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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 12 Oct 2015 (Monday) 12:01
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Street portrait shooters, how do you single out a stranger in a group

 
Masa ­ Yume
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Oct 12, 2015 12:01 |  #1

The way I normally shoot street, I either a) don't ask before I shoot, which doesn't work well for a portrait or b) ask the person for a portrait if they're by themselves. To get a portrait of one person in a group, however, seems difficult.

It's usually just one person I want to get, but I figure I have to shoot each person so it doesn't look strange on what I'm doing.

I feel pretty awkward in this scenario, because the group usually will agree if it's the whole group in the photo. They don't get why this stranger just showed up and wants to take each person's photo individually, I hate making a group wait while I shoot each person one at a time (takes time).




  
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gonzogolf
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Oct 12, 2015 12:23 |  #2

Honestly you probably don't. Offer to take individual shots of each and get the one you want. The dynamics of separating a person from group are on their face suspicious. Explaining that one of the group meets your criteria while the others do not almost always comes off as offensive.




  
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Oct 12, 2015 12:27 |  #3

Masa Yume wrote in post #17742492 (external link)
It's usually just one person I want to get, but I figure I have to shoot each person so it doesn't look strange on what I'm doing.

Try the 85 f/1.2 wide open. If you don't like that, stop down to f/2. If you don't like that, stop down to f/2.8, etc.


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Reservoir ­ Dog
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Oct 24, 2015 01:15 |  #4

Masa Yume wrote in post #17742492 (external link)
The way I normally shoot street, I either a) don't ask before I shoot, which doesn't work well for a portrait or b) ask the person for a portrait if they're by themselves. To get a portrait of one person in a group, however, seems difficult.

It's usually just one person I want to get, but I figure I have to shoot each person so it doesn't look strange on what I'm doing.

I feel pretty awkward in this scenario, because the group usually will agree if it's the whole group in the photo. They don't get why this stranger just showed up and wants to take each person's photo individually, I hate making a group wait while I shoot each person one at a time (takes time)
.

It's not what i call "Street photo", if you make contact before the shot, you loose the "street situation", you loose the natural of the people and most important it is not anymore a frozen moment of "life" on your picture, it just become a portraiture session with the famous "say cheese" ...
In my very humble opinion.


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Oct 24, 2015 01:39 |  #5

You can talk to the subject and it still be considered street. The current most famous street photographer does it all the time and if you watch his videos on YouTube the subject's interaction is beautiful.

More importantly it matters more than some stupid archaic concept that we have to force the subject to feel uncomfortable just so we can say it was un forced. It's not candid it's just freaking weird to be into stuff like that for no othee reason than your own ego because nobody else cares if it was candid or not.


Street has change since the HCB days, his way of shooting would be completely different in the current age, if you watch his late interviews he even admits to it.


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Reservoir ­ Dog
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Reservoir Dog. (2 edits in all)
     
Oct 24, 2015 01:53 |  #6

maverick75 wrote in post #17758067 (external link)
You can talk to the subject and it still be considered street. The current most famous street photographer does it all the time and if you watch his videos on YouTube the subject's interaction is beautiful.

More importantly it matters more than some stupid archaic concept that we have to force the subject to feel uncomfortable just so we can say it was un forced. It's not candid it's just freaking weird to be into stuff like that for no othee reason than your own ego because nobody else cares if it was candid or not.

Street has change since the HCB days, his way of shooting would be completely different in the current age, if you watch his late interviews he even admits to it.

Are we living on the same planet? i don't even understand what you are speaking about.... can you develop why do you want to make the subject uncomfortable? i am out here i don't get it ?


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sjones
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Oct 25, 2015 02:40 as a reply to  @ maverick75's post |  #7

I’m pretty semantically flexible with the word “street,” since it is such a grossly ambiguous categorization anyway. And after all, the OP’s point was how to get a portrait shot of someone on “the street,” fair enough.

However, to say that candid street shots (and I qualify such as ‘candid’ since street doesn’t even have to contain a human subject) are somehow “archaic” or exists to feed one’s ego is ridiculously simplistic and completely untenable.

For one thing, photographing a fleeting event is not an aspect saddled with a historical expiration date, lest photography itself become a dreadfully prosaic art. And yes, an extremely relevant aspect of candid street shots involves the transient aesthetic, one that often cannot be recreated nor necessarily should be recreated.

Secondly, instead of citing the currently most famous street photographer (whoever this might be in your mind), you might want to look around at the actual state of street photography because it is quite broad and diverse in its overarching style. For it to funnel into one particular trend would be most unfortunate.

Thirdly, you might want to clarify on how you are applying “stupid” and “weird.” Are you merely targeting people who essentially brag that this or that shot was “candid,” as though the photograph was great largely for this sake alone (which was not Reservoir Dog’s point)?

Or is your chastisement directed at all of candid street photography, in which case you would basically be denigrating not only many of the world’s greatest photographers (irrespective of genre), but their numerous admirers.

Concern for privacy and respect is understandable, and the extent to which a photographer imposes on another person is undoubtedly a matter of reasonable debate (this goes for legitimate reportage too, not just candid street).

But as I’ve said on this site in the past, I would hate to think that the photographic scope of humankind should be reduced to posed shots or those only taken with precursory consent. “Street portraits” have there place, as do documentaries where the subject and photographer have an established agreement. But equally valid is the photographing of life unencumbered by preemptive direction.

And should Henri Cartier-Bresson be out of style, so should Shakespeare, Mozart, Davis, Joyce, Rembrandt, Adams, and, well, the point being is that great art, however weighted it might be by the label subjective, is nevertheless timeless. And really, taking portraits of people, whether on the street or in the studio, is not exactly a new concept. In fact, it predates the days of HCB…

And please, let’s not presuppose what Cartier-Bresson would be doing today, any more than we should question what Van Goh might be doing today, since such speculation is just that, speculation. Moreover, it’s largely irrelevant, since what they actually did is what matters.

Besides, any ‘change’ to conform to today’s expectations doesn’t mean that such change would be for the better…and I certainly haven’t seen anything that would suggest such improvement inevitable, far from it.

But yeah, I’m out as well, since consensus on this issue will remain elusive, and more importantly, it digresses from the OP.

By the way, if time permits, suggestions to take individual shots of all the group is a good idea; and who knows, the best photo might actually be of someone other than the intended subject.


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Street portrait shooters, how do you single out a stranger in a group
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