November 2, 2009

Street Photography—The Real Secrets

Several people have asked me: “Larry, how do you get those interesting photographs of people that you have never met?”

Well, there are really three secrets to my success.

First, you must be relaxed around your subject. In this photograph, I am about to photograph your average tug-boat captain out on the town with his lovely friend. Notice how I have lured both of my subjects out of their shell. They no longer feel embarrassed being in front of the camera of a famous photographer. In fact, I bet I could ask them to do something crazy and they just might do it.

As the old saying goes: “a picture is worth of thousands word.” Here I am showing a perspective subject just what I want her to do. I am sure that after she saw me do this, she thought to herself, “no matter how dumb I look doing that, I could never look as dumb as him.” The ole “I’m dumber than you” routine gets ‘em every time.

Finally, even if you do one and two very well, remember, you still need to figure out how to take the photograph. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting the right angle.

Today’s first photograph was a gift of Steve Schuenke and the second and third photographs were provided by Bob Dempsey. I want to deny that I have published these photographs on my blog to try to spin some rather unbecoming activity by yours truly.



  1. I firmly believe that many successful photographers have the ability to laugh at themselves. Being at ease in your own skin allows you to make others comfortable and at ease when they are facing a camera.

    Good job making light of yourself.

  2. What's to laugh about? Those images just illustrate the important skills a good photographer must possess in order to be successful at portraiture. If I had known you were posting these I could have added a couple more examples! Now that I know the secrets to your success I will start practicing these techniques...but only after being sure that I am the only one with a camera. :)

  3. Patrick,

    You will not be able to take your photography to the next level until you get over your shyness around others! It's something you need to work on! :-)


  4. After looking at photos of you in action, I am starting to understand better how you get the photos that you post. I think you must have a way to get people to relax in front of your lens. That is a gift. I wished I lived in Houston so that I could have you take my portrait.

  5. Nice behind the scene photos. Although you seem to be presenting these with a little tongue and check, I think that they do show why you are able to capture the shots that you get. Thanks for the insight.

  6. Who cares what you look like when you are taking photos? I just want to see your photos, good or bad.
    Charles M

  7. I noticed that three of your fellow photographers noted their approval of this post, so it must be a helpful one. Some day, I would like you to do a series on how the average photographer could produce better photos of his/her family and friends.