Point-of-View Video of Photographer Eric Kim Snapping a Portrait of His Waiter

Street photographer Eric Kim recently found himself in New York, and on his last day there he visited Kane’s Diner, a spot that all his NYC friends insisted he must go before he left. After a meal of steak, eggs and conversation with his friendly waiter, he decided he would get his courage up and ask the waiter if it would be ok to take his picture.

Fortunately for us, he was able to attach his GoPro to the hot shoe on his Ricoh GR and capture the entire experience — from momentary hesitation through impromptu photo shoot — in the above POV video.

This friendly, respectful request approach seems extremely tame when you compare it to the other of Kim’s videos we’ve shared. In that video, he put the Bruce Gilden ‘invasive street photography’ method to the test, basically ambushing his subjects with his DSLR and a speedlight.


The approach he demonstrates above is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. After a moment’s hesitation, he gets up and simply asks if he could please take the man’s portrait — as Kim puts it on his blog:

There is no problem of asking someone to take their portrait. The worst they will say is “no.” The best is that they will say “yes” — and you will be able to connect more on a personal level with that other human being, and perhaps even get a decent shot as well!

That’s the point of the video: if you’ve not yet gotten up the courage to walk up to someone and ask them if you can take their picture, this’ll show you how it’s done.

And notice, even though Kim has been doing this for a little while (he even hosts his own workshops) even he still gets nervous and hesitates. Some say the nervousness and fear don’t even really go way, you just learn to ignore or push past them.

Environmental Portrait GoPro POV at Kane’s Diner in New York [Eric Kim Photography]

  • Will Mederski

    This. Is. Amazing!
    I’ve done a good bit of this awkward-moment-of-hesitation-then-never-regret-asking photography. :o)
    Made many friends all across the country from encounters like this.

    I think I’ve concluded that as a photographer, you have to just accept being the odd duck. The guy crouched in the middle of the street, dodging cars to get the right angle. The guy climbing a tree to get a better view.

  • tttulio

    Great! The approach is the most important facet of street photography.

  • hakaider

    That GoPro setup is more intrusive than the GR itself. He could have skipped the water housing and just gaffer-taped it.

  • Tommy Sar

    Whenever I plan on going out for street photography, I always purposely dress real nice, almost professional-casual. I find that the better you dress, the better people will perceive you and the better they will receive you. People are less likely to react aggressively if you don’t look dirty, sleazy, thuggish, or like a hooligan. Alternatively, I sometimes wear eye-catching custom-designed t-shirts that outright indicates I am a photographer. Shirts that says, “I like to shoot people. Say ‘cheese!'” or “Not a paparazzi.” gets looks, smiles, and questions.

    I also do not try to be sneaky. People will catch on and react aggressively. I smile, be confident, and assertive. I talk with people, interact with them, and be open to them. Those custom silly t-shirts help. Also, my silver OM-D EM-5 and shiny silver lenses just screams for attention. People strike up conversations with me over my handsome camera. (But not my handsome face…) They think it’s a film camera. I show them my camera, the pictures I took so far, and by then, they want me to take their picture. I will never understand other m4/3 users whining for black lenses.

  • peter

    Sorry Kim this is nothing new.
    When it comes to shooting strangers amateur photogs have been doing this for years.
    Check out the 100 Strangers Group on Flickr.

  • Gord

    Sorry Peter, this is nothing new.
    When it comes to leaving comments on PetaPixel, negative nancies have been doing this for years.
    Check out half the comments on PetaPixel articles that profile someone’s work.


    I thought I had finally seen the last of him on these forums.
    A “street photographer” that has stolen every technique out there, then pretends to invent them.

  • Joe

    When did he claim it was anything new? I’ve seen a lot of street portraits and this is the first time I’ve gotten to see a video of the process shot from the cameras point of view.

  • Guest

    cringed a little at the “chinese internet” comment…

  • antony_northcutt

    Viagra Steak ???

  • Dick Benigna

    Eric Kim is a flash-in-the-pan who will go back to school to get his masters or some crap. His “marks” who are suckered into pedantic workshops will dry out.
    No one will remember him nor his photography in the very near future.
    Petapixel must have had a slow news day.

  • Groggy

    You must be very successful yourself if you can afford commentary like that.

  • BB

    the guys was nice to let you take his photos but I feel that you kind of overstay and took too many photos. that’s not a studio, it someone else business.