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  #11  
Old 01-08-2005, 07:04 PM
erdna erdna is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

In Paris, the gypsies do not want their picture taken, they even threw things at me. Here in the US a lot of people say I should ask permission first or I could get sued. In the Far East they do not care but those people wearing costumes in tourist places wants to get paid. In Russia, they will allow you to take pictures. No problem too in taking pictures inside monks temple in Thailand and Malaysia. China - they just look at you and they move on. Japan, Taipei, Hongkong, Scandinavian countries, Mexico, Canada and other laces my wife and I have been to, we had no problem.
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  #12  
Old 01-08-2005, 07:21 PM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

A great oppotunity to get used to take portraits (or close-ups, Sohrab made very good points about "shoot and run" pix), too, Ian, is during festivals or fairs. people are more, well, festive, and there is plenty of action to shoot away, in a context where aiming with a camera is not too indiscreet and you feel often invited to close in on.

Even in countries where people are more defensive about strangers taking their mug, on such a day, guards are left down.
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  #13  
Old 01-08-2005, 08:00 PM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

when i said that even i make some portraits in a hurry i was actually being very critical of myself..
to be honest i dont really like such portraits.. atleast i dont like making them because there is real satisfaction achieved after making those portraits..
philip has given referred to a good forum
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  #14  
Old 01-08-2005, 08:01 PM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

here maybe this can explain what i mean in a much better way
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  #15  
Old 01-10-2005, 02:59 AM
Jeweller Jeweller is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

I've gotten quite an interest in portraits this past year. I have a lot of portraits of Cuban people on my webpages here:http://www.pbase.com/jeweller/havana__cuba
I don't know if my portraits are good or not. Let me know what you think.
I think Cuba is a great place to take portraits. The people seem so relaxed. I point my camera and if they don't object I take a few photos. If they object I just keep walking. I rarely pay any money. Sometimes I may give someone a dollar and sometimes I give kids some mints or gum but I don't go around handing out lots of treats. That just gives kids the wrong idea and then they will bug all the tourists for treats.
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  #16  
Old 01-10-2005, 03:48 AM
philip_coggan philip_coggan is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

Todd - I looked at your photos in PBase - as you can see from the comments there, people like them, so on that most empirical of tests they're good.

I'd add that they're well exposed, with vibrant colours, and in sharp focus, plus they have a pleasant impromptu feel.

You could try to go moer 'arty' if you wished - but I'm not sure you want to. But if you do, you could try portraits that show the person doing something. Part of the reaason (the major part) that your current Cuba portriats look so snapshot-style comes from the way you interact with the people yuo take - they're aware of your presence, so they
re smiling and looking at the camera, but you haven't stayed with them long enough for them to re-immerse themselves in their daily routine. In other words, what I'm suggesting is, instead of taking the shot and moving on, you stick around and become part of the wallpaper.

That's far from the only way to raise portraist to another level, but it works. It will produce social documentary photos, the equivalent of candid street photogrpahy, except that you'll have the implicit consent of your subjects. When I say to stick around, it means sticking around for hours, even days.

Cheers :)
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2005, 04:14 AM
Jeweller Jeweller is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

Hi Philip,

Thanks for your comments. I wish I had time to stick around for hours or days in the same place to photograph the people. Most of my portraits in Havana so far a just pretty snapshots of good subjects. I do have 3 or 4 that I think are quite good but that's not many. It's so easy for me to walk around Havana and take these snapshots. I will try my best to take your advice and improve my portraits in the future. I know and understand exactly what you are saying. Now can you tell my wife to let me go to Havana for a longer period of time? She just doesn't understand why I want to take these photos........
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2005, 05:51 AM
karina karina is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

This is a really tough question in that there is no correct answer....it's a matter of personal judgement/values. I won't take a photo that requires money but I like to give a non-monetary thankyou. One thing is to offer to send a photo to them (but only say it if you actually will do it), another strategy is if there are two of you, one can chat to them while you take the shot (for your trip to India, cricket is a great topic). I sometimes take along something from home to offer (after the photo) as a thankyou. I'm Austalian so I might take along a bunch of Kangaroo stickers for the kids (they loved this in India!), or sometimes I take photos to show what my family looks like. I guess I feel more confident if I'm not the only one benefiting from the exchange, even if all I can give is a bit of myself. That said, I don't do a lot portraits, like you I'm quite shy about it, only doing so when both they and I feel comfortable....I guess I missed a lot of great shots that way!!!! P.S. In little visited areas kids (and some adults)often love looking at their image on digital cameras. Often this is it's own reward.
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2005, 06:12 AM
mimi mimi is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

I feel very much the way Karina does. I won't "buy" a photo, but I'm happy to give some sort of token of appreciation for it. I guess my feeling is that the transaction is a kind of exchange -- by posing (or allowing the photo) you are getting something that has value to you, even if that value is not financial. There's no reason not to give something of value in return (we wouldn't hesitate to pay models, would we?). What becomes distasteful is when the entire transaction centers around money. To me, at least, it takes the fun out it.

I've mentioned before that sometimes I travel with a mini-Polaroid camera, and others have mentioned taht they take small digital printers with them. While, of course, there are financial costs plus the costs of lugging stuff associated with doing this, I think the benefits are great. On my recent Vietnam/Cambodia trip, my mom carried her bulky old Polaroid with her (as she always does) and whereever we went, it was a great hit. Even in touristy places like Angkor Wat and Sapa, as soon as she started taking and handing out pictures, people became very engaged and very willing to pose for pictures, and requests for money immediately stopped. Plus, it's a great way of communicating with people when you don't have a common language. Obviously, if every traveller starts handing out Polaroids or prints, then the novelty will wear off, but at least to me, this is one of the best ways to give back to someone who has let you take their picture.
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  #20  
Old 01-10-2005, 06:25 AM
IanSewell IanSewell is offline
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Default Re: Taking portraits of strangers - do you compensate them?

Thanks for all the great comments in this thread. I do like the Polaroid idea. I have found that there is a Canon printer (model 330 I think runs $200) that looks ultra portable, takes 1.5 minutes to print a 4 x 6, and runs on Li-Ion battery which prints about 60 shots. The cost per photo works out to about 50 cents per photo - I think this is less than a Polaroid. Does anyone have experience with these portable photo printers?

Since I'm Canadian, I would love to give out little Canadian flag pins to people I meet. The government used to give them out free, but now the only way I can get them is to buy them on the net, for about 75 cents a pop. However, I think a photo would be a much better 'thank-you' since a lot of people (especially in third world countries) will never have photos of themselves.
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