What's your strategy for photographing strangers ?


third3rdwheel

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Jan 10, 2009
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Hi all

This question must have been asked before. Looks like it can be tricky shooting pics of people in public in Singapore as I have heard of photographers being confronted by their "targets" to delete pics in their camera (assuming it is digital) after shots have been made.

Do you:

a) Ask before you shoot?

b) Fire and then run off?:bigeyes:

c) Choose your subject carefully i.e. potentially menacing types better avoid:bsmilie:

d) Avoid shooting strangers in general

I am asking because I have encountered some unfriendly faces (as well as some friendly faces of course) during shooting sessions, and hope to benefit from the experience of seasoned RF users.
 

bene123

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Aug 12, 2009
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Hey! Good question!
I just shoot what I want to shoot.
B4 I shoot ask why I want to shoot that stranger.
If I can justify it then I click the shutter.
When I see a great subject but I realise there is nothing else like geometry, story etc then I won't take.

I stand proud and smile. sometimes I wave at them too.
I avoid menancing type too or shoot from hip.

Bring a friend or hire a bodyguard if you really want to go to unsafe places.
 

th1rt3en

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Jan 12, 2010
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I usually tend to just take whatever I want and if they notice me, I'll give them a smile and walk away. If they confront me, I will just apologise and say that I had no idea that the subject didn't want to be photographed. In the course of street shooting, I too have encountered some scowls, but everything can be fixed with a smile or an apology. I very rarely ask first and shoot, unless I really want to get up close and personal, right into their comfort zone, then I'll ask first and usually ask if they would like a copy of the picture sent to their email. This is also why in my street bag I always have a notebook and pen as well =)
 

renzokuken

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Sep 13, 2009
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using a tele lens
quickly snap , and act normal

there was once someone stared right into my eyes aggressively
i stopped what i was doing
and walk away indifferently
 

chiif

Senior Member
Rule No 1... : Smile.
Rule No 2... : Smile.
Rule No 3... : Smile.
Rule No 4... : Smile.
Rule No 5... : Smile.
Rule No 6... : Smile.
Rule No 7... : Smile.
Rule No 8... : Smile.
Rule No 9... : Smile.
Rule No 10... : Say... "Have a Nice Day!" Give a slight Bow SMILE and Walk away....

Most people will excuse photographers if they know that your a tourist. What they fear most is to appear on the next day NEW PAPER. So... just assure them that you are not from the press and you are safe. That's why they fear 1DsMkIII or D3 or those with battery grip. Your M9 should be safe, because they will think that it is some useless $30 China made Phoneix camera.

If they ask why are you taking their picture, just say you are a tourist and you are looking for things to take in Singapore.

Just put yourself in their shoes and think like what if someone take your picture in the public. And you should know how to tackle them.

I've been chased before in Japan and Sungei Road. But I'm still in one piece. :) And I will still continue to take strangers....
 

night86mare

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Aug 25, 2006
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a) Ask before you shoot?

b) Fire and then run off?:bigeyes:

c) Choose your subject carefully i.e. potentially menacing types better avoid:bsmilie:

d) Avoid shooting strangers in general
i don't use RF, but i shoot street with my dslr.

i just fire and go ahead my daily life like nothing happened. sometimes people make eye contact, just smile at them, and snap if you wanted to snap anyways.

i once said before that i don't feel that inclined to photograph in singapore - but not going to delve into that. from my experience shooting in london, few people care about what you're doing... in close to 3 years of haphazard street shots here, this was the only case went bad, and i got to keep my shot anyways.



the guy did that action, i shot him, mistaking it to be an invitation to shoot. apparently he was trying to say that i shouldn't shoot. just got a load of abuse and a raised hand. i just ignored him, pushed his hand away, and walked off. simple.
 

night86mare

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Aug 25, 2006
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also remember, there is no need to get into trouble for your shots.

sensitive areas like geylang, you go there to do street shooting, good luck to you. if the person seems to be a potential troublemaker, then don't bother to shoot. some people have nothing to lose, there's no need to get dragged down with them because they have that sort of mentality.

most of the time, people are confused as to whether you are really shooting them. if they are concerned enough to confront you and want you to delete their shots.. just adhere to their request i guess. it's only polite. as a photographer, one should always respect his subjects.

also, i don't know about you, but if i see a couple, if any party is paying me too much attention, i won't shoot to avoid trouble. i try to avoid it altogether in fact, unless i am sure that both of them are unaware enough for me to sneak a shot and they aren't in any sort of compromising position. ;)
 

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Toonz

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Oct 26, 2009
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shoot strangers without permission:
don't make eye contact before and after the shoot. shoot fast.
you may want to set the camera to a higher shutter speed because
you dont want to lose your subject. once you lock your subject with your
eye thru the viewfinder, mai tu liao! SHOOT! the put your cam down
and continue to look for other interesting strangers with a happy face.


shoot strangers with permission:
you just need to ask politely and sincerely.
 

For me its a different case.

I like making eye contact, I like my subjects to know that they have a camera in their faces.

If you meet some pushy ones, offer to email them the pictures, calms them down.


Do the boys look menacing enough?




 

nordleadx

Senior Member
Dec 25, 2006
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Rule No 1... : Smile.
Rule No 2... : Smile.
Rule No 3... : Smile.
Rule No 4... : Smile.
Rule No 5... : Smile.
Rule No 6... : Smile.
Rule No 7... : Smile.
Rule No 8... : Smile.
Rule No 9... : Smile.
Rule No 10... : Say... "Have a Nice Day!" Give a slight Bow SMILE and Walk away....

Most people will excuse photographers if they know that your a tourist. What they fear most is to appear on the next day NEW PAPER. So... just assure them that you are not from the press and you are safe. That's why they fear 1DsMkIII or D3 or those with battery grip. Your M9 should be safe, because they will think that it is some useless $30 China made Phoneix camera.

If they ask why are you taking their picture, just say you are a tourist and you are looking for things to take in Singapore.

Just put yourself in their shoes and think like what if someone take your picture in the public. And you should know how to tackle them.

I've been chased before in Japan and Sungei Road. But I'm still in one piece. :) And I will still continue to take strangers....
Master :thumbsup:
 

third3rdwheel

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Jan 10, 2009
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Thank you everyone for responding.

Useful tips and food for thought.

Smile and offer of email are certainly useful ideas. :) Hope they will work most of the time though.
 

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third3rdwheel

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Jan 10, 2009
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also remember, there is no need to get into trouble for your shots.

sensitive areas like geylang, you go there to do street shooting, good luck to you. if the person seems to be a potential troublemaker, then don't bother to shoot. some people have nothing to lose, there's no need to get dragged down with them because they have that sort of mentality.

most of the time, people are confused as to whether you are really shooting them. if they are concerned enough to confront you and want you to delete their shots.. just adhere to their request i guess. it's only polite. as a photographer, one should always respect his subjects.

also, i don't know about you, but if i see a couple, if any party is paying me too much attention, i won't shoot to avoid trouble. i try to avoid it altogether in fact, unless i am sure that both of them are unaware enough for me to sneak a shot and they aren't in any sort of compromising position. ;)
Agree with you, and I think this sums up the bottom line consideration quite aptly if a situation looks tricky:

"....there is no need to get into trouble for your shots."
 

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neoro

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Dec 27, 2006
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scale focus, pre compose, approach subject , snap, then smile if noticed :p
 

mamypoko

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Dec 18, 2007
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scale focus, pre compose, approach subject , snap, then smile if noticed :p
Quoted for truth, explain to them that I'm shooting for fun, not for press or anything else.

Seems easier with a MF camera though since most of them will ask me how come my camera is so big.
 

pixelbrain

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Oct 12, 2006
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my personal observation is that i usually get a friendlier response when shooting classic film cameras, as compared to modern digicams..

and yes, a smile definitely makes the difference ;)
 

adamadam

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Feb 9, 2004
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Using an m6 grants you invisibility.
But you need to take off all your clothes first.
 

ZoomP

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Dec 30, 2007
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Using an m6 grants you invisibility.
But you need to take off all your clothes first.
No wonder it didn't work for me.... But I think if I do that, I will be very VISIBLE!!! Somebody also need to clean up all the pukes from the floor after that. Haha!
 

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nikkie

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Jan 7, 2005
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But you cannot just put it up on the net. Once identified, the subject has the right to request it to be taken down.