Quick Tip: Turning NO into YES

Unemployed Coal Miner

When I first saw this man, I knew I wanted to photograph him. He has so much character in his face, such stories to tell, you just want to sit down and have a beer with him and listen to his tales.

But when I asked, he said no.

I asked again.

He said no.

I strategically moved on and shot other people around him. He watched me. He became intrigued with my process. Eventually he came back to me and asked me to shoot him too.

There are many ways to convince someone to let you photograph them. Sometimes you need to spend a lot of time talking to them, sometimes they need to see your portfolio, sometimes charm; every person reacts differently. But no matter what, if it’s a subject that you really want to capture, be Persistant. If one method does not work, try another one. As long as you are genuine and respectful in what you say, that person will usually come around. In this case I did not need to go back and ask. By demonstrating my approach with others I earned his trust.

Tune into an inspiring  TWiT Photo episode on June 26th at 1:30pm Pacific time! Joining me will be architectural photographer Shannon McGrath.

2 comments

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  1. really interesting approach…. something new for me… I’ve tried the discussion method for most of my portraits and that usually worked… but this thing would surely work as an insurance for the not-so-easy ones!… great tip, Catherine!… really helpful! …and I love your Twit casts as well… :)

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  2. TeaD

    Hi Catherine,
    I enjoyed your story with this really interesting character and I was wondering, do you ask him to sign a model release after you are done shooting? Images like this one have a potential to be published for example, so basically what I have huge problems with is, how do you go about explaining to random strangers to sign a paper with somewhat complicated verbiage or you just don’t ask at all? Thanks and I hope you answer this vital question.

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