The Dangers Of Street Photography
Just to be clear, I’m not saying all street photography is dangerous, but there are more risks involved. You are approaching strangers and taking their photo, and you have no idea who they are and what they’re capable of. Street Photographer Michael Boyd was in an unfortunate encounter when he got too close to a group of strangers with his Instax Wide camera. He admits that he was being obtrusive with his huge camera and flash and advises other photographers not to do the same.
Street Photography Gone Wrong
From One Photographer To Another
There’s a right way and a wrong way to take photos of strangers, and Michael has some advice for other photographers to avoid aggressive confrontation.
Don’t hide the fact that you’re taking photos.
Don’t be sneaky, don’t hide your camera, don’t shoot from the hip.
Interact with your subjects.
This can be either before, after, or during the shot. You can smile, make eye contact, talk to them, and have a genuine human interaction with them. The most important of these is smiling because smiling defuses most situations almost instantaneously.
Explain that you’re a street photographer
If you get any flak because you’re smiling, simply explain that you’re a street photographer, and what you’re doing is trying to add to your portfolio.
Give them a compliment
Giving your subject a compliment on why you’re taking their photo will take them from Grumpytown to Smilesville in no time. Maybe you like how they were standing, or their outfit, or the way they smoke their cigarette. People are easily flattered and a simple genuine compliment can go a long way. Complimenting and interacting with your subject also gives you more time to get your shot.
Hand out business cards
Print out some cheap business cards and hand them out to your subjects. A business card gives strangers security that you are the real deal, and not just some creep with a camera.
Learn From Michael’s Encounter
I hope no photographer has to go through what Michael went through, but I’m grateful he can share his experience and what he did to improve his street photography. If you’re interested in learning more about Michael Boy, be sure to check out his Website and his Twitter.