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The concept is simple: approach a bunch of strangers and ask for permission to make their portrait.
Sometimes eye contact works better, sometimes it doesn’t.
Purpose: There is a saying that “eyes are the windows to the soul.” I generally find photos with eye-contact to be more compelling, soulful, and intense for the viewer.
One tip I learned: ask them to look in different directions.
For example, ask your model to look into the camera, and don’t smile. Often people have a “better side.” Not only that, but by having your subject look up and down, you change the mood of the photo.
Each camera thinks differently and has different exposure compensation modes.
So treat this assignment as a way for you to better understand the light, and how your camera thinks.Look at the paintings with eye contact, and without.If you approach a stranger, and ask permission to make their portrait (or if you’re photographing a model), it is hard to direct your subject.If you’re a photographer who only takes 1-2 photos of a scene and tends to run away, try this assignment. Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is for you to learn how to “work the scene”.If you see a good scene, try to take at least 10 photos of each scene.Sometimes it is good to try out different photography assignments, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, try a new approach, and to take action.Simply sitting on your bum and thinking about photography won’t improve your photography.But this might help you break through “photographer’s block.” When I’m shooting street photography, I’m not sure whether a photograph with eye contact or without eye contact will be better. Then I wait for them to notice me, and then I take a photograph when they make contact.Then when I go home, I have the decision of choosing between two version of a photo: one with eye contact, and one without.If you’ve got all 5 “yes’s” but not 5 “no’s”, you need to purposefully go out and look for the scariest people you think will say “no.” Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to help you face rejection.In life, photography, and everything else, we are slaves of fear. If you’re really, really afraid of getting rejected, try out this assignment (a variation of the 5 yes/5 no assignment).