The concept is simple: approach a bunch of strangers and ask for permission to make their portrait.You have to keep asking until you get 5 people to say “yes” and 5 people to say “no.” You will discover it is harder to get a “no” than a “yes”.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”.
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.
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).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.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.Go out and try to get 10 people to reject having their photos as quickly as possible.Purpose: If you go out and try to find people to say “yes” to getting their portrait shot, you might become paralyzed.Instead, only approach people who you think look unfriendly and will say “no.” Funny story: you will find that often the scariest/meanest looking people are the nicest (and vice-versa).I am a big proponent of shooting in “P” (program mode).You can only re-spark your passion for photography by making photos, or doing something hands-on.Here are a list of photographic assignments that I hope help you.