Minimize fear of shooting strangers: Follow these 3 easy steps…
Are you scared of photographing people in public spaces like streets, parks, and beaches?
If so, you’re not alone. And you’re in good company.
When I started shooting street photography with my DSLR I was constantly afraid. I worried that people will think I’m a voyeur or a paedophile. But I just wanted to shoot innocuous images of people going about their lives and thus turn their sometimes miserable existence into something remarkable.
The fear of shooting street photography is the one thing that all street hunters have in common. We are all afraid to a certain degree.
But some of us have managed to reduce this fear.
How can you minimize your fear of photographing complete strangers without asking for their permission?
Follow these 3 easy steps and see your fear of shooting street photography disappear into thin air.
3 Easy Steps To Minimize Fear of Shooting Strangers
Step #1: Analyse Your Fears
Ask yourself why you’re afraid to photograph people you don’t know. What exactly is the cause of your own personal fear? For example, what are the possible consequences of your actions?
If someone sees you taking their picture without asking for permission, how will they react? One possible answer to this question is that you don’t know how they’ll react. You don’t know what will happen.
Is it possible then to assume that you’re afraid of the unknown?
You assume that something bad might happen. For instance, your camera might be confiscated. Or you might be attacked. Perhaps you’re afraid that people will swear at you. Or give you funny looks.
Which one of these three scenarios are you more scared of?
Damage to, or confiscation of your equipment
Being sworn at, or shouted at.
Minimize fear by first shooting at places where most of the people know you. Such as at social gatherings like weddings, parties, family reunions or get-together.
Remember that the subjects of your street photography do not have to be strangers. The only criterion in street photography is that they should be unaware that you’re taking their photo.
Do you really think that a relative of yours or a friend will smash your camera into smithereens?
Can any of your colleagues or acquaintances physically harm you for having taken their photo without permission? Will they swear or shout at you?
I doubt it very much.
So practice with the people you know and hone your skills of shooting candidly without being spotted.
Step #2: Know The Law
Another reason you’re scared of shooting street photography might be that you don’t want to be in trouble with the law. You don’t want to be arrested or detained for whatever reason.
This kind of fear is based on your ignorance of the law as it pertains to street photography in your area.
In most countries street photography is not prohibited.
Read up on what the law in your specific city or town says about street photography.
As long as you are civil in your approach and do not act in a suspicious way, no police officer is going to stop you from taking pictures of strangers.
Street photography is perfectly legal in most countries. So stop worrying that you might get arrested for doing what you love. Do it respectfully and enjoy!
Step #3: Choose Your Hunting Ground Carefully
There is just one place in your city or town where you can shoot street photography without being noticed. It is your duty to find that place and make it your own favourite shooting spot.
The point here is: Know your area very well. And select a spot that will help you produce the results that you’ll be proud of, without having to worry about your personal safety or the safety of your equipment.
I have followed the 3 steps outlined above to reduce my fear of photographing strangers.
Can you add just one more step that helped you reduce your fear of shooting street photography?
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Till next time.