Alain Mijngheer, Photographer’s tips (#115) 10-17-12

Getting away from my own images, here is the way that another photographer works.

Belgian photographer, Alain Mijngheer provides 10 tips for doing Street Portraiture. Fortunately, pronouncing his name is not one of them! Here they are, taken directly from the JPG website:

"Street portraiture, a much written about subject. Fun to practice but not that evident.

I'm not posing as being the " Great Expert " on this matter, but since I have a bit of experience with this I wanted to share some helpfull tips that could be useful.

1) Knowledge

Know your camera inside out! Or at least prepare the settings such as aperture, ISO and shutterspeed. Nothing is more irritating than a photographer that starts fiddling with his camera. You will get nervous and so will your subject. Not a good start and almost certainly no great shots.

2) Practice

If you are a novice or incertain go to an event. It doesn't matter what kind of event, consider it as practice. Why an event? A lot of potential subjects are there and also a lot of photographers attending it. Take an oldtimer event for example. Some participants will be dressed up in typical period clothing. They will be very inclined to have their picture taken. Use them to practice.

3) Scan

Scan continously the street for potential " victims'. Look and observe everybody...many people are photogenic. Search for that sparkle in their eyes or bodylanguage.

4) Hide

Do not hide behind sunglasses or a cap! Make sure eyecontact is possible.....very important !

5) Contact

Have you seen someone you want to portrait? Go to them and make contact. You have been practicing at an event and now you go to the next level. Don't be nervous, if you are you will look suspicious. Be yourself and compliment them about their dog or whatever can be used as an opening. Just keep it simple.

6) Ask

Ask permission. Be respectfull, potential candidates are not game that can be hunted freely. Lack of respect will, in some of the cases, evolve in agressiveness. That is the last we want. Accept a no and don't insist. Move on, a lot of people to portrait anyhow!

7) Explain

Explain why you want their portrait. Clothes, attitude, sparkle....but be honest.

8) Relocation

The subject is fine and willing but the setting is wrong? Relocate them to another spot. Perhaps where the background is less distracting or move them into the shade. Just don't go to far. Tell them also a pose in which you'd like to see them. Be in charge and know what you want.

9) Communicate

Communicate while taking the photo's. Talk to your subject, ask them questions and make them smile. It will make them at ease and increase the odds for a good image.

10) Afterwards

You have the portrait you want. Be friendly and ask if they want a copy. By post or via email, it doesn't matter. They were friendly enough to give you a bit of their time, return the favour. Certainly keep your word of sending a copy!

Know your gear, know what you want, be respectfull and always remain friendly and calm are a few keys to succesfull street portraiture.

Perhaps one day I will ask you to pose for me on the street, who knows?"

You can view the source site HERE.  

Although he works on the other side of the Pond, I find his tips pretty well mirror my own style.