Street Portrait Series 01 - University of Tampa

Street Portrait of Candid Coeds Chatting -- f/11 ISO 200 1/125th SB-600 handheld off cameraWant to get new ideas?  Go to a photography workshop, even a free one.  My newest photo series, "Street Portraits," was inspired by a workshop by the Lighten Up and Shoot crew who talked about just approaching people on the street and asking if you can make their portrait, or even have them be your model for a little while.  Their workshop was free.  

Combine the inspiration from that workshop with the experience I had during my 2nd DSLR Photography lesson with student Kelley in downtown Tampa, and boom, the Street Portrait Series was born.  All these shots were actually made during Kelley's 4th DSLR photography lesson.  See our setup for the bench shots here, though I only used a single off camera strobe for mine.  He used the dual-strobe setup.  

These dudes were all business -- f/11 ISO 200 1/125th SB-600 handheld off cameraThe basic concept of the street portrait is to setup your lighting gear, then anyone you see walking by, ask them politely if they would like to have their portrait made.  If they say no, just say thanks.  If they say yes, say thanks too!  I always offer to send the person(s) the photograph as well.  Basically you combine street photography with candid portrait photography with off camera flash, with a good amount of being able to be outgoing and brave enough to just ask a stranger to let you photograph them.  I will admit, it certainly helped to have Kelley there, as he is not shy about asking people to let us make their portrait.  

People on the UT campus were very open to be photographed -- f/11 ISO 200 1/250th SB-600 handheld off cameraHowever, I approached the girl (and her friend) above to join in our street portrait experiment.  I would have to say things went very well and several more people (not pictured) let us make their portrait.  Now, all these people were on the University of Tampa campus, no doubt a more likely crowd to let themselves be photographed.  It will be interesting to see how different areas of the city prove to be for street portraits.  I am excited to continue this series and just hope my nerve holds up, especially if I try it alone!

How I processed these photographs: 

  • RAW files first processed in Aperture 3 (Nikon D300 default setting)
  • exposure & color correction in Nik Color Efex Pro 3
  • Unsharp Mask applied in Photoshop CS4 (exported from Aperture as a 16-bit TIFF)
  • "Portrait Drama" filter in Topaz Adjust 3 applied