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How to Overcome Anxiousness in Street Photography

Is there a way to move past my anxiousness when people stare at me, as I photograph on the street?

Answer by: Anushree Fadnavis, Photojournalist

Well, everyone is entitled to have a personal life, even if they are in a public space. While you take pictures, people do stare, but just keep looking through the viewfinder and they will eventually look away. Don’t forget that the camera is an intimidating object.

You need to understand why you are photographing a picture, and the people in it. If you get anxious, you can talk to the people you are photographing, and try and make them understand, and be comfortable in your presence. Once they get to know you, it will be easier. I have found that if we continue visiting the same places, over and over again, the people in the area will begin to recognise you, and may eventually even strike a conversation. Once you have built a rapport with them, they will let you into their lives.

You also need to understand things from their perspective. When people realise that your intention is right, very few might object. Moreover, we should always respect the people we photograph, and in case they ask you to delete a picture and you don’t want to, tell them honestly why you took the picture—it was the moment, the composition, the story or colour. Whatever maybe your reason, give them a chance to understand. Most people have the ability to comprehend such matters, but if they are afraid, it’s because they don’t know what you might do with the picture. Even after this, if they ask you to delete the image, respect their choice. If you still have the picture, don’t use it or put it up anywhere. It’s unethical to use photographs without your subject’s consent.

This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Better Photography.

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