Today I called my friend for some advice... He's been a freelance photographer for quite some time now, so whenever I get in a predicament I'm unsure about he's my go-to source for all information. The question in which I asked him isn't really important in this story, but I figured I provide that information to give you some context.
The conversation itself was short, advice was given and well received and I just felt grateful that I have someone to call who's experienced in this field... Not many people are that lucky. After we got off the phone I wish I could do something to, you know, show my appreciation. I don't have a lot to offer, so I tend to use words in these situations. I remember seeing a picture of him on Facebook and he looked as if he was working out. So I texted him and said, hey you looked pretty good in that pic, keep it up... Now I know this sounds weird, to some complimenting anther guy is frowned upon, or hell complimenting anyone is frowned upon, but I understand how much a few words can impact someone.
He thanked me, his response was simple, but then shortly after he said, "About to go do some more push-ups now". Not only did I make this person feel good, but I subconsciously encouraged them to keep pushing forward. Hell after the conversation I even went and did some pushups.
In Street Photography
This relates to photography so much, especially street photography. Every day you go out and you take someone's picture... But what do you give back to them? For the most part, nothing. These people are the foundation of your work, but we take advantage of their presence and use it for our own benefit. And I get it, we don't owe anyone anything, but I'm willing to bet if you used words and complemented your subjects your work day would go so much smoother.
Every approach someone and politely ask to take their photo? They ever say no? Try complimenting them next time. Be genuine about it too, don't tell someone you like the hat they are wearing if you secretly hate it. I bet you they open up to you more, this won't only make their day, but it's going to give your photo life. It's going to give you a story to tell, you get that emotional benefit.
I'll never forget this picture above. I passed by this lady on Halloween and I simply said I like your costume. She smiled so hard, I felt as if she put a lot of work into her outfit, thus I wanted to let her know I noticed it. Later that day I was taking a photograph of someone and she jumped right in and said "take my picure please"... I don't know if she would have done that had we just been passing by and I didn't say anything.
Here's another gentleman, he was in the middle of a conversation and I walked up to him and asked if I could I take a picture of his hat. Not him, but of his hat, insinuating that I thought it was cool. People are way more willing to pose for you when you point out something that you like about them. I've noticed that people tend to think you're picking on them when you ask to take their photograph, so this is a good way to break the ice.
Just figured I'd write this quick tip for you all. Kind words can go so far. If you implement this during your next photography walk be sure to come back and let me know how it worked out for you. Below is a BTS video of me taking this portraits, hope you all enjoy it!