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Downtown Lens: Beautiful People

By Dave Bullock
Published: Sunday, August 24, 2008, at 03:13PM

Every day of year the streets of Downtown Los Angeles are packed with people of all types, shapes and sizes. Each one of them has their own unique beauty. Most would love to have their picture taken.

There are two options for taking photos in public. You can either take the picture without asking or ask and then shoot. Both of these methods can give good results, so it is up to you which way you want to go.

I should start by pointing out that legally you can take a picture of anyone when they are in public. If you are walking down the street, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. This means I can take a photo of you or you can take a photo of me and neither of us can do anything about it, legally.

Despite this fact some people will not be happy with you taking their photos surreptitiously. You may find that some angry fellow comes up to you and demands your film (disk) or that you delete the photo. Be polite, but tell him no and explain to him that he is in public and it is your right to take his photo. If he tries to physically take your film, he is breaking the law and you should call the police.

Now that you know your rights, the first step to taking street photos is to hit the streets. Take your camera and your walking shoes and meander about a busy Downtown street. Broadway seems to always be filled with interesting people, especially on a Saturday afternoon.

Once you see a subject the piques your interest you must make a decision. Do you take the photo unannounced, or ask the person if they would like the picture taken? If you politely ask them, and smile whilst doing it, you may find they are more than happy to have their picture taken.

On the other hand, it is always easier to ask forgiveness than permission. If you want to be assured that you will get the photo, just take it. It's your right to photograph people in public, so go for it.

Now comes the fun part. Take your camera, head out onto your favorite Downtown Los Angeles street and photograph some beautiful people. Post your photos in this thread using our new Readers' Photos feature. Most importantly, have fun and happy shooting!

This post is the fourth part in a weekly series entitled Downtown Lens in which I will discuss a photograph and the technique that relates to it.

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Downtown Lens

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