How do you break the ice?

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Wasabi Bob, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    In the thread above, this free e-book (very much worth the read) above may have introduced some of you to Street Photography, while for others (like myself) it provided some motivation to try this aspect of photography again.

    Today, we all know that the world has changed. Many people have short tempers and others feel that almost anything they themselves may not enjoy is a violation of their civil rights. Photographing a child, well, you know what you could be wrongfully accused of. In each case, these present some real challenges to photographers. Me personally, I'm rather reluctant to photograph strangers unless I can do it from afar.

    The author of the e-book offered above has his own philosophy - "ask forgiveness, not permission." So I'm wondering, when you see an interesting person, how do you approach them - or do you? I guess I'm looking for ways to break the ice when it comes to street photography.
  2. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
  3. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    There it is.

    "Hi...*click* thanks!"

    Hesitation or apprehension on your part will transfer over to the subject. If you're comfortable, so are they. 9/10 that's the case.

    I figure, if someone was to just randomly take my picture, I wouldn't care. If they stop to make a big deal out of it, I'd be less inclined...unless they genuinely want to talk.
  4. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    I think this is a good approach.... smiling, quick shot, no big deal, move along. As shown in the videos, the subjects are often left wondering if they were the actual subject or if it was something behind them or ???... and before they have any time to really think about it... you've moved along. If you stop, talk with them, ask permission, etc. then even if you do get a pic, it's not candid, in some sense it's posed. I think if you can appear to be taking random snapshots in all directions, then when the camera is pointed in their direction it may seem less like it's all about them. Just a thought... it might be a good technique to appear to be taking a lot of snapshots in every direction BUT your intended subject's direction (even it you're not) then when the time is right your camera just happens to swing toward your intended subject and some snaps are ripped off on burst mode. The less you appear to be singling out your intended subject the better. I think if someone did ask me what I was doing I might say something like I was just testing out a new camera, perhaps? But I think having no eye contact with the subject is a good approach, if possible. When you have eye contact, that shows even more intent on them as a subject and is an opening for some form of interaction, which I wouldn't want to invite.