For those of you who take a lot of pictures, you’re probably like me in that you sometimes find yourself wanting to photograph something a bit out of reach. Sometimes it’s a building on private property or maybe a portrait of someone on the street. The lesson we’re going to discuss today is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask. Of course, taking the picture of someone’s child or someone in pain is not always appropriate, but you would be surprised at the things you can get away with.
Last Sunday, when we were at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I ran into one of the rooms with European paintings to take just a couple of pictures to document our visit there. Now, all weekend long I had kept my eyes open for photo ops I could use for the monthly challenge at our next photography club meeting, the challenge being “movement”. As I walked into the room there was a group of friends who were reenacting the poses in a particular painting and having someone shoot a cell phone picture of it just for fun. They were just kidding around, but I saw a prime opportunity for a “movement” picture. Trouble was, they were just finishing their little experiment, and I missed the shot. So, I ran across the room and asked them to do it again. And they did. No questions asked. They didn’t know me, but they took their places again, posed and held their positions for as long as I wanted. And I got this:
A picture of five people of different ethnicities that kind of sums up the big lessons that our kids hopefully learned on this trip, that the world is a diverse place much bigger than their little corner of small town Kentucky and that surprising things can happen if you let them. It’s one of my favorite pictures from the trip, and I wouldn’t have gotten it if I had been too shy to ask. I’ve gotten pictures of barns on private property, boat rides in flood waters and other opportunities, just by asking. You’d be surprised at what people are willing to share with. Use your judgment and listen to your instincts in any given situation, but don’t be afraid to ask people for what you want if the opportunity seems right. You just might get it.
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