Sixty-Second Portraits on the Streets of Las Vegas

Last week wrapped up another successful year for WPPI and a great learning experience for so many photographers. One of the things that people often don't take advantage of at these large conferences is the chance to work alongside other photographers, challenging themselves to shoot outside their comfort zone. These photographers did just that and filmed it for our benefit. 


As a lot of the photographers in attendance, I got out and shot some of my own work trying to get the most out of my time in Nevada. While I stuck mostly to Red Rock Canyon and the Mojave Desert, the Vegas strip was packed with photographers out shooting street life, fashion, and portraits.

Photographers Robert Hall, Derrel Ho-Shing, and Francisco Joel Hernandez set out to test their portrait skills while under a time constraint of 60 seconds and using only volunteers found along the strip. For many photographers, either of these circumstances would be stressful, making this the perfect challenge to break out of your comfort zone. While the Vegas strip is the perfect setting for this type of challenge with busy streets filled with interesting characters and diverse backdrops, each photographer took turns sticking to the strict time limit trying to locate a model, find a backdrop, position the model, and get the best shot they could. After returning from Vegas, each one edited his own version of the challenge, and each shared his individual insights. This gives three unique perspectives packed full of little tips and tricks that might help others improve their own work. 

For the full effect, check out each photographer's own video to see how they feel each photographer did or where they could have improved.

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Robert Nurse's picture

Walking up to strangers and asking them to sit for me is tough as hell and exhausting. But, seeing the potential overrides the fear every time. I will say that it's getting better. But, I still have a ways to go before I'm completely at ease.

You've just got to be ok with and understand that you'll get rejected most of the time. The fear of rejection is what makes it scary, once that isn't a problem, it's easier. I had to do this when being a club photographer. Dealing with drunk people is a lot harder! ha

Derrel Ho-Shing's picture

Yeah the rejection is the biggest hurdle, but once you get that first person to say yes is a confidence booster for sure

michael buehrle's picture

Derrel was the champion of this contest by far. he was so at ease talking to total strangers. not his first rodeo for sure.

Derrel Ho-Shing's picture

Ha thanks man. And yeah, I may have done this once or twice ha

Daniel Medley's picture

I've just recently started doing this. There's actually a Flickr group dedicated to this kind of portraiture. Some things I've found out is that people seem to be either very reticent about it or very enthusiastic. The other thing that I've found out is that it can be way rewarding. Some of the photos that I'm most happy with are ones of complete strangers that I just asked if I could take their pic.

David Leyland's picture

Derrel with a Canon! Nice work, nice camera!