Overcoming my Fear to Approach and Photograph Strangers

Why is it so easy to ask strangers for directions, the time or even to have them take a picture of us, but so difficult to ask them to pose for a portrait?

The answer is simple, we all have fear of rejection.

Name: Romina Hendlin
Age: 31
City: New York

Since I started to learn photography, 10 years ago, I knew I was going to have to interact with strangers. I developed a passion for Documentary Photography and later learned about the extraordinary world of Portraiture. For both of this areas of photography, it was imperative that I master the skill of confidence.

@rominahendlin / http://rominahendlin.com/

Everything starts with a great idea. So once I knew exactly what I wanted, I would position myself in the right place and surround myself by the right people, but for some reason I just couldn’t approach them.

I was scared of receiving a NO that usually sounded like this:

“No, I don’t like my picture taken.” “No, I don’t look good in pictures”, and if I was lucky, “No, thank you.”

Sometimes, people wouldn’t even stop when I’d say hello to introduce myself.

So, after missing out on many, many great opportunities to photograph people, I decided to conquer the problem and face my fear of rejection.

The thing is, we must MASTER OUR CONFIDENCE and to do so, the first thing is, to know and believe that what we want to do is RIGHT and it is A GOOD THING. Having this in my mind I developed these 5 tips to take into consideration when approaching strangers.

1. It is not about you, it’s about them.

When someone says no, it is because THEY don’t want to do it. It is NOT that they don’t like you, because actually, they don’t know you. So, you can’t take it personally.

2. They might not be interested in the experience.

Not everyone is open to living experiences that are outside of their comfort zone. Many people don’t feel confident with themselves and being part of your project might be a terrifying experience for them just as it is for you to approach them. So, if someone says no, think that unfortunately, they have a problem and they are the ones missing out. Too bad for them.

3. They may be too busy or in a hurry to stop.

If we are trying to make a picture of someone that we see might be in a hurry or they are engaged in a certain activity, it is normal and logic that they don’t want to take part in your project. For this, I recommend assessing well the situation before approaching. You can also take the chance but accept gladly the NO.

4. Have a clear goal.

If you know exactly what you want out of this picture, the person you approach will perceive it, and she or he will be more likely to collaborate and give you a YES. On your part, you will feel more confident to approach others knowing that what you do is AWESOME and anyone would be lucky to have their picture taken by you.

5. Learn to accept rejection.

Sometimes the doors that don’t open in front of our eyes are because better ones are around for us to enter and create even more extraordinary things. But understand that

the more we try, the more we will get what we want.

I am a firm believer that every experience teaches you something and no matter what happens, it is always going to be for the best.

So, if you have a project and it requires you to approach strangers, try this 5 tips to get started and if you want to see me in action, check out my youtube channel where I do what I preach!

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