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Old 01-08-2005, 01:35 AM
IanSewell IanSewell is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 42
Default Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

I've seen some incredible portraits on TE, and I don't have much experience taking them so I've learned a lot. However, I still feel very nervous pulling out my camera and asking people to take their photo. When you take a portrait shot of a stranger, do you give them something as a thank-you? How much (compared to say how much bread costs in that country). What is the average reaction you get? (We're thinking of taking a trip to India or China next summer, how do those cultures react?)

I'm kicking myself over not having been more willing to take portrait shots on our trip to Egypt. In particular, while we were in Aswan, we took a local ferry boat to visit some Nubian villages. The boat was filled with about 50 locals, mostly men. (we were the only tourists, and every set of eyes was watching us the whole trip - not menacingly, just out of curiosity). There was one older gentleman with a great, kind, weathered face that spoke volumes. The sun was just beginning to set and the light on his face was beautiful. The background was the feluccas sailing the Nile. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect photo op, but I just couldn't gather up the courage to take his photo.

I think if there'd been fewer people on the boat, or more tourists, I might have felt more comfortable... It seems the only time I've felt comfortable taking portrait shots is if I buy something from someone, then I ask to take their photo.

Any comments appreciated. Help me muster up courage! :)
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