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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Advice please!

I've got an assignment this month for documentary photography, and it's street portraiture.
Basically I have to go to a public place and take photos of 20 strangers. I have to ask their permission and it has to be a portrait from the shoulders up and they can't smile for it.
How would you go about this task?
And what would you think if someone approached you in the street and asked to take a photo of you?

I have to get this done by the end of the month and right now I just don't feel prepared to go out there and get it done. So any tips that can help me devise a strategy for it would be great. Thanks in advance :)
 

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Just get their attention, and in a polite manner ask, "excuse me sir/mam, I'm doing a photography project for school, and you have just the look I need for a shot, could you spare a few minutes of your time?"

Or something along those lines. If you are nice people like to be nice back =D

If someone asked me like in my example I provided, I would be glad to help. If someone was just like "hey can I take your pic LULz" as I'm walking down the street, I would ignore it and keep walking.
 

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you need someone to help you, is there anyone who can go with you?

i would have alot of trouble doing it alone, but piece of cake if i had a friend, cause the friend expects you to do it, so the fear of looking bad to the friend nullifies the fear of looking bad to the strangers
 

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Ew I had that assignment in my 300 level photo class. What I did was print up a bunch of business cards to hand out and made a website. I walked around a few of the busier places in seattle and asked random people if I could shoot their photos. When they hesitated I gave them a card with my name, email address, and the website where the photos would be uploaded. That usually reassured them enough for a nice photo set. BTW homeless people and people at farmers markets are really cool about having their picture taken :D

Try to get a nice variety like a female child/ old man/ etc.
 

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If it were me, I absolutely wouldn't mind being approached. (Though I would politely decline because I personally hate being in pictures...)

I think asking someone to help you is a great idea. Perhaps they could take the lead on approaching people? If not, perhaps you could make a sign or approach people who are sitting on benches or otherwise relaxed? The turn out may be better if they're not in the process of getting somewhere.

Good luck!
 

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Yeah do what the first poster said, maybe add in "I know this is a bit random" after the "excuse me sir/mam" part. It shows that you're socially in tune because lets face its not everyday you get asked to have your picture taken. Just smile, look friendly and be polite. And like the poster above said, look for people who aren't on the move or don't look like they're in a rush.

If it was me being approached, I'd be happy to help even though i hate getting my picture taken.
And this might be obvious (or maybe not) but if they decline, remember they're not rejecting you as a person. They either don't want their picture taken, are busy or are just uncomfortable being approached. Good luck
 

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Try dressing nice and spiffy, like in a suit. I don't know about you but a suit looks more professional and trusting than street clothes. Or if you want to go causal, a polo shirt and slacks.
 

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Try dressing all nice and spiffy, like in a suit to look professional, or in a polo shirt and slacks to look more casual.
 

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Just get their attention, and in a polite manner ask, "excuse me sir/mam, I'm doing a photography project for school, and you have just the look I need for a shot, could you spare a few minutes of your time?"

Or something along those lines. If you are nice people like to be nice back =D

If someone asked me like in my example I provided, I would be glad to help. If someone was just like "hey can I take your pic LULz" as I'm walking down the street, I would ignore it and keep walking.
This.

The way you ask them is the trick. Of course there will be people who'll decline, but don't let that get to you. They can be in a hurry to get somewhere, uncomfortable with their pic being taken, etc. Just keep in mind that there will be people accepting if you ask nicely.
 

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Try dressing nice and spiffy, like in a suit. I don't know about you but a suit looks more professional and trusting than street clothes. Or if you want to go causal, a polo shirt and slacks.
I was going to post the same thing. I don't know if you have to go suit and tie necessarily (especially since you're female ;)), but wear something nice.

If you look clean, pressed and professional people are going to respond WAY better. I'm not saying you need to be in office clothes just something presentable and a step above everyday stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the tips, they're good :)
I think I've got a good location, a promenade/pier/beach area. There's always plenty of people about but they're not usually busy so I think I'll get a positive reaction from most. I plan on setting up a flickr page to upload the photos on and then print cards out to give to the people. Also, I'm printing out the assignment details in case anyone wants more information. I hadn't really considered my appearance but now I'm thinking a smart shirt and trousers. Not just for a better impression but I think that clothing choice will make me feel more like I'm on a professional job and therefore present myself better.

The main thing is just having the courage to just walk up to people, and then communicating effectively, and in a friendly manner, what I'd like from them. Still undecided whether this will be easier with or without a friend with me but I'm thinking try it on my own first and if it doesn't go too well try again with some backup.
 
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