1:16pm, 8 February 2011
Which is the best country to Photograph foreign people on the street (Street photography) .
Where do people don't mind being photographed.
gbassett530 8 years ago
Rural Asia.
gordypix PRO 8 years ago
I don't think there is a "best" Country for this. Each Country will produce different pictures and different attitudes to picture taking.

It''s all down to the individual person really not society as a whole in a country.
I agree with @gordypix. Frankly, I cringe at any "what the best so-and-so" because you can find an amazing photo op anywhere you travel. You only need to look beyond the ordinary.
It's all about your personality and what works. More aggressive types can go to New York and get awesome stuff.
For me, Asia works best. (I've lived there on and off for 20 yrs). I know others who like Africa.

Southeast Asia

South Asia
functional river [deleted] 8 years ago
No where is 'best' but I've found that in China, people seem pretty unconcerned about photographers since it is almost a national pastime there, so no hostility. I can tell you for certain that the UK is just about the worst country to walk around with a camera.
Camera Famosa Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Camera Famosa (member) 8 years ago
I visited Panama a few years back, and found people in the more rural parts quite hospitable and open, which made for some nice, sincere images.
Yanaki Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Yanaki (member) 8 years ago
Please don't take the "anywhere except where I live" approach to street photography. You can walk outside your door and just try to see your local environment as if you just arrived there. It's very rewarding to act like a tourist in your home town. You get to see so many things that you always walk past on a daily basis and pay little attention to. However, if you really need to get away, New York is fantastic for street photography.
cteteris 8 years ago
+1 for Yanaki
Richard McGuire PRO 8 years ago
People anywhere are open to being photographed if you approach them the right way and get them interested in what you're doing. Of course you need to be sensitive to cultural differences.

Some years ago, before the Taliban, I took a number of street/people shots in Afghanistan, which you would think would be a difficult country. Men and children were very willing to pose, but of course photographing women was pretty taboo.

While I agree with Yanaki that you should also do street photography where you live, it's often easier in places where people just assume that every foreigner takes lots of pictures. In places like the US or UK, people are more likely to suspect your motives.
Andy*Enero 8 years ago
I recently went to Taipei and there was this person in MRT. I aimed my camera towards him and he seemed so unconerned about it.
CanonFire09 8 years ago
Rural Thailand you get a taste of how it was. Kids riding on the back of water buffalo plowing fields etc. Rural Asia in general is good. Hong Kong is a good place for street photos.
a few Asiaphiles in this thread, myself included. :-)
Bassisette 8 years ago
Indonesia.. people like to be taken pictures. You just smile and they pose for you. They might even want to take pictures WITH you..

China.. they get angry if they know you try to take their pictures. I almost got hit by a stone when I tried to snap candid. Eventhough later on I asked for permission, old lady was yelling at me in chinese.

Japan.. So far, if you request, they will smile back and let you take their pictures taken. Esp. they are very proud of their dogs! :) hahahah.
Pete McConvill 8 years ago
Yanaki has said please dont make this an anywhere but where you live thread but actually I've found that is the case.

By that I mean that is you appear foreign in most places you will be written off as a silly tourist and the response will vary somewhere between outright welcome moving through mild amusement and end up with vague annoyance. OTOH if people think you are a local then suddenly that photo of a charming doorway or delightful little laneway or young couple is seen as a little creepy and you can get outright hostility.

I've found when shooting people overseas with an australian flag on my pack I get a much better reception than when I leave it in to the hotel/hostel/car. Now I'm home for a while I'm thinking of replacing it with a canadian flag.
Richard McGuire PRO 8 years ago
@ PMac Imagery: I agree completely, and that was the point I was trying to make. People need to know why you're taking pictures, but they easily can accept that you're a silly tourist who is always taking pictures of everything.

Good luck with using a Canadian flag. You'll give yourself away the first moment you open your mouth. ;-)
calvinboy24 Posted 8 years ago. Edited by calvinboy24 (member) 8 years ago
Let me step back a minute to what the OP is defining as street photography. Street photography purists will claim that they don't care if people mind if they are being photographed, they just do it anyway. Street photography is not just a photo that happens to be taken on a public thoroughfare. If you're taking a photo "on the street" of a person who you asked to take a photo, that's an informal portrait, like this of a boy in Egypt:
Egyptian Boy

Whereas this is street photography in Hanoi:

But these examples shouldn't prove that Asia is more susceptible to street photography. I've done street photography everywhere I go: NYC (where I live), San Fran, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Peru, Egypt, etc. And everywhere offers something different and unique.
Laza 45 PRO 8 years ago
Off the beaten track in SE Asia.. is the best for me..
Viejito 8 years ago
The best place is where you have just arrived: after you have lived there for a while, you stop noticing people and things that struck you when you just arrived — unless, of course, you make an extra effort, as Yanaki and others pointed out.
Polycarpio 8 years ago
I've had no problems taking photos in most of the cities of Mexico or London or Paris.
fabsnonfire 8 years ago
Had my best experience in South East Asia and India regarding the willingness of people.
functional river [deleted] 8 years ago
Indians love to be photographed, in fact the kids will literally fight to get in front of the camera. So much so it actually works out quite counterproductive composition wise!
I agree with many suggestions -
It all depends on your experience level, understanding of the cultures you shoot and your confidence/ approach. I've photographed all over the world and had few problems.

If you are just getting started or are not confident about approaching strangers (please always ask before taking someones photo) I would suggest -

Kathmandu - a visual feast with over 10,000 temples and interesting, friendly people.

Fez + Marakesh - the souks and markets have great lighting and are very visual - do ask here!

India - life is all on display on the streets - friendly people.

Hope this helps - look at some of my street scenes to get a feel for the places - 2DAYDREAM photography
Sundari Swami PRO 8 years ago
I'm a novice photographer, but from my experiences so far, I would say India (my home country) is a great place for street photography - as many have already said the streets are teeming with life and a majority of the people like to be photographed, especially kids!
Shigatsuhana PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Shigatsuhana (member) 8 years ago
It's absolutely all about manners. Asking and being polite can get you very far in any country, even your own! I live in the UK and never have a problem.

And carry a very long lens. ;)
momentcaptured1 8 years ago
I agree with Richard McGuire. Lately I have been taking a lot of photos in Colombia. People are generally friendly and don't mind me taking photos of them. I believe it's all in your approach. I smile if they look at me and I say hi. I always make it a point to speak to them and get to know a little about them. I also ask what they are doing.
N A Y E E M 8 years ago
Chittagong in Bangladesh isnt a bad place for that but I still think for any street photographer the best place to shoot in is his/her own hometown,
wbyoungphotos PRO 8 years ago
I agree New York is a good place, so diversed and yet so close to everything and every ethnic group. Besides, where else can you photograph from a street a carrier full of warplanes hanging out from the decks? And photograph sailors smiling at you in their crisp white uniforms?
JuliaInTurkey 8 years ago
I agree with gordypix. There are great photo opportunities all around us - wherever we are. We just have to keep our eyes open.
xlynx PRO 8 years ago
I just wanted to say, this is a great topic with some good tips and suggestions :)

However, I'm a little unclear on one thing. The people saying to always talk to the stranger - is this before or after the photo?

And to those saying to always ask permission - doesn't this spoil many opportunities due to making them aware of you which could make them leave the area if they're timid, or otherwise self conscious of the camera?
Richard McGuire PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Richard McGuire (member) 8 years ago
The permission thing is tricky. Often, if you ask beforehand, people pose rigidly, and it's difficult to get a natural looking shot. On the other hand, just walking up and snapping a photo of someone can be very rude, and can get you in trouble.

I vary my strategy depending on the culture and situation. If people are engaged in an activity, and if I speak the language, I may ask permission, but tell them to continue doing what they're doing. They act stiff at first, but I keep shooting, and after a while they ignore me. That's the strategy I used for this shot of men playing checkers on a street in Havana, Cuba:

Street checkers, Centro Habana

If people are in a public place doing what they are normally doing, I sometimes don't ask permission, but make my presence known, and refrain from shooting if anyone clearly objects. That's what I did for this shot in Havana of men in a park arguing about baseball. I wasn't about to interrupt their heated argument to ask permission, but I didn't hide the fact that I was taking pictures.

Heated argument

If people are at a bit of a distance and not clearly recognizable, I have no problem sneaking a picture with a long lens as in this shot of construction workers in Havana:

Workmen and shadows

If people are engaged in a fun event like a festival, I have no problem shooting fairly close shots with a long lens and not asking permission, as in this shot at Toronto's Caribana festival:

Caribana Parade, Toronto (8)

Sometimes I'll simply ask people to pose and tell them what to do. If they're engaged in an activity, and not just standing rigidly, it can work, as in this shot of a grape seller in Guatemala:

Grape seller, market, Cobán, Guatemala

If you don't speak the language, or if you're at a bit of a distance and there's noise, "permission" can simply be raising your camera part way, pointing to it, and smiling at the person. If you get a nod, or at least the person doesn't raise their hand to object, you have permission. That's how I got this picture of a holy man in India a number of years ago:

Sadhu circuit

I was shooting film then, but today you have an advantage. Showing off the picture to your subject on the LCD screen can often invite further pictures, and even shots of others around who see it!
xlynx PRO 8 years ago
good advice and good plug ;) thank you.
momentcaptured1 8 years ago
Wow. Nicely said Richard.
wbyoungphotos PRO 8 years ago
Russia is good too - people are cheerful even at work...

[ DSC00210-12  Happy Russian road repair crew, 250th sec f4.5iso160 ]
allwet 8 years ago
Japan (especially Tokyo) is a dream for street photographers. The fact that many parts of Japan are densely populated and that there is a culture of excessive politeness makes a great environment for non threatening street photography.

Also, there is just so much going on in Tokyo that it is impossible not to be inspired.
Virgil Gabriel PRO 8 years ago
I'd say: Philippines
wbyoungphotos PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by wbyoungphotos (member) 7 years ago
We overlooked Canada, the International Melting Pod where smiles are as bright as sunshine...

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Ulishna 7 years ago
Best places in Asia - Vietnam, Thai. There is life on streets, very interesting and veri nice people.
Russia in very difficult place for street photo.
PierrickBlons 7 years ago
As already said above Asia is a great place for people/street photography.
I found it harder in Europe or US but it's ok most of the time. And asking people is sometime a good way to get nice shot :)
Travellingchez Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Travellingchez (member) 7 years ago
I agree Asia is a great place for people/street photography. Indonesia is really good place as people are happy pose or have their picture taken

Bamboo water shooters by Travellingchez

As someone else commented it's great being able to show them the pictures you have taken on the display screen.
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