Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers

Lesson 2 of 20

What Do You Mean by Photographing Strangers?

 

Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers

Lesson 2 of 20

What Do You Mean by Photographing Strangers?

 

Lesson Info

What Do You Mean by Photographing Strangers?

A lot of it is pure street photography um and that's where you sort of stand back a little bit and you wait for things to happen you find amazing scenes like this shot this during two thousand eight during the economic crisis down on wall street obviously I'm all straight um on I'd be photographing down there and I found this great corner I knew that a dawn it would have amazing light so I came back down there and I staked the spot out they waited for somebody to walk through it in a case like this I'm not engaging with a subject you know they become part of the scene well usually talk to the subject's after I take a picture like hi sorry excuse me do you mind stopping I just took a picture of you would you mind sharing your name for the photo caption how old do you where do you work and things like that I always try to provide as much context to the work that I do is possible oftentimes I need to interact a lot before I actually take photographs teo especially when moments ah more int...

imate when things are quieter when things are really hustling and bustling you sort of disappear into the crowd but you know situations like this a few years later in two thousand eleven during occupy wall street this couple have been recent you know, engaged during the actual occupation of zuccotti park downtown s o I spent I think was like fifteen or twenty minutes like chatting with him smoking with him drinking coffee until you know she's that are going on a phone and he came up behind her and hug her but at that point you know after fifteen minutes of actually engaging and it sounds really fast I know except fifteen minutes is a long time when you're engaging with a stranger and they get bored they get bored of your presence it comes up behind her and hugs you know and I managed to photograph this moment which I'm proud off I think it's a beautiful sort of intimate moment but you have to build that trust with the subjects and then other times I think as your career develops you start getting assignments on dh then you're entering places as an official sort of photographer this's a story that idea about the south china sea which is this disputed sea between china, the philippines in vietnam on dh there you actually have a job to do people are still strangers but you're not going in as much as you know like hi, I'm actually I'm just taking pictures of downtown new york today do you mind if I ask you to picture of you? You're there with a very official job, you know, so photographing soldiers in iraq like I'm here at the new york times I'm here to see what you're doing it's the same sort of thing in this explain what I'm working on a story about the south china sea explain why I'm working on it that you know it's it's a conflicted area which they know very well and I'm here to tell the story that you're experiencing, um and people as soon as they see that you're actually out there, you know, in the thick of it with them, they drop their guard very quickly. I think the initial meeting that was always difficult and there's a period of discomfort after you introduce yourself when they like what am I supposed to do? And if you don't do anything and you just sit it out, eventually it starts becoming normally that is go about their business. So this this is a photograph I shot during a giant snowstorm in new york, but this is an example of there's, a mix of sort of work, a mix of these different approaches that often works. So all of these past examples of bean really specific you're on a story you need to build intimacy or you just shoot and ask later or talk later, but this is a case where, you know, I was riding my bike, which wasn't pretty up this bridge at the brooklyn bridge, and I rode past this guy there's one guy walking across the bridge early in the morning I was like, slipping and falling off allover the place and he's laughing, and I'm lopping and I say, hi, asai, ride by, like, full full by, um and I turned around and I photographed him on. Then I catch up to run, run up to him again and photographed them again like, hi, how you doing? You're right, like funny morning for it, isn't it? And I keep shooting until I get this picture and then I start engaging with him like what's your name. How old are you? What are you doing? He's. Like I walk across the bridge every day. They called us the bridge walkers every day that he goes to work. He walks across the brooklyn bridge. Regardless of the weather. So turns into this story within the story. I'm out, in a way, the story except in fact, there is this group of manhattan will broke the nights, actually, who walked the brooklyn bridge into work in downtown manhattan every day. So there's no one right approach this. It could be a mix of all of them. It could be one. It could be another, but you have to gauge it as you're shooting.

Class Description

AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Confidently approach strangers for street photography
  • Refine your eye for strong compositions
  • Choose the right gear for street photography
  • Tell a story through street photography
  • Write captions to accompany your work
  • Cull and edit your street photography images
  • Use street photography tips for building a career

ABOUT ASHLEY’S CLASS:

Find the courage and skill to photograph strangers in public. Work with renowned street photographer Ashley Gilbertson to build both the confidence and skills necessary to succeed as a street photographer. Learn how to capture people moving through everyday life in artistic ways. Find out how to approach people in the street -- and how to photography anonymously in public places when everyone says no.

From understanding gear and the nuances of focal length to working as a documentary photographer in a public space, take your passion for street photography to the next level. This class isn't for beginners learning shutter speed and aperture for the first time -- it's for anyone that's ever wanted to work in street photography but struggles to build the courage to do so.

Watch behind-the-scenes videos following a real street photographer in action. Hear tales -- and see sample images -- of street photography across the United States and abroad, including major cities like New York and Chicago. Build captions and edit images with Photomechanic and Adobe Lightroom Live. Dive into an art form that reveals the complexity of human nature with Street Photography: The Art of Photographing Strangers.

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

  • Intermediate photographers eager to try the street photography genre
  • Enthusiast photographers branching into documentary style photography
  • Advanced photographers struggling to come out of their shell to approach strangers

SOFTWARE USED: Adobe Lightroom 6.0

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR:

Australia born photographer Ashley Gilbertson is a well-respected documentary style artist that many consider among the best street photographers. From working on editorial shoots to personal projects, his work has earned him an Emmy nomination, the Robert Capa Gold Medal, and an American Society of Magazine Editors Ellie award. The street photographer is also the author of two photography books and a regular writer for publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Based in New York City, Ashley's work has been featured in major publications as well as museum and art galleries around the world. 

Lessons

  1. Class Introduction

    Start this street photography workshop with one of the most frequently asked questions: how do you photograph strangers? Meet your instructor and dip your toes into the world of street photography in the introduction lesson. Learn what to expect in the first lesson.

  2. What Do You Mean by Photographing Strangers?

    In many cases, street photographers photograph first in the decisive moment, then talk to the person in the photograph afterward. In this lesson, Ashley explains when he introduces himself first, and when he waits.

  3. Why Photograph Strangers?

    Carrying a camera gives you permission to be curious, to meet new people. See why strangers make such great photography subjects. Gain insight into how Ashley gets strangers to open up about their vulnerabilities.

  4. The Psychology of a Street Photographer

    Can you be a street photographer and an introvert? Learn how Ashley become extroverted for the sake of street photography and how to get out of your own shell. Work to build the confidence to approach strangers by looking at the worst case scenario and imagining how you would feel if the roles were reversed.

  5. Establishing Trust When Photographing

    Ashley says that trust is essential to successful street photography. Gain insightful tips to start building trust with potential photo subjects, whether you are working with them for one image or working with them for months. Learn how to confront your own fears and build trust with subjects.

  6. Decide on a Story to Tell Through Photos

    Begin the segment on the pre-shot process with a look at storytelling through street photography. Work through the process of determining what story to tell, from finding what you are passionate about to working for a specific cause. Just be sure, he says, to be open to changing your opinion as you work. Find inspiration from some of Ashley's past projects.

  7. How To Tell Your Story Through Photos

    Some stories try to change the world, others just celebrate the beauty and fun of it. Dig into researching the location, narratives, and existing work on a potential story. Learn how to build and pitch a photo essay, including a sample pitch.

  8. The Gear You Need For Street Photography

    Gear matters in street photography -- but perhaps not the way you think it is. A good street photography camera, whether film or digital camera, is simply a tool that helps you get the job done, whether that's a fancy Leica or an inexpensive camera and a prime lens or two. Ashley says, however, that you should know your camera inside and out. Street photographers also need to consider the conditions, traveling, and whether or not you need to be discrete when choosing gear.

  9. Know How to Present Yourself as a Photographer

    Perception goes with trust -- including what you wear and how you present yourself. In this brief lesson, gain tips on presenting yourself as a street photographer.

  10. Observe Your Shoot Location

    Scouting out the location helps prepare for a successful shot. Observing the location helps street photographers find the best light. Learn what to look for when scouting out a location.

  11. Where is Street Photography?

    Street photography doesn't require a street. Ashley explains how any public or semi-public location is fair game for street photography. Find insight into additional spaces to shoot besides just outdoors on the streets.

  12. How to Approach Your Subject

    Street photographers can approach subjects in three main ways. Work through each situation to interact with the subject while keeping the interactions unposed. Ashley also shares insight about getting a variety of angles to increase the chances of getting good shots with the right perspective. Go behind the scenes and watch Ashley interact with real subjects in Seattle.

  13. Ways to Connect with Your Subject

    Talk through ways to connect with your subject and how men and women may have different experiences in street photographer. Watch a behind-the-scenes video showing how Ashley talks with subjects. Learn why being at ease and comfortable is key.

  14. What to Do When People Say No to Photographs

    Not everyone will say yes to having their photo taken -- so what happens then? Ashley suggests not taking no personally and moving on to other photo subjects. In this lesson, learn how to capture photos of bystanders in ways that don't require a name.

  15. Always Have a Street Photography Backup Plan

    What happens when everyone says no? In this lesson, Ashley suggests some alternative projects or backup plans when the original plan isn't working.

  16. What to do When You've Finished Shooting

    The post-shoot workflow includes captioning and initial editing -- often on the same day as the shot. Ashley suggests writing down captions while it's still fresh in your mind, instead of waiting for the next day. Learn how to organize and cull your images.

  17. How To Find The Right Caption For Your Photos

    Documentary style photography isn't complete without a caption. Build a caption for your work in this lesson, from a generic caption for large batches of images, to captioning individual images.

  18. The Street Photography Editing Process

    Work through a three-step culling process for street photography. Start with culling photos in Adobe Lightroom using a star system, then continue narrowing down the frames.

  19. Toning Your Photos For Maximum Impact

    Street photography's journalism roots means editing should be minimal. Walk through the process of adjusting the tones in the image from maximum impact using Adobe Lightroom. Work with photos shot in previous lessons during this live editing session.

  20. Career Tips For Street Photography

    How do street photographers profit from their work? In this lesson, Ashley talks about the state of the industry, the different types of assignments, and how to approach street photography as a career.

Reviews

user-4e23bb
 

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!

user-082aad
 

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.

cranecreekphotography
 

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!