I prefer portraits where the photographer and subject plan a shoot together ahead of time. But I rarely do that. I still like portraiture, though, so I take street portraits. These are somewhere between a planned session and a candid shot. I talk to the subject ahead of time and ask them to pose for me, so it’s not a candid, but we haven’t done any planning. The results are what you’d expect, or at least what I’d expect: Better than a candid, not as good as a planned portrait.

These were all taken with my monochrome camera, usually at f/1.4, because I like the look of a defocused background.

This was a friendly shopgirl in Gold Country.

A photogenic ranger at a national park near my home.

A graphic designer and artist in Oakland.

A photographer and artist in her Oakland gallery.

If I were to plan a shoot and collaborate with any of these subjects, I’m sure we could get a better portrait. But they’re all strangers, and one even lives far away, so that’s not going to happen. Nevertheless, taking street portraits is still way better than not taking portraits at all.