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Old 01-08-2005, 04:40 AM
Darren Darren is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 854
Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

Hi Ian. I don't pay people to take their photos as a rule. Sometimes if the person is a vendor, and is selling something I actually like, I will buy from them, but simply paying for the shot, I don't do. Also, with kids, especially in Asia, I tend to carry some candy with me. I don't give the candy out until after I take the photo though, otherwise, the naturalness of the shot is affected IMO. I don't give candy because I feel I have to, I do it as much because it makes me feel good as anything else.

As for gathering the courage up to take photos of people, it is difficult. It took me time to get over it for certain. However, now I am much more comfortable and at ease. My increased comfort seems to put my subjects at ease as well. The best thing you can do is to practice. Also, my general suggestion is to not bring the camera to your eye immediately after seeing your subject. Hang out, even for a minute or two, and your subject will be infinitely more comfortable with both you and your camera.

Rinnie mentioned that some of my first successful portraits were of guards who couldn't really react to my camera. They worked for me, but I think the most important thing to remember is to start out in a situation you are at ease with. Once you have had success there, you will feel more comfortable and get better results in a wider variety of situations. Shooting people you know might be another good spot to start.

Take care Ian.
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