Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers

Lesson 9/20 - Know How to Present Yourself as a Photographer


Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers


Lesson Info

Know How to Present Yourself as a Photographer

This is hopefully pretty obvious except I thought we should address it and that is they try to be presentable I got a pretty bad example sitting here right now like totally unshaven has always like this though, so there's nothing I can do about that but you know, if you if you put together sloppy andi you're not taking respecting yourself there's very little chance I think that a stranger would believe that you would give them the respect that you know their image and their story deserves so it's a little thing but if you're perceived as you know, having self respect and trust, then I mean it's having self respect that it's more likely you'll get trust from the people that you're photographing. The other thing I wanted to say was this has happened a lot like photography is will dress up and go undercover I've seen people like dressed up is like mujahideen in afghanistan and I like going around I guess it works for some people I'd never, ever, ever, ever do it. I'm always the same excep...

t for one situation, which was when I went to the white house and I had to wear a suit, so normally I'm just wearing this on I don't dress up like I don't pretend to be mujahideen and I'd pretend to be homeless I don't pretend to be anything like I think that if you start dressing up trying to you know, I've seen I've seen photographers and reporters dress up like soldiers and they go out like they justify it in certain ways like they don't draw attention to themselves too like snipers or whatever, but I don't know I still just wear this with a bulletproof vest and I think that it adds to your integrity like you representing yourself for who you are and that's all you're not trying to enter the other person's group ppe on dress like them and be like them I also think that in difficult situations should you ever find yourself in them if you start dressing up and trying to hide like if you're in, you know, like burma under the under the counter, which is now mostly past you start dressing up like a monk and going on trying to be undercover if they catch you, you're screwed, you're going to jail if you go around looking like no, you normally do and you're not trying to hide anything there's much less suspicion that's actually put onto you yeah, so it turns out most of the white house photographers don't learn suit, so I didn't really need to wear a suit like they often just wear like trousers and a tucked in shirt and one of them always wears a tie, so I turned up in the suit knows, eh okay like no one else is wearing this but on the other hand I felt comfortable like I didn't feel comfortable meeting the president wearing jeans and a ship whereas I do feel like you know, I felt that that role demands a certain level of well I know that role demands a certain level of respect so I turned up wearing a suit I feel comfortable and that means I can work more easily I'm not constantly thinking like god damn it why did I wear jeans? This is so unprofessional so before I head out I always read over the pitch on the research file that I've written well sometimes bring it with me uh usually I'll leave it at home but I'll just read over that and make sure I'm familiar with everything I'm doing I checked for all of my things like I make sure that my batteries to charge by putting him into the camera only takes two minutes but it means that you won't have that disaster when you're in the field like our whole job in something you know zana's photographing strangers where you there's just so much that we can't account for that way you never know what's gonna happen right? You never know who you're going to meet you have to stack your odds that you're going to get a picture and you have to stack assad's by taking as many variables out as you possibly can when you're researching a story like let's say we're going to be photographing um I don't know um ah revolution taking place in a square, you know? You don't have to be at the revolution no one lot is going to be good you can go in honestly going google maps and look at where east and west is and find out where the lot is going to be nice you can know what time of day it's going to be best to be that by looking at tv coverage of when that square is filled with people, you could be there and you can make sure you can know that your camera's charged at all your spare batteries a charge you've got enough memory I don't turn up unprepared make sure you note pad is empty uh, make sure that you have the business cards um and whatever else you need to actually shoot like stack the odds in your favor, you can never guarantee your picture, but you can make it much more likely that if the chance you know we're arises, then you've got the best possible chances of making a great picture in that situation. Um, so next up is the embarrassing section for me um and that's pot three second three in which we're gonna have video of me talking to strangers a swell as screwing up occasionally

Class Description

Street photography requires a unique blend of gumption and skill. Find out how it is done in Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers with VII Photo’s, Ashley Gilbertson. 

Ashley is the creative visionary behind “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer's Chronicle of the Iraq War” and “Bedrooms of the Fallen.” In this class, he’ll will teach you how to get incredible shots using a variety of conventional and unconventional methods. 

You’ll learn about: 
  • Gear, in theory, and practice 
  • How to talk to people and avoid arrest 
  • Formal, aggressive, and subtle ways to approach a subject 
  • Techniques for getting caption information 
You’ll get to watch Ashley at work on the streets of Seattle and experience his process in action. You’ll also learn about the moral and ethical frameworks that influence street photography and what motivates Ashley’s work. 

Street photography gives us powerful insights into the depth and complexity of the human experience. Learn about the process of creating it from one of the discipline’s most talented practitioners in Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers with Ashley Gilbertson. 



I have taken more than a few of the Creative Live courses. I have, in general, found all of them to be very good and I have learned something important from them all. Not always enough of exactly what I was looking for, but something useful and important. This course was absolutely amazing. The best I have taken. I would like to download it and see it again and again. Ashley's style was authentic, humble, yet confidence inspiring. The information he gave was focused and totally useful. He shared both philosophy and thinking as well as real tools to learn - whether they be soft stuff (like how to approach someone) or hard stuff (like gear and settings and such). I cannot recommend this class highly enough. If you want to learn to do "humanistic photography" (his term which resonated with me), this is best I have ever taken!


This was a terrific and wonderful class. Ash was superb. His stories were awe inspiring, his passion was evident and his ability to teach was flawless. I would take any other class by him and actually can't wait for more of the VII agency programs eminating from Ron's class during photo week 2015. A great great addition to Creative Live's orbit.


Wow, I loved this course - I watched the whole thing, and most of it twice, during the first run. Ash is is intriguing, a good teacher, honest. I found this class to be so inspirational. I especially loved his encouragement about talking to strangers, asking to take their picture- "what's the worst thing that could happen?" And the videos watching him in action were motivating- you saw him make connections but also saw him get rejected too, but he keeps such a positive outlook. Love this class, please more photojournalism!