PHOTOGRAPHING STRANGERS

Dogs are constantly sniffing about, investigating their world and often will go on the run if given the opportunity. What are they looking for?

Other dogs.

Dogs are social and are attracted to their own kind. So are we. We are hardwired to respond when we see other humans. This is what makes photos of people so compelling. We like looking at our own kind.

It’s natural for us to photograph our friends and family and even ourselves. Having photos of people we are close to is comforting. It feels good.

Photos of strangers may not bring the same emotional response be can be just as interesting and sometimes more interesting because it’s a little exotic. When we photograph people we don’t know we are moving outside our comfort zone and maybe even slipping into a scary zone. Pointing a camera at a stranger can take some chutzpah. You don’t know how they will react.

But it can be worth it. If you can step into your uncomfortable zone for a moment and ask for the shot you may find yourself getting some interesting photos. Photos that move beyond your personal connections and reach a broader audience. People like seeing photos of people especially when in the context of living.

I get turned down a lot when I ask to take a photo and sometimes catch a scowl or two when I just shoot out in public. But sometimes I hit a gem like the merry-go-round operator/Vietnam Vet. He was a warm and friendly man and it felt good meeting him. I only got two exposures and worried that my shutter speed was a little slow, but I took my time and got the shot.

Now when I see his photo, I’ll be reminded of that feeling he gave me and the satisfaction I felt when about getting a photo I liked.

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