Taking photographs, especially of strangers, is not an easy task but most often it is seen that people like to be photographed. Listed below are a few tips that may help you to make the whole experience of photographing strangers an enjoyable and fruitful exercise.
Whereas some photographers ask for the subject’s permission, others do not. Ensure that photography is allowed in the specific area and that the culture allows it before seeking permission from the subject. However, seeking permission provides advantages such as a chance to communicate with the subject, use the right lens, get close to subject and perhaps take more than one shot. You must accept a refusal from the subject gracefully and take it as a signal to move on to the next. Of course, everybody will not refuse to be photographed.
How to Ask
A request for a photograph may never be denied if asked in the right spirit. Putting on a genuine smile while holding up the camera provides a good enough chance. It is important that you make the request in the local language and also resort to sign language in case the subject does not understand your query. You can appear confident and proceed to take the picture as soon as you get the permission.
Control the Situation
Do not hesitate to direct the subject to do something that would give you their best picture. Whether it is to look at you, or away from you, or adjust their hat to let the light fall on their face, ask them to do it.
Get Your Subject to Relax
Helping your subject to feel relaxed is an important part of the whole exercise and draw out their best pictures. Though you may click the first photograph however they may have posed, it is a good idea to talk to them and make them feel at ease before going on to take their next picture.
Advantages of Directly Approaching the Subject
Photographing your subjects after getting their permission definitely results in better quality pictures. Sneaking in on them from a distance may arouse their suspicions and make them less cooperative. The best portraits are obtained only when you are sufficiently close, even when using a 200 mm lens. To get started, take snaps of those who provide services/goods to you. Request for a photograph of the shopkeeper after you buy something from him/her or the rickshaw driver after a ride. Most of the times, you will not be refused.
Thank Your Subject
Show your subjects their beautiful picture on your LCD screen and do not forget to thank your subject before going on your way.
Payment for the Photographs
In popular destinations, it may so happen that the subject asks you for a payment for taking their photographs. Whether you like it or not, you will certainly have to respond to them. Do not try handing out sweets or pens. If you can, the best option would be to pay them and move on. If you have to make a payment, ensure that you bargain beforehand and fix a charge that is agreeable to the two of you. It is a good idea to have some ready change that you can hand out (and not pull out big denominations for others to notice!) to your subject.
If you have to make a payment, ensure that you bargain beforehand and fix a charge that is agreeable to the two of you. It is a good idea to have some ready change that you can hand out (and not pull out big denominations for others to notice!) to your subject.