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Approaching people for street photo's

salja03 14 12 United Kingdom
18 Dec 2009 11:08PM
Hi all,

I'd be keen to hear how other people do what I would like to try. Basically, I want to do more street photo's - I did this one particular one which I think is quite good ( posted on the ez site here ), but I'd like to do a lot more.

The one above I did with a long lense, and even then he saw me after I took it. What I would much rather do is have people be ok with me taking photos around them. I'm wondering how others who do this type of photography approach people, then get them to relax and go back to what they were doing enough to be able to take some good shots.

Many thanks,

redsnappa 19 2.8k United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 9:45AM
if you ask permission fromh the people you wish to photograph then in my opinion the shot changes from a candid street shot to a portrait.
discreetphoton Plus
17 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 9:53AM
i disagree. Candid shots suggest that the subjects are aware of the photographer, but disregard their presence. Look up Henri Cartier Bresson.
Gaucho 19 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 10:16AM
Well, if you were pimping for worked on me Smile
Cracking shot! I don't for a minute think you would have got that result had you asked him for permission.

salja03 14 12 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 11:35AM
Thanks Gaucho, appreciate the compliment. yup, not pimping for votes, I was just so pleased with the shot I wanted to do more, but not having done much of this stuff, I'd like to know what works for others...

I agree, I wouldn't have got the shot if I'd asked him - have you experimented with both asking for photos and just taking them? How have others handled people when the got 'caught' taking the photo?


Gaucho 19 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 11:52AM
Unfortunately I'm not the one to ask as I haven't done much myself. It's something I'm keen to try but I admit to being a bit of a wimp so normally only shoot from afar.

Carabosse 18 41.8k 270 England
19 Dec 2009 11:59AM

Quote:If you ask permission fromh the people you wish to photograph then in my opinion the shot changes from a candid street shot to a portrait.

I broadly agree. The moment someone is aware of the camera, changes happen.

It may (repeat may) be a different matter if there is a long gap between asking and taking - i.e. enough time for them to forget about the camera. But just asking someone and immediately taking the photo leads to a posed shot... people tense up slightly and this can be reflected in the photo.

Best practice stealth photography, preferably with an inconspicuous camera. Wink
salja03 14 12 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 12:09PM
Hmm, you think the 28-300mm L series lens might be too obvious then? Wink

Well, I guess I'll just have to experiment with it. Two 'stealth' options i thought of where - add a 2x to the 28-300mm and take it from a looong way away, and to use the ultra wide angle Sigma I have, with the camera just resting on its straps around my neck.

Do you think there is something we can take from the twitchers of the world (you know, hides and stuff like that - might look just a tinsey bit suspicious to the bobby's though! Smile
Gaucho 19 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 12:24PM
Using the Sigma is what I plan to try out over Christmas in Brazil. I would have thought using manual focus and grabbing shots at waist level, then cropping as needed could work. You could even use the remote. We'll see.
salja03 14 12 United Kingdom
19 Dec 2009 12:42PM
Hmmm, hadn't thought of that - I'll try using my remote and see how that works - look mum, no hands Wink
Strobe 14 1.3k United States
19 Dec 2009 2:50PM
Have a look at Benoit Paille, I think he is a 23 year old genius, he approaches strangers and asks to take their photos.

He also goes door to door asking people to invite him in to take their photos, he publishes on a few sites however here is a link (Please note there is some nudity) to a collection of his stranger project.

If only I had to courage to confront people the way he does!!
rowarrior 13 4.4k 9 Scotland
19 Dec 2009 2:51PM
We had a meet early in the year to ask people if we could take their photos in Manchester and London. Once you got past the fear of asking the first one it got easier. Maybe time for another meet?
mad-dogs 19 2.2k England
19 Dec 2009 4:17PM
Some sites of interest ...

Street Photography
Paul Morgan 20 19.5k 6 England
19 Dec 2009 8:26PM
I very rarely ask people if I can take there picture, on the occasions I have they were generally Ok about it.

For me dslr`s and long lenses are a no no, too big and too noisy. I only use film and either a rangefinder or seventies point and shoot. There small quite, and have no mirror to slap making its possible to use much slower shutter speeds.

Pocket digicam`s or prosumer`s are still too slow and not responsive enough for my liking.

For me a focal length of around 40mm works best, not to wide or long. I spend much more time walking around than taking pictures, but the camera is out, pre focused and shutter cocked ready.

Have a look at these three street photograph vid`s, just ignore the really naff video work Smile

dandeakin 14 209 3 England
20 Dec 2009 8:38PM
The link provided above about Benoit Paille is well worth checking out. Very impressive. Thanks

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