Strangers project for a couple of years and holding at no. 99 for a while. Around Yonge Dundas Square there's some new clever advertising on the benches and I noticed these folks enjoying a nice conversation framed perfectly for the "Love Seat" wording. I wanted a decent shot and couldn't easily take it without them knowing. So I approached them, deciding ahead of time that I wasn't going to formally ask their names and talk to them for my stranger project, but rather simply say hello and ask if it was ok to take their photograph. I gave them one of my cards and asked them to continue as they were, I took a few shots, then showed them what I'd taken. In comparison to the extra effort it takes to talk to people and find out a little more about them for the 100 Stranger project, I felt much more relaxed and less rushed. I'd read a guest post by David Powell on DPS about lessons learned from daily shooting and in point 3 he simply says "The approach I have taken that seems to work is being genuine and I simple ask ‘Do you mind if I take your photo?’. Often I will ask them to continue doing whatever they are doing and I take my shot." It definitely worked for me today.

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