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do i or should i?

January 26, 2009


Women standing out side a store in Harlem Copyright 2009 Bryan Moore

Women standing out side a store in Harlem Copyright 2009 Bryan Moore

Should I just take the picture or ask them first?  when ever some one ask me about a photo with a person as the subject one of the first question is usally,  ” did  you ask to take there picture?”.    Its part of street photography and  I feel really definies your style as a photopgrapher depending on which you choose to do.

For me it really depends on the situation, but the majority of the time I don’t ask.  what ever I see in that person is usually something  that they are doing with out realizing it.  A look of  in  there face or the way of standing that when asked to be photographed seems to disappear.  My rule of thumb is if I think they will say no or change what they are doing  I shoot first, other wise I ask.  although there is the draw back of losing your shot  there is also draw backs to not asking.  On several occasions the person has caught me photographing them and was VERY displease with the fact.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2009 8:14 pm

    I’ve been shooting whatever’s there for longer than I care to admit. My first rule is take the shot while it’s there. If the subject sees me, I smile and ask (even if I already took it) or smile and say thank you. This has particularly helped in China where it is considered rude to take a picture without permission but they will happily come up to you and ask to have their picture taken.

    This is one of the biggest benefits of digital – I’ll go out of my way to show someone their candid picture and say thank you, explain why I took it, maybe take some more with permission. Of course, I try not to get caught by people who look like they’d get really pissed, such as gang bangers!

    The only time I’ve had a real problem was with some bums who just wanted money for alcohol.

    One of the best experiences I had was in China: a picture of a man standing in the doorway of his store. When he saw me and I smiled and said thanks, he invited me in, changed clothes to look better than asked me to take a picture of him and his wife even though he knew he’d never see me again. And thei reactions when I was back a few months later and gave them a print was priceless.

  2. January 26, 2009 8:15 pm

    and I forgot to say it but I like the shot

  3. theindecisivemoment permalink*
    January 26, 2009 8:28 pm

    I want to make my way back to China I use to live in hong kong when I was young. Both my siblings have light colored hair and I remember when we traveled there people would ask my parents all the time if they could be photographed with them b/c light hair is so rarely seen at least during the time we were there.

  4. January 27, 2009 7:55 pm

    Luckily I was warned about that. It seemed the further I got from Beijing, the more likely it was that someone would want to take their picture with me. All friendly and fun, though – a great experience.


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