First Portraits of a Stranger

Posted by CWade in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Just about a month ago, to the day, I did something I’d only attempted *once before as a photographer: I asked a stranger if I could take their portrait.

*(see this post for on-the-fly portraits of an Arlington Heights art monger)

It was early on a Saturday morning, and Emerson Street Creative and I had headed out to Jo-Ann Fabrics to pick up some fleece and general craft supplies. I’d been dragging my D80 with me everywhere in order to ensure at least one acceptable photo for my Project 365 . At Jo-Ann, I met a nice woman who helped cut my fleece to the appropriate dimensions.

I’ve got so many photographic projects going on lately, that I’m just now posting these.

Meet the lovely Cathy Moretti, a Jo-Ann employee:

After asking her if it would be okay to take her portrait (we agreed I’d sign up for the Jo-Ann [snail] mailing list first), I fired off a few shots in succession. I’d already adjusted my exposure settings for the store, and taken a test shot to check the histogram while Cathy was cutting the fabric.

She was surprised at my request, and hadn’t even noticed my camera till I mentioned it. While taking the photos, I tried to keep talking, and just engage her to get some different expressions. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be, but it’s still a nerve-wracking thing for me to do. I’m naturally inclined to be shy, you see.

I don’t really remember much about what we were talking about as I was shooting, but I was making her laugh, and that’s a good thing.

My favorite shot:

D80 with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8; 125th sec @f 1.8; ISO 125; no flash fired

Cathy mentioned that the following day was her and her husband’s 50th wedding anniversary.

I provided her with my name and website, so hopefully her husband will see this at some point. If so, congratulations!

It really pays off to get over your fear of approaching people for pictures. It was really satisfying for me, and I plan to make a habit of it.

Actually, I just read an insightful short article by Scott Bourne about photographer-subject relationships this morning. So, check that out if you’re so inclined.

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