What I Do to Ask Permission to Photograph Strangers.

Scroll down to content

If you’re nervous about taking pictures of people in public, I’m here to help. As a disclaimer, I’d like to say that this was uneasy for me to do in the beginning but after countless encounters, I’ve grown to ask with confidence. Before walking up to a person or group of people, you will need to feel as if they are approachable. Some people simply do not want to be photographed and that is just fine.

Usually what I do is I’ll politely walk up to them and be direct. They can see clearly that I am there for photography when they see a huge camera wrapped around my neck with a hood attached on the lens. I’ll start off by saying hello and asking them if they don’t mind if I snap a couple photos of them doing whatever they are doing. I go on to explain that I am a photo blogger for the area and would like to document my experiences. The typical responses are yes, sure, no thank you and what would you like me to do.  In response to all except the no’s, I will tell them to be natural and keep doing what they are doing (that’s the whole reason I wanted to take pictures of them in the first place).

When they agree, I typically try and keep it quick, and I mean real fast. Sometimes, I am done shooting someone within 10-15 seconds. I can do that because I’ve already pre-staged the adjustments on my camera and I already have the shot in mind before I approach. After I take photos, I always offer to share their pictures with them. 90% of people do in fact want their pictures shared with them which acts as a win-win. I say this because I send their photos from my pixel shooter email address and that seems to draw a bigger audience. In addition to that, you never know what connections you’ll make by taking a great shot of a complete stranger.

Lets get to those who say no. Expect it to happen a lot and that is ok! If someone declines your offer of photography, be courteous and thank them for the time. I say thank you and have a good day after each person declines. Your interaction should be positive regardless of the outcome.

Be safe, be courteous, and good luck!

Until next time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: