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Approaching strangers: 100 strangers project

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  • #31
    Thanks for this!

    Thanks for bringing this to DPS! I read about it a couple of days ago, and have been itching to try it. I finally started today!

    The first two people were rejections, and that was tough to hear. (I likened the experience to approaching the opposite sex. It's initially nervewracking, but logically, it shouldn't, since they're total strangers.)

    But I forced myself to keep going, and then I remembered you mention to look for "easy targets" (the ones who have put themselves out there to start off with/looks not busy). Then, JACKPOT! I walked right into a street closed off for a racing event. Lots of booths, and booth workers/models/etc. Then it just rolled from there! (had 6 or so in 30 minutes in that area!) One even wanted to do more poses!

    Some observations:
    1) Yes, it gets easier to approach the more you do it.
    2) Take your time. The first one, I was a bit nervous, and just couldn't get the focus quite right (grrrr, D90 focusing). When I walked away, I still didn't have perfect focus, but it was good enough to post-process a bit. If they've agreed and they look friendly/have time, it's okay to take a bit of time (but not too much, of course).
    3) When people are in a festival/strolling along type thing, they don't care about time nearly as much, and are much more amenable. Even attendees were more amenable (I definitely pushed myself to ask non-workers after a few "warm-ups").

    Question:
    1) Did you often chat with them for a while? I found I tend to just shoot, show, and leave.

    Anyway, it's been great, and I look forward to continuing this project!

    (Link to album. Yes, I'm using Facebook for this):
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...cd&subject=100
    Last edited by aenigmaeffect; 08-18-2012, 06:32 PM.

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    • #32
      aenigmaeffect, congrats on starting the project! I have only started it recently myself and it is great fun. I am trying to get more interesting results in my own portraits, I feel they usually end up looking rather bland and point-and-shoot-y.

      As far as talking with them afterwards, if the person is friendly and wants to chat for a while afterwards, I will. This is usually when they're not busy or short on time for some reason, in which case I obviously try to make it as quick as possible. If they don't seem to be in a rush but don't seem particularly amiable then I will thank them and continue on my way.

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      • #33
        Took the plunge today!

        I saw this thread about a week ago and it really caught my interest. So....today I took the plunge. Here's a link to my first photo along with a little info.

        1/100 Edd- Wetumpka, Alabama | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

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        • #34
          This sounds awesome, it's a pity for me that I live in Germany and speak very little German... I think that I will try anyway

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          • #35
            But I forced myself to keep going, and then I remembered you mention to look for "easy targets" (the ones who have put themselves out there to start off with/looks not busy). Then, JACKPOT! I walked right into a street closed off for a racing event. Lots of booths, and booth workers/models/etc. Then it just rolled from there! (had 6 or so in 30 minutes in that area!) One even wanted to do more poses!
            Yes! That is a great way to start and I am glad you saw the opportunity to approach strangers. Especially if they are in a festive mood it is much easier to approach them.

            But of course it is important to always strive for more. As soon as approaching one type of strangers becomes easy and isn't challenging any more it is the time to step up your gear and approach more challenging strangers.

            At the beginning I would approach random people who I thought where easy targets. The thing is most of the people that I would of loved to approached where somehow out of my reach since it was pretty challenging to approach them.

            As time passed and I grew more confident I stepped up my gear and started approaching people in situations where at the beginning I woudn't even dared to apprach. In trams buses, in groups or even sitting at a table in a cafe.


            a nice encounter by xtarsy, on Flickr

            This was one of my most memorable encounters that i made for my 100 strangers project. I was walking down the street towards barfüsserplatz where I saw clemence and céline sitting outside of a cafe. I looked and they both caught my attention as being open and interesting people. I hesitated at first because i was not sure what the reaction would be to me interrupting them during their get together. Luckily for me I went for and started to talk to them in swiss german and then found out that they spoke french. I took several shots and we started talking, so I took a chair and talked about the project and what they like to do. Clemence studied law in france and céline just got accepted as a piano teacher in the music academy. It was a very interesting conversation that lasted nearly an hour and I enjoyed every minute.
            Meeting people like clemence and celine reminds me of the great reasons why I am doing this project.

            And I hope this answers your other question to if I strive to converse with the strangers I meet. I don't have long discussions with all my strangers, but a few are very meaningful and motivate me to continue with the project.

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            • #36
              I've been lamenting over my extreme social anxiety lately, and this seems like it might give me a giant push in a positive direction. Just the thought of approaching a stranger quite literally makes my throat swell (no, really, I can barely breathe) but I think I'll try this anyway. What better way to overcome a handicap than to incorporate a talent and a passion? Thank you for sharing.

              One question for anyone who's done this - do you assure people their image won't turn up anywhere public? If not, do you ask their permission to do so? This (or perhaps just the best 30 or so) would make a really neat exhibit.

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              • #37
                Really wish I was brave enough to try this. The closest I've come to doing something like this was some years ago, a group I belong to mailed around a stuffed animal. We had 3 days to take the animal around town where we live, taking pictures of the stuffed animal around various attractions and places of interest in our home towns. It forced me to explain to random people what I was doing taking pictures of a stuffed chicken, got me to ask total strangers to help prop the chicken up for the pictures, and made me go into businesses to ask permission to shot pics of the chicken in their establishments. But going cold to human beings and asking to take there picture... not quite there... yet. But I find myself, as I go about my day looking at people and wondering.... how would they react?

                Someday.....
                Perfection is nice, but the importance to me is to capture the memory before it's gone. While I know I can always learn more and do better, I'll be happy as long as I don't miss the important stuff along the way

                My ViewBug

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                • #38
                  100 Strangers

                  Sounds awesome. I'm going to do this!

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                  • #39
                    100 strangers

                    This is an awesome idea to get out of your comfort zone! Definitely one I will do

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                    • #40
                      Really hope that i can go ahead an get this project going! Approaching strangers has always been a challenge from me And sadly, i have always failed!!

                      After seeing this post, it gives me more confidence to try again!

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                      • #41
                        Wow this is such a good idea... I have been on and off with my photography. I don't know why I have been battling this inner struggle of lack of confidence in my abilities. My husband has been such a great supporter of me and brags about me to everyone. I don't believe him because I think he is just being nice lol. Anyhow, I have been lagging in this area for years to the point where my husband is practically silent about the whole matter. I feel like I have let him down and he was my biggest fan. Most importantly I am tired of always feeling afraid of rejection and I could use a new set of people skills. I could use a new perspective on people. THis project looks like may not help you overcome your fear in that you get rid of it but at least you will learn how to deal with your fear in a productive way. I think I am going to try this. I have been looking for a reason to jump in and a purpose and I think I have found it.

                        Question did you ever get any leads while doing the 100 stranger project...(did you get any jobs after passing out business cards)?...(did you pass out business cards).....

                        What did you do with those 100 stranger project cards that you got from moo?

                        Thanks

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                        • #42
                          How you took it

                          I really like a lot of your photos, but I dont see specifics on exif info. Do you use the same camera/lens/etc for all your shots or is each different? I would really like to know what lens and camera settings you used on the photos. Also are these natural light or are you using flash/modifiers?

                          Thanks,

                          David

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                          • #43
                            Question did you ever get any leads while doing the 100 stranger project...(did you get any jobs after passing out business cards)?...(did you pass out business cards).....

                            What did you do with those 100 stranger project cards that you got from moo?
                            I have received a few requests which I have declined. The moo cards I give out to the strangers I take photographs of.


                            I really like a lot of your photos, but I dont see specifics on exif info. Do you use the same camera/lens/etc for all your shots or is each different? I would really like to know what lens and camera settings you used on the photos. Also are these natural light or are you using flash/modifiers?
                            Most of the pictures are made with a canon 50mm f1.8 lens a lot have been made with the 135mm f2 L canon lens and a few new ones with the 85mm f1.2 L The analog shots where shot with a nikon fm2n 50mm f1.4

                            most of the shots where done in natural light only on a few I used a reflector to enhance the light. A reflector is a great help for shooting portraits.


                            A few examples of my recent portrait for the project:

                            In town with style
                            done with the 85mm f1.2 L shot at f2


                            patterns against the wall
                            shot with the nikon fm2n 50mm f1.4

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                            • #44
                              started my 100 strangers yesterday. i really didn't have to ask. the guy commented on my camera and i said do you want your photo taken and he was ready. i gave him a card that directed him to my flickr account where his photo could be found and that was it. i did get his name and i know where he works. looking forward to my next stranger. i think it is best to get people at leisure and not when they have somewhere to go. a smile is always helpful too.
                              Natural
                              Happily shooting within my camera's limitations
                              Website | Facebook Fan Page | Flickr | Twitter

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                              • #45
                                I'd like to do this. I'm very shy, but I see that a lot of people starting out with the project are nervous, and the doing of the project helps with confidence. The last time I went to Bellingrath Gardens, I saw a few workers there -- people blowing the leaves out, and people tending to the flowers, and I sort of wanted to take their picture, but I didn't ask. At the time I felt like, I'm learning how to make pictures of landscapes and flowers, and it's quite a lot for now. But maybe next time I'll gather up some courage and talk to them.
                                Sony Cybershot DSC-WX150
                                Flickr, LiveJournal Scrapbook, Facebook

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