Photographing People: Picturing Portraits

I’m a keen amateur photographer, but really struggle with the reality of taking everyday pictures of people. I love the idea of taking up-front and honest environmental portraits of people in their own domain, or just capturing off-the-cuff candid shots of strangers while out and about. But sadly to be successful that really requires a level of personal interaction I feel truly uncomfortable with, so historically it’s not something I’ve ever done.

I’d love to have the faith to just go for it with a kind of spontaneous confidence that over-rides my natural hesitation and reserve. If only I didn’t feel so uncomfortable about making contact with people I’d like to photograph, feel so afraid if rejection and of failing, there are so many informal portraits I could take, capture a real snapshot of that person at that moment in time…

Of course, living in London necessarily there are often multiple people visibly present in my images, but usually taken en masse from a distance, like a crowd on the river cruiser or in the tube, or fewer individuals closer up but taken from behind so they are unaware of my presence, like in the above images from Borough Market. I’m always sadly disappointed in the results though, as my attempts at capturing people going about their daily lives are inevitably half-hearted and lack-lustre.

But yesterday I decided to be brave and take a chance on not being rudely rejected, so I finally approached a friendly, chatty stall-holder and asked with a smile to take his picture, and here is the result!

Ok, so it’s only one simple portrait of one person I’ve never met before, but for me it’s a bit of a breakthrough. Even if only temporarily, I overcame my fear, my caution, my overwhelming reticence, and I finally did it! πŸ™‚

Weekly Prompt: People

Fandango’s Provocative Question

9 thoughts on “Photographing People: Picturing Portraits

  1. I think all your people pictures are super Ruth. I love taking photos when people don’t realise, and I agree it is sometimes tricky, did you pretend you were texting? I like your stallholder one, I’ve found they are usually very obliging when it comes to photos. Thank you Ruth πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still need to overcome my trepidation – I used to worry about taking ANY photos in public, but have now got the hang of taking landscapes and things without caring if other people are looking at me or not… but it’s still photographing people that freaks me out the most… πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t have expressed my feelings towards street photography any better Ruth. My only successful photography of strangers involved their pet dog πŸ™‚ Many of my refusals have come from people who have Facebook, Instagram or other visual Social Media outlets. Go figure!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I should try photographing people with their pets to see how I get on… Plenty of dog-walkers around here… Hmmm… πŸ™‚


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