How many of you go out there and actively go ahead with asking strangers for street portraits? I’m sure not a whole lot of you. Whether you’re new to photography or far along into the craft, it pays to challenge yourself every now and then to keep your skills sharp and your perspectives fresh. You can start with it today by taking 30 street portraits of total strangers in your city within two hours, or roughly a photo every four minutes. Sounds easy, right? It depends, most likely, on how comfortable you are when it comes to spotting interesting faces and intriguing characters, approaching them, and taking the portrait that best represents their personality. For introverts like Matt Higgs, this is often an intimidating and arduous task.
In the video below, the Wex Photographic editor still took the challenge, dealing first with the hardest part about doing this kind of photography: having the confidence to approach people and ask to take their picture. “Approaching people that we don’t know is something that we were warned away from doing as a child, and still feels pretty awkward as an adult as well,” he explains. The solution he found was to not be so conscious about what he’s doing and not care about what people might think of him.
Without extra lighting, additional equipment, or complex styling, it’s technically not a difficult activity. Still, the value of this exercise lies not only with ending up with interesting photos that could wind up to be a more long-term project. Matt notes that the determination and the tenacity you’ll develop from it will likely be useful for whatever genre or project you’ll set your mind on. You’ll also learn how to communicate with your subjects better and make more clear and concise directions on poses and expressions, which remain important regardless of your skill level.
Need more proof? These wonderful street portraits taken around Cuba should inspire you to take this challenge.
Matt breezed through the two-hour task and got his 30 beautiful street portraits. How many will you get today?