Face the strangers

Photographing strangers for many a real challenging aspect of street photography.


There are different kinds of approaching street photography and may be more differentiated than I am thinking of. In my opinion most photographers start with candid shots; pictures taken without the subject’s knowledge.

Quite often they are taken with a zoom lens or some longer focal ranges. Most of the time you are presented with the difficult decision whether to ask for permission, to secretly photograph people or maybe find some compromise in between.

After some time on the streets people get bolder and will develop an own method to deal with this challenge in a way that works best for them. And if they are getting more and more into this genre they are getting in the focal range of 50 mm and below. This means getting closer every time especially when the focal length drop under 50 mm and you want to get a good composed image without cropping in post.

The photographers who choose to secretly photograph people like to be unseen as they try to get a truly candid and authentic looking photo.

Most of the time that means to take the shot from a “safe distance”. Others believe that sneaking on people is wrong and therefore should be avoided. They rather ask for permission before taking pictures of strangers, they argue that even if not candid, engaging with the subject will always comes to a better result.

Any method works just fine and sometimes don’t.

I got through different stages myself and very fast opted for the “get in your face” approach or simply opt for the “fast shooting” method.  I try to compose the image beforehand in my head and than take some quick snaps without attempting to hide. This method produces candid photos and eliminates the sneaking factor for me. Most people on the street  simply don’t get offended or annoyed just because you picked up your camera and took a picture.
 As you are in a public place and nowadays taking pictures is common they don’t mind so much. And it doesn’t hurt employing a cute smile as well

After getting over the initial hurdle to get out and into the faces of strangers it is a lot of fun wandering the streets and hunting for the ‘decisive’ moments.

All images taken with Sony NEX 7 and Voigtlaender 35 mm f1.2 @ f1.2 and ISO 1600 in Hanoi.

If you don't mind give me your view and approach to this kind of Photography.

36 streets - Old Quarter in Hanoi

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