The Social Engineering of Photography

I’m always on the look for potential subjects.  Approaching them is something that I’ve actually gotten better at, despite the video evidence below to the contrary.  When I was in college working for Student Media I hated talking to people to get caption information after I photographed them.  Approaching a person before the photograph was even harder.  As I became more confident in my ability it became easier, but it was still difficult for me.  When I decided I wanted to be a full time photographer I knew I needed to do my best to remove the apprehension of talking to people I didn’t know about photographing them.  I knew working assignments would mean talking to people I’ve never met A LOT.

One of the ways I did this was by walking into places I’ve never been and talking someone I’ve never met into letting me take their portrait. In the end these images were mostly what I used to launch my photography career.  It’s interesting to look back at them and see how far I’ve come.


Fast forward five years and I’ve pretty much completely overcome the…I want to say awkwardness but that would be a lie.  Lets call it the fear of being turned down or laughed at.  It’s true in this case I had help to “break the ice.” I believe that in most situations it’s possible to come up with an excuse to strike up a conversation with someone.

This particular situation just struck me as extra awkward and could have potentially been really weird if Jason wasn’t as into the idea of a photo shoot as he was. I think it’s a great example of nothing ventured nothing gained.  As it turned out it was a good opportunity to put an “instructional” video together.  I hope you enjoy the video as much as we did making it…I doubt that’s possible.  A big shout out to my friends Danny, Ely and Bourbon who helped put this video together.


You can check out my shoot with Jason in a previous blog post here…