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Street Portraits - Photographing a Stranger | Photo Exercise

Develop your skills as a photographer and expand your comfort zone. | Photo Exercise


While making photographs, I focus on light, subject, and moment. The order varies depending on the situation. In street photography, sometimes the hardest thing to identify a subject! Especially if you are like me, and enjoy going outside to see what the world can provide, the chaos can sometimes be overwhelming.

Maria de la Luz | Photo by Rodrigo Gaya Villar 2020

Plateaus in creativity happen every so often, so its important to develop a process that enables breakthroughs. This can only be done by pushing yourself through your fear of certain situations. A common one, is meeting and photographing strangers going amongst their daily lives.


I'll walk around looking for certain lighting conditions & environments that may be conducive to an interesting image. Sometimes we may find all these elements but not have a subject that comes into frame organically, adding to the visual narrative.


This is usually when taking a bit of control over the elements helps, primarily the subject. Ill find someone with an interesting look, and just strike up a conversation. I normally walk around with my camera at the ready so the subject already has a sense that I like to take pictures. Once I feel a lull in the conversation, Ill ask them for a portrait.

Maurice | Photo by Rodrigo Gaya Villar 2020

Photographing a stranger on the street is a very helpful exercise in that it pushes you to engage with a subject that you may have never had the courage to interrupt. Forces you to be agile, friendly, and creative all within a few moments. It can even lead to a new series of work.


These images are part of an on-going series of photographing the older generation of the community I spend a lot of time in. They are the foundation of the community and are the legacy holders of this ancient old pueblo. Some are 'recent' transplants who found a new place to call home many years ago. Either way, they have seen the transformation of this town and are a usually a great conversation.


Miguel | Photo by Rodrigo Gaya Villar 2020

What photo exercises have you found to be helpful in developing your craft?


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Miami, FL - Mexico City