How to Gain a Subject’s Trust for a Documentary Project

All images by Olivia Pasquarelli. Used with permission.

Documentary photography is a collaborative process. You tend to work with people as they go about being themselves. But in order for you to do that, you need one big thing first. While this may seem obvious, a documentary project is only successful when the photographer has earned the trust of their subjects. If you’re passionate about a subject, you should a find a way to submerge yourself in that world. But before you do that, you should ask yourself, “Why do I want to shoot this subject?” Make sure it’s for the right reasons before you even begin. You photograph something because you find it beautiful and fascinating on some level. You find your subject worthy of being photographed. Be sure to treat your subject with that level of respect.

Let’s delve further into gaining a subject’s trust.

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U.S. Forest Service May Require Photographers to Purchase $1,500 Permits

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A99 Aquarium photos and landscapes edited (1 of 15)ISO 400

Looking to taking pictures on federal wild lands? You may need to get a permit soon. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the U.S. Forest Service is saying that photographers (even those with just cell phones) want to photograph the lands that they need to purchase a $1,500 permit. This goes for both filming and still photography. There initially were problems with drones–which we totally understand. But this seems a bit ludicrous.

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