2013 Assignment One: Photograph a Stranger

One of the most challenging things for a lot of people is to walk up to someone we do not know and ask to take their photograph. Well, that is what we are doing in this first assignment of 2013.

For more information on how to participate, see About page.


How Project 52 works for 2013: Here is a great FAQ from one of our members last year.

There is a method to this madness. It is hard to do. It challenges us to do something we are not comfortable with. It is outside our comfort zone.

And that is good. It is good to challenge oneself to do something difficult.

This year will be full of challenges, and few will be as personally difficult as this one.

So we eat the frog first… that is, we do the hardest thing in order to make the rest of it go easier.

NOTE that we are not going to make photographs of people with telephoto lenses while they are unaware. They are going to be very aware of what is going on… and participate in the image making.

Two things you will learn:

  1. That it really isn’t as hard as you think it is. Most people are co-operative and happy. Especially when you tell them it is for a class you are taking.
  2. That there is a bit of immunity that is had by that camera hanging around your neck… it insulates “you” from the world and gives you more power to make the contact.

IMPORTANT: Watch body language and do not attempt to photograph CIA operatives, gangsters or angry drivers. Trust me on that.

Critiques will be based on composition, and the unique quality of the stranger portrait.


The Etiquette of Photographing A Stranger
Carla Richmond discusses photographing a stranger
An article from yours truly on photographing strangers
Paul Conrad
Lindsay Adler

Just remember that it is a PORTRAIT, not a ‘street’ photo.

Assignment is due on Monday. February 18th, 2013.


How Project 52 works for 2013: Here is a great FAQ from one of our members last year.


Author: Don Giannatti

I have been a photographer, art director, creative director and designer for nearly 40 years. The experience both behind the camera and behind the desk hiring photographers has given me a unique set of tools for working with photographers. Project 52 grew out of a frustration with the boards and forums that seem to be more about personalities than the actual work of being a commercial photographer. I am not famous, and I have no aspirations to be... but I know what the hell I am talking about.

Share This Post On


  1. Okay, I just happened upon this project and would love to take part in it. How do I submit my photograph?

    Post a Reply
  2. Don

    Just à clarification – the assignment is due on Monday the 18 or as per your calendar the 15?


    Post a Reply
    • Ah – that explains why the thread is closed. The assignment page made me think I had ’til tomorrow (the 18th) to post. I went and checked the forum and the thread had been closed already.

      Post a Reply
  3. This is my favorite assignment. It is so fun to spontaneously meet people and photograph them. Great way to leave the nest of security and get a little outside your comfort zone.

    Posted mine already.

    Post a Reply
  4. This nice lady was working in a large garden when I walked by – you can see some herbs in her left hand. It felt odd to ask for her picture but she graciously allowed me to snap a few shots. Her shirt had some uniquely identifying symbols which I removed in PhotoShop.

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>