A Street Photographer’s Dialogue


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A street photographer’s dialogue:

Street Photographer: “Excuse me, can I make a portrait of you?”

Subject: “Ahm…yes…yes, generally yes….but why?”

Street Photographer: “I’m a street photographer from Nuremberg, I like to document everyday life in the streets and meet interesting people, like you!”

Subject: “Ok, that’s interesting, but why did you pick me?”

Street Photographer: “Oh, I like your style. And you radiate a kindness that I like to capture. Great smile!”

Subject: “But I’m eating….it will look stupid, what shall I do with my box?”

Street Photographer (already snapping away): “Don’t worry, you look great, I’ll show you in a second!”

Subject (quite relaxed): “Ok, can’t really imagine that.”

Street Photographer, showing the back LCD of the camera: “Check it out, I really like this photo. Great street portrait of you!”

Subject (smiling): “Yes, it really is a nice picture. What are you gonna do with it?”

Street Photographer: “I have a street photography blog, where I post some of my photos. Would you mind if I post yours?”

Subject: “No, that’s ok!”

Street Photographer (smiling): “Here is my card with my website, check it out if you like. Thanks for letting me make your portrait, was great talking to you! Have a great day!

Subject (smiling): “Well, you too”

Street Photographer and subject continue their ways…..

Have a great weekend!


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Instant Inspiration (8) -Make a portrait of a stranger

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48 thoughts on “A Street Photographer’s Dialogue

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  1. Love this, similar to my approach, I smile, get eye contact and engage in a bit of banter. I love to laugh with the characters on the street and get their trust. If someone doesn’t want to be photographed then I still smile and thank them.

      1. Oh I love it, I try and get out to London at least once a month and now I’ve started my blog about my own street experience i want to get out more and more. You offer some great advice, I applaud you.

      2. Thank you too Marcus I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. I’m not sure but when you follow me does it take you to my street blog. New to blogging here.

  2. I wish I had the guts to ask. I see people all the time that I feel would be most striking for impromptu portraits. But being a big odd fellow, I’m a bit self conscious of coming off as a creeper and upsetting the very people I want to celebrate. Right now I’m sort of psyching myself up to start a 100 Strangers project in the new year.

    1. Go for to, Magnus, it is not all that difficult once you get over your emotional hump! Most people are genuinely friendly and don’t mind, and 99% of the rest turn you down with a simple “no”, no harm done. It is totally amazing what stories you here by taking to strangers. Marcus

  3. This is great!!! I can’t imagine what would be my reaction if a total stranger stopped me in the street to take my picture! Haha! Well done and great job being so candid!!!

  4. Good one Marcus. Your straight forward style really helps as was explained in your previous post. But does it work everywhere – Countries I mean?

    1. Thanks, Arv! As always I value your comments so much! I’m still testing the “internationality” of this approach, but so far found no adversity. A smile, kind words of genuine interest for other humans should work globally. It worked for me in places like Europe (generally), US and Japan where I actively used this approach already. Would it work in India? Marcus

      1. Marcus, in general people who work on street in Jaipur -where I live, are not averse to getting clicked. Partly, because it is a tourist city and people are used to being clicked. A large number of people are curious too, so if you show them what you made, they are happy! Also, in general poor people in India are warm and okay with being clicked. As for educated urban population, they are like people in US, London…or anywhere else! I feel in most of SE Asia, people are fine with being captured in camera!

  5. Is there a difference between street portraiture and street photography? I have read some of Eric Kim’s web pages…he is a photographer’s gift. Thank you for sharing this process.

    1. I would define it in a way that street portraiture is taking candid or non candid (where the subjects are being asked for permission prior to pressing the shutter) portraits of people. Street photography is much wider, capturing live on the streets in general, where people are part of the photo, but shown in the environment. Makes sense?

    1. Thanks for commenting, Claudia, hope you find it helpful. Had the idea to share some of my dialogues to give readers the idea that interacting with strangers in the street is not all that complicated, and definitely nothing to be afraid off. Marcus

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