Taking Portraits of Strangers: 60 Second Challenge

If you’re into street photography, you know how challenging it can be to take photos of strangers. However, photographer Robert Hall shows us this 60 second challenge wherein three photographers head to the streets of Las Vegas and ask strangers to pose for some quick portraits:

In the video, photographers Robert Hall, Francisco Hernandez, and Derrel Ho-Sing ask random strangers to have their portrait taken then and there within 60 seconds.

Key Takeaways from Hernandez’s Challenge

What Worked?

  • He got to know the person’s name to make the person feel comfortable and enhance communication.
  • He also got rid of any kind of distractions that the person was holding or had in his/her pocket.
  • Mirroring poses made the subject understand what he was looking for.

mirroring poses

What Could be Better?

  • Instead of counting to three to prepare the subject, talk constantly with them and shoot away when the expressions are right. This could have helped him in getting more natural looking shots.

Key Takeaways from Hall’s Challenge

What Worked?

  • After he had his mind set on the location where he wanted to get his shot done, he would hold the camera up to his eye and lock in the settings for the ambient light. This trick allowed him to save some time.
  • After noticing that they could get into trouble for shooting where they were, he eventually decided not to pull out the soft box. Doing so allowed Hall to attract less attention while getting the job done.
  • He constantly admired and encouraged the subjects, which helped them to open up and give better poses and expressions.

smiling subject

What Could be Better?

  • He forgot to ask the strangers’ name at times. Sometimes he only asked them after the shoot was done.

Key Takeaways from Ho-Sing’s Challenge

What Worked?

  • Ho-Sing had massive energy during his shoot. Such energy and enthusiasm can really do wonders in opening up the subjects and getting them comfortable.
  • He used an orange chair as a prop that went well with the orange pants that his last subject was wearing. His attention to detail was amazing.
  • He was less concerned about the limited time and always focused on his job.

using props in street portraits

This type of challenge is really good for anyone who wants to evaluate how well they can work under pressure. It makes you work at a fast pace and make instant decisions. By doing such challenges, you can get to know about your own weaknesses, as well.

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