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Thread: I can't approach people!

  1. #1

    Default I can't approach people!

    Hi all. I've been having this problem for sometime and it's starting to get annoying and hindering the progress of my photography

    I believe many doing street photography (esp the newbies) would experience this problem of forcing yourself to take out your camera and shoot when you see an interesting scene, with humans as the main subjects. I was sitting on an MRT towards home today when I came across an interesting scene of 2 kids of different races and age grp interacting. My cam bag was just located under my seat but I couldn't make myself take out my camera and make it a shot. I believe it's totally psychological. It simply felt like a force field preventing me from taking out my cam. Maybe it was due to the fact that the children parents were beside/opposite me. But I think I have a real problem with approaching people, which eventually lead me to regret not taking the photo or even make me think I wouldn't be able to nail the shot even if I tried. Are there anyway of overcoming this problem (no not the telelens solution) or is the only solution forcing myself to be thick skin and approach them. Thanks all.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    I think it's normal. Many of us go 'errrr ... ahhhh....' when comes to such situation. Especially these days, people are way too paranoid when having their photos taken by strangers. When I'm faced with such situation, I always tell myself 'either shoot or forget it, but never regret it no matter which decision I make'. So far I'm still fine with it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by ndroo View Post
    I think it's normal. Many of us go 'errrr ... ahhhh....' when comes to such situation. Especially these days, people are way too paranoid when having their photos taken by strangers. When I'm faced with such situation, I always tell myself 'either shoot or forget it, but never regret it no matter which decision I make'. So far I'm still fine with it.
    Hmm thanks nice advice. Next time I will just grit my teeth and do it. New 2008 resolution. No regrets!!

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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by artofshuenalogy View Post
    Hmm thanks nice advice. Next time I will just grit my teeth and do it. New 2008 resolution. No regrets!!
    Good luck. I sometimes go for the 'forget it' option ... so you've to see the situation (and subjects) and decide for yourself ... don't get hurt One more method is learn to shoot from the hip (or tummy in my case)

  5. #5

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by ndroo View Post
    Good luck. I sometimes go for the 'forget it' option ... so you've to see the situation (and subjects) and decide for yourself ... don't get hurt One more method is learn to shoot from the hip (or tummy in my case)
    Thanks for this piece of excellent advice. Will not make the same mistake.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by artofshuenalogy View Post
    Hi all. I've been having this problem for sometime and it's starting to get annoying and hindering the progress of my photography

    I believe many doing street photography (esp the newbies) would experience this problem of forcing yourself to take out your camera and shoot when you see an interesting scene, with humans as the main subjects. I was sitting on an MRT towards home today when I came across an interesting scene of 2 kids of different races and age grp interacting. My cam bag was just located under my seat but I couldn't make myself take out my camera and make it a shot. I believe it's totally psychological. It simply felt like a force field preventing me from taking out my cam. Maybe it was due to the fact that the children parents were beside/opposite me. But I think I have a real problem with approaching people, which eventually lead me to regret not taking the photo or even make me think I wouldn't be able to nail the shot even if I tried. Are there anyway of overcoming this problem (no not the telelens solution) or is the only solution forcing myself to be thick skin and approach them. Thanks all.
    you don't really have to force yourself to do it if you're uncomfortable with it

    if you really want to try, maybe start with a less intimidating compact digital camera instead of using slr/dslr. sometimes it has to do with how comfortable you are with interacting with strangers as well, a friendly smile is usually welcomed.

    btw don't act suspiciously, the more you do so the more defensive people get. if you want to get a picture just pick up and shoot normally, if approached just be friendly about it.
    Last edited by eikin; 30th December 2007 at 11:06 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    I'll just take, and if I feel guilty, I'll approach them and let them see also. Good case can know more friends.. bad case apologise then delete lor.. lol

  8. #8

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by eikin View Post
    you don't really have to force yourself to do it if you're uncomfortable with it

    if you really want to try, maybe start with a less intimidating compact digital camera instead of using slr/dslr. sometimes it has to do with how comfortable you are with interacting with strangers as well, a friendly smile is usually welcomed.

    btw don't act suspiciously, the more you do so the more defensive people get. if you want to get a picture just pick up and shoot normally, if approached just be friendly about it.
    Ic...so it's advisable to shoot and "talk later" too? I thought it would be better to talk and shoot later. But well I guess one could have missed "the moment" if done so liddat. Thanks eikin. Another opinion to make me work harder towards my 2008 resolution

  9. #9

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    use a camera with live preview... use the LCD to frame the shot... less obvious this way...

    or if DSLR without live preview, use your instinct, point the camera at the right direction, use a wide lens, centre auto focus, evaluative metering, hold steady shoot... and hope for the best... if framing abit off, can crop later...

    act relaxed and unobvious... or maybe look like you are reviewing shots on your camera... don't look directly at your target...

  10. #10

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Try this...
    1. Before transition into each "scene" set your camera to best of your estimation. So that when you spot a shot, you're ready to go. Street photography is tough... just plan beforehand.
    2. When you spot a shot, examine the people from a distance. Try to notice something that you can talk to him about. All this time, try to take slow deep breaths. Claim down and mellow.
    3. Approach with your camera out. Sling it on your shoulder. And keep it visible. But don't try to use it or adjust it's setting. Now come the hard part... Just a "Hi, how are you?" and talk to them. Then after a while when both of you are comfortable... ask for a picture. Explain that it's a hobby and always share the photo with them. After a quick shot, show them the image on the LCD. By now you and your subject would probably be at ease. Now, it's possible to ask your subject to pose if you need them to. And when ending ask if they would like the picture. Offer to send them a copy... That's it.


    The elderly man checking his 4D result, I just started by asking what was the top prize number.... and so on...

    He look tired... I ask if he needed a drink.... I actually bought him a bottle of water and buns...

  11. #11

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by waycool View Post
    Try this...
    1. Before transition into each "scene" set your camera to best of your estimation. So that when you spot a shot, you're ready to go. Street photography is tough... just plan beforehand.
    2. When you spot a shot, examine the people from a distance. Try to notice something that you can talk to him about. All this time, try to take slow deep breaths. Claim down and mellow.
    3. Approach with your camera out. Sling it on your shoulder. And keep it visible. But don't try to use it or adjust it's setting. Now come the hard part... Just a "Hi, how are you?" and talk to them. Then after a while when both of you are comfortable... ask for a picture. Explain that it's a hobby and always share the photo with them. After a quick shot, show them the image on the LCD. By now you and your subject would probably be at ease. Now, it's possible to ask your subject to pose if you need them to. And when ending ask if they would like the picture. Offer to send them a copy... That's it.


    The elderly man checking his 4D result, I just started by asking what was the top prize number.... and so on...

    He look tired... I ask if he needed a drink.... I actually bought him a bottle of water and buns...
    Hey thx. Nice step by step suggestions. I will try them out How bout language constraints? If we can't understand each other, what's a good way to still carry on with the shoot or tell them nvm it's alright and thanks.

  12. #12

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by theRBK View Post
    use a camera with live preview... use the LCD to frame the shot... less obvious this way...

    or if DSLR without live preview, use your instinct, point the camera at the right direction, use a wide lens, centre auto focus, evaluative metering, hold steady shoot... and hope for the best... if framing abit off, can crop later...

    act relaxed and unobvious... or maybe look like you are reviewing shots on your camera... don't look directly at your target...
    Thanks alot. But I would love to have more control over my final pic but hey it's a gd suggestion. For all I know it might be "The shot"

  13. #13
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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    A simple smile and a wave of the camera transcends whatever language barrier there is. Unless of course your subject has never seen a camera before!

  14. #14

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    just snap

    if you find it really really really hard you can do what i did in italy, get a uwa, and point to the left on the person, they won't even know that you're taking them <3

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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    just snap

    if you find it really really really hard you can do what i did in italy, get a uwa, and point to the left on the person, they won't even know that you're taking them <3
    If your subject is a child, then just smile and talk to them. They will run around you, and love to have their pictures taken

    If it's a vendor selling stuff (e.g. ice cream man), just buy their ice cream and I'm sure they are happy to have their pictures taken.

    If they are public performer, drop a dollar or two into their basket and I'm sure they will entertain you for the next 15minutes

    Always keep your camera in a visible position so they know you intention. Don't try to hide or do shoot and run tatics or else they will think you are trying to harm them with the pictures. Feel free to show them the pictures through LCD. And if they are tourist, offer to send them the pic (they are usually very happy with that).

    Cheers!
    Canon Lover :)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    i've always got a tractor beam sucking my camera back into its proper docking area...

    after awhile, i find that shooting candids is not my cuppa tea... so i went on to shoot other stuff... being a tourist have its advantage... thats y i can shoot 'better' when overseas... no restriction... local, kinda hard to pass off as from other country.
    Logging Off. "You have 2,631 messages stored, of a total 400 allowed." don't PM me.

  17. #17

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    I'm a newbie to dslr, but the speed that this cameras can shoot is amazing, coming from pns G6, I find this a real bonus. Of coz, with the G6 I dont even have to put the camera and look thru the viewfinder to shoot, just open and adjust the movable lcd and I can take the shot at any angle.

    Now for the trick to taking street photography, or otherwise taking shots of people without them knowing. What you can do is to shoot from the hip. In the army we learn to fire from hip. Sometimes its bobo, but after a bit of practise, you can shoot quite decently (with luck). For my Bangkok trip, I did just this. Lots of street people that would not be happy having their photos taken, so I would sling the camera, point it at the subject, wide angle and program, start shooting. I suggest practising alot so you get used to the position and how to point your camera lense to get the shot you want.

    Of coz what artofshuenalogy said is good as it builds your skills in meeting people and getting to know them.

    See some shots from the hip

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dansoh/2150199099/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dansoh/2150990342/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dansoh/2150990512/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dansoh/2150990678/


    Dan

  18. #18

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by dansoh View Post
    I'm a newbie to dslr, but the speed that this cameras can shoot is amazing, coming from pns G6, I find this a real bonus. Of coz, with the G6 I dont even have to put the camera and look thru the viewfinder to shoot, just open and adjust the movable lcd and I can take the shot at any angle.

    Now for the trick to taking street photography, or otherwise taking shots of people without them knowing. What you can do is to shoot from the hip. In the army we learn to fire from hip. Sometimes its bobo, but after a bit of practise, you can shoot quite decently (with luck). For my Bangkok trip, I did just this. Lots of street people that would not be happy having their photos taken, so I would sling the camera, point it at the subject, wide angle and program, start shooting. I suggest practising alot so you get used to the position and how to point your camera lense to get the shot you want.

    Of coz what artofshuenalogy said is good as it builds your skills in meeting people and getting to know them.

    See some shots from the hip

    Dan
    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    just snap

    if you find it really really really hard you can do what i did in italy, get a uwa, and point to the left on the person, they won't even know that you're taking them <3
    Hi and thanks for the suggestions. I think shooting as a tourist is so much easier. Since you have "A reason" to shoot them. I don't really have problems shooting when the subject isn't facing me but when they face me and see me pointing my cam at them, it kind of get weird and makes it hard for me to press the shutter becoz of 2 reasons.

    1) Their expression changes and becomes undesirable
    2) I tend to just put my cam away and walk away.

  19. #19

    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt View Post
    i've always got a tractor beam sucking my camera back into its proper docking area...

    after awhile, i find that shooting candids is not my cuppa tea... so i went on to shoot other stuff... being a tourist have its advantage... thats y i can shoot 'better' when overseas... no restriction... local, kinda hard to pass off as from other country.
    Hmm Ic...I've been shooting street for quite long (at least a yr) but all my shots end up with either buildings/plants/animals. Hardly humans. I wish to explore human photography. And I admit I'm rather in love with candid portraits.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: I can't approach people!

    can try getting rid of your phobia in little india

    they love to have their photos taken
    a nice smile in advance will do the trick
    don't hide here and hide there

    go up to them and smile, talk and shoot

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