Portraits of strangers and new friends

January 13, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Every photographer has their mentors. Some are famous and others are local teachers. One of my local mentors is Lyn from Photo Tours DC http://www.phototourdc.com/

Lyn will take groups on walk about classes, offers webinars and challenges his students to get out of their comfort zone. He has been doing a project called 100 Strangers, and encouraged me to give it a try. Lyn also got me to start shooting my camera on manual and really got me thinking much more about composition. Even if you're a beginner and have a point and shoot or a cell phone for a camera, I would encourage you to go on one of his tours. He teaches to all levels and the group size is not too large. 

Today I decided to take on Lyn's challenge to go shoot images of some strangers. I had a new 85mm lens that I really wanted to try out so I put it on the camera and walked around Old Town Alexandria with my husband Mark. I told Mark that I was going to do this and asked if he was OK with it. He replied "It's really no different then when you go around petting everyones dogs." I pondered that a moment and decided that he was right and that maybe strangers weren't so scary. 

I walked to the end of the block and saw a very interesting guy. He was sitting on his bike sideways, leaning against the stone wall of the Starbucks. I approached and asked if I could take his picture. He was thrilled and I got this shot.

IMG_4779  I wish I had asked his name. I really like the shot and I'm liking my new lens too. I see why they say it's so nice for portraits.

Mark wanted to walk over to the Torpedo factory so off we went. I saw this adorable little boy feeding popcorn to the Seagulls and pigeons. He was having so much fun and the birds were flocking to him. I asked his Mom if I could take a shot and got this little image of glee.

IMG_4836 And of course there were some pretty nice Seagulls posing for me while circling for some food

IMG_4813 Since it was damp and cold Mark and I decided to go into the Torpedo factory. One of the studios has the most colorful paintings and drew me right in. I LOVE color and Jennifer was a friendly artist happy to talk about her work. We chatted a while and found an instant connection. As I was walking out I stopped and asked if I could snap a few shots of her. She was working on a really colorful piece and I had her just work while I shot and then had her look at the camera.





So we decide to walk back to the car and I hear someone yelling at us. I look up and it's the first guy I shot riding by on his bike. He's in the middle of the street yelling, "Do you want my picture now, look no hands." He cracked me up, and I got this



So now I must say, Lyn was right. Taking pictures of total strangers is fun. I also think it will make me a better portrait photographer. I don't have all that control of the light and the situation. I am capturing a moment and a person in that moment. I will be trying this experiment again.



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