I walked by this guy thinking, Boy I’d love to get his photo. Truth be told, I was a tad intimidated and certain he’d say no. I’m usually really good at gauging whether or not someone will agree to me photographing them. I’ve tested it out many times and am almost always right. With this guy I decided I needed to get a bit out of my comfort zone so I turned around and asked him and he said sure. I was honestly surprised. His buddies stepped out of frame and I snapped this shot — very pleased with myself for taking the chance.
I figured out a couple of years back that if I wanted to get any good at street photography I’d have to train myself to become comfortable talking to strangers and taking more chances. In those first few months it was hard work, since I’m just not the type to talk to people I don’t know. Soon, though, I began to get some successes under my belt and that was really encouraging. I came to realize that the worst that could happen is I get rejected. Big deal.
So, if you’re a street photographer who is reluctant to ask people for their photograph, try it first on a street person. If they have their hand out for a buck or two, trade them for a portrait. That’s a good starting point. From there, try asking someone who you think would make a good photograph. I can almost promise you you’ll succeed if you try, and I can guarantee you won’t if you don’t. If you do succeed, let me know in a comment to this post and include a link to the portrait on your blog or site.