Back in November I was commissioned by Match.com to shoot a series of London street portraits for a new social media campaign, mostly Instagram and Twitter.
Match asked for an honest set of photos, in colour (kind of in the style of Humans of New York in London) leaving the bullshit out. Therefore barely any Photoshop was used, except to correct a couple of shadows and highlights.
The brief was to get photos of real Londoners, ask them about their imperfections and how they embrace them in their day-to-day lives (and of course get a model release so it could be published on Match.com’s social channels).
At first I thought:
“Sure, sounds easy enough!”
Then, once I had agreed to the shoot, it turned into:
“OK, now how am I going to get 20 great street portraits of Londoners in a single day AND get each of them to agree to be featured on a dating website’s Instagram?”
I agreed to do this shoot as I truly think this is a great campaign. We all have what people call imperfections, it’s what makes us unique and beautiful. Nobody is perfect but at the same time we are all perfect in our own way.
We decided to shoot on a Friday as it would mean people would be more relaxed, and the set was East London as there is a good mix of smart city people as well as more edgy fashionable types.
And London did not disappoint. People were extremely friendly and open to the idea.
As the morning went I fine-tuned my approach and “script” and could not believe how generous Londoners were with their time and quite happy to get snapped up.
This day has been a very good experience as in the past I was never the most interested in street portraits and not too comfortable approaching people to ask them to shoot their portrait.
I have now got a real interest for shooting street portraits in London as opposed to pure street photography where people aren’t aware of me. I also fear people’s reaction less seeing how friendly Londoners can be.
How difficult do you find photographing strangers? Share your thoughts, leave a comment!