Taking Portraits of Strangers (feat. Gabrielle Motola)

Are you uncomfortable approaching strangers to take their portrait? Fear not, for we have a solution for you! In this blog post, we will be discussing the art of taking portraits of strangers with renowned photographer Gabrielle Motola. Gabrielle is an expert in creating intimate and powerful portraits of individuals from all walks of life, and she will be sharing her tips and tricks for capturing the essence of a person through photography. Join us as we delve into the world of portrait photography and learn how to connect with and photograph strangers in a meaningful and respectful way.

Taking Portraits of Strangers (feat. Gabrielle Motola)

How to Take Stunning Portraits of Strangers


When it comes to photography, capturing the essence of a person through a portrait is a powerful form of expression. Taking portraits of strangers can be a daunting task for many photographers, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. In this article, we will explore some tips and techniques for taking captivating portraits of strangers, featuring the talented photographer Gabrielle Motola.

Getting Started

One of the most important aspects of taking portraits of strangers is establishing a connection with your subject. Gabrielle Motola emphasizes the importance of building trust and rapport with the person you are photographing. This can involve striking up a conversation, finding common ground, and making your subject feel comfortable and at ease.

Tip 1: Approach with Respect

When approaching a stranger to take their portrait, it is essential to do so with respect and sensitivity. Always ask for permission before taking a photo, and be prepared to explain your intentions and the purpose of the photo. By approaching with respect, you are more likely to receive a positive response from your subject.

Tip 2: Be Mindful of Environment

Consider the environment in which you are taking the portrait. Gabrielle Motola often chooses settings that are visually engaging and offer interesting backdrops for her subjects. Pay attention to lighting, composition, and background elements that can enhance the overall impact of your portrait.

Capturing Emotion

One of the goals of portrait photography is to capture the emotion and personality of the person being photographed. To achieve this, it is helpful to engage with your subject on a personal level and encourage them to express themselves authentically in front of the camera.

Tip 3: Encourage Natural Expressions

Avoid stiff poses and forced smiles in your portraits. Instead, encourage your subject to relax and be themselves. Ask them to think about something that makes them happy or to recall a fond memory to evoke genuine emotions that can be captured in the photo.

Tip 4: Focus on the Eyes

The eyes are often referred to as the window to the soul in portrait photography. By focusing on your subject’s eyes, you can convey depth and emotion in your portraits. Encourage your subject to make eye contact with the camera to create a connection with the viewer.

Editing and Presentation

After taking portraits of strangers, the editing and presentation of the photos can further enhance the impact of your work. Gabrielle Motola recommends experimenting with different editing techniques to bring out the best in your portraits and create a cohesive visual style.

Tip 5: Experiment with Editing

Editing can play a significant role in shaping the mood and tone of your portraits. Try adjusting the contrast, color balance, and saturation to create a unique look that suits the personality of your subject. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different editing styles to find what works best for your photos.

Tip 6: Share Your Work

Once you have edited your portraits, sharing them with others can be a rewarding experience. Consider creating a portfolio or sharing your work on social media platforms to showcase your talent and connect with a wider audience. By sharing your portraits, you can inspire and engage others with your creative vision.


Taking portraits of strangers can be a challenging yet fulfilling endeavor for photographers. By following these tips and techniques, you can capture stunning portraits that convey the essence and personality of your subjects. Remember to approach with respect, focus on capturing emotion, and experiment with editing to create memorable and impactful portraits.

Frequently Asked Questions about Taking Portraits of Strangers:

Q: Is it legal to take portraits of strangers without their permission?
A: In most public places, it is legal to take photos of strangers without permission. However, it’s always a good idea to respect people’s privacy and ask for their consent before taking their picture.
Q: How can I approach strangers to ask for their portrait?
A: Gabrielle Motola recommends being genuine, respectful, and explaining why you want to take their photo. Building rapport and showing interest in the person can help make them feel more comfortable.
Q: What equipment is best for taking portraits of strangers?
A: Gabrielle Motola suggests using a simple camera or smartphone to avoid intimidating your subjects. A prime lens with a wide aperture can help create a soft, pleasing background blur.
Q: How can I improve my portrait composition when photographing strangers?
A: Pay attention to lighting, background, and framing to enhance your portraits. Use natural light whenever possible and experiment with different angles and poses to create interesting compositions.

I hope you find useful my article Taking Portraits of Strangers (feat. Gabrielle Motola), I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

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Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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