Don’t know how to approach someone you want to photograph?

If you have your shy and timid moments like me, then you understand the constant barrier I face with taking that perfect shot or getting that perfect story: approaching someone and asking for their permission to be documented. There are numerous ways to go about this, but which one is right?

I wrote a few tips on what helps me the most when approaching someone for a quote for my story or a photograph to add to my portfolio!

1. The first thing I usually ask myself before approaching someone, is would I be comfortable with someone documenting me in my current situation if the roles were reversed? If so, you are that much closer to getting your shot! But, keep in mind, just because you would be okay with it, does not necessarily mean they will be!

2. Another thing I usually consider first, is whether or not it is my legal right to be able to document the subject you want. Usually, if in a public area  where cameras are allowed, you are able to photograph someone for your purpose without their consent, unless it is for advertisement. Same goes for children! Different countries have different laws regarding this, so do your research before to avoid any sticky situations!

3. What I usually tell myself as I am about to approach someone, is that the worst that could happen is they say no! And people will say no; if that is the case, thank them for their time and walk away. There is no point in starting an argument or trying to sneak a photo! Respect their desires and carry on. Also, you’d be surprised at how much people love getting their photo taken!

4. A good place to practice approaching people is in really crowded areas such as streets and entertainment events.  You are often able to appear invisible in a crowded area, allowing you to take candid shots of your subjects. If someone catches you photographing a candid of them, to avoid the awkwardness, go up to them and show the photo you took of them-almost everyone loves seeing the photos taken of them!

Hope this helped!

Local man in Montego Bay, Jamaica, prepares a meal of jerk chicken with festival at a local restaurant called “Pork Pit.”
Jamaican man told me to get my camera ready because he had the perfect pose for me.
Local Jamaican boy watches over at a customer buying a product from his mother’s store.

2 Replies to “Don’t know how to approach someone you want to photograph?”

  1. 🙂 this is something I struggle with constantly, so thanks for posting. Just seeing suggestions written down helps. Thanks too for following ZimmerBitch and introducing me to your blog. Cheers, Su.


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