Jul 172013

Seven tips for photographing strangers

New Talk at BH Photo

Thank You

Adam Marelli Can I Take Your Picture at BH Photo

First I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who was able to make the event.  It was a rainy afternoon, but in spite of the afternoon downpour there was not a free seat in the house.  BH said that all 125 spots for the talk were full and there was a heavy wait list for cancellations.  With a spot light in my face it was a little tough to see everyone, but it was indeed a full house and I want to THANK EVERYONE for coming out.


Must Read Books from the Talk

There were two books which came up during the talk that I wanted to pass along to everyone. The first is Leonardo DaVinci’s “Treatise on Painting.”  As I said in the talk is a paperback that no one wants.   Its readily available and an absolute gem.  It was written as a guide for young painters, but easily adapted for photographers.  And if it was good enough for DaVinci, chances are it is good enough for us too!

The other book that you will all enjoy is Ross King’s “Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling.”  King’s account of the difficult conditions which brought about the Sistine Chapel is wonderfully entertaining, but filled with top notch research to satisfy the historians in the bunch.   He does not go into the design analysis, presumably because he is not an artist…but its ok.

Buy them here:

Treatise on Painting DaVinci recommended by Adam Marelli

“The Treatise on Painting” by Leonardo DaVinci

Michelangelo and the popes ceiling recommended by Adam Marelli

“Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling” Ross King

Brunelleschis Dome Ross King recommended by Adam Marelli

and if you enjoy King have a look at “Brunelleschi’s Dome” for those of you who enjoy architecture, Florence, or the insanity required to deal with the Florentine city planning board.

New York City Workshop Announcement

And for everyone who has been patiently requesting a New York City Workshop…Its HERE!  This September I will be hosting a weekend workshop.  It will be a two day workshop on September 21st and 22nd (Saturday and Sunday).  We will be working on many of the design concepts introduced in the BH video except this will be hands on, with full feedback, critique, exercises that you can take home afterwards to improve your photography.  I have shared with with a handful of students already, so spots are filling up quickly.  Registration is now open and I cant wait to see everyone.

Workshop Details

  • Two Full days of shooting around my favorite locations around my studio (NOT midtown)
  • Dates: September 21st & 22nd, 2013 (Saturday/Sunday)
  • Times: 10:00am-6:00pm
  • Cost: 995 USD
  • Registration: Currently open

SIGN UP by emailing theworkshop@adammarelliphoto.com 

Adam Marelli NYC workshop 2013

From Prague

This week we are shooting in Prague for my workshop with David Farkas, but keep an eye out for some image updates later this week.



  11 Responses to “How to Talk to Strangers by Adam Marelli”

  1. After viewing your B&H video I am interested in taking the two day seminar in NYC. However I have a few questions since I will be commuting in each day as I live in Central NJ.
    1. Is parking readily available near your home? or should I take the train and a taxi to reach your
    2. Do you recommend I bring a tripod or is it not necessary?
    3. I have a Canon 7D but prefer my Olympus OMD5 since with the lenses it is much easier to carry
    around all day.
    I really enjoyed the video and found it very helpful.
    STAY COOL this heat a bear
    Marty Schwartz

    • Hi Marty,

      Looking forward to having you there.

      1. There is parking nearby…two pay parking lots, one is outdoor the other indoor.
      2. No need for a tripod.
      3. Bring just the Olympus…light weight is most important so it is comfortable for walking around with.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the video!


  2. Hi Adam,

    Great talk. You seemed a more relaxed than the previous one (your previous talk was also really good).
    I really appreciate your focus on access/interaction/composition in photography instead of on equipment/software.

    I was doing some searching background info on Da Vinci’s Treatise on painting and discovered that is also (legally) available in several electronic formats (http://archive.org/details/treatiseonpainti001974mbp), which might be a good alternative for the people who like to read electronically. I still prefer to read books.
    I find it quite interesting that Da Vinci probably didn’t wrote that book (it is still very educational, http://www.treatiseonpainting.org/intro.html)


    • Hi Marcel,

      Thanks for the feedback…I guess it gets easier the more I do it. The group was excellent too, so I owe a thank you to them.

      Really appreciate the links. I feel as if a number of people will take advantage of them. Im with you…books are my preferred format,
      but something is better than nothing.

      Be well-Adam

      • Hi Adam,

        I’m not sure if you make a little money from the amazon links (which would be fine and I hope you do), but I also believe that people should know about this (legally available) free information. Still, nothing beats a hardcopy.

        About your presentations. If they’re filmed, please don’t use a laser pointer because that’s nearly impossible to see on video. A good old stick would do the trick.

        Keep up the good work!


        • Hi Marcel,

          I have no problem with the link. Amazon is up on the site, but it hardly generates money. So not a problem to have the digital version up there.

          And I will mention it to BH. There are a few things that I cant exactly change with them. But I am considering doing my own videos.

          Curious to hear what the readers would think of that…if you like that idea, leave a note at the bottom. A : ) just to let me know you like the idea.


          • Your own series of videos is an intriguing idea. Are you thinking of gear videos (please don’t), lecture styled videos (like B&H) or perhaps a breakdown of the design of paintings/photographs?

            The latter could be done in the manner of khan acadamy, quite dynamically (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f7YwCtHcgk). And it is easy to create (http://www.labnol.org/internet/khan-academy-style-videos/19875/).
            Design videos do seem to appeal to a specific nich in the photography community and you seem to have it cornered.

          • Hi Adam,

            Your two B&H videos have been hugely enlightening for me, and as another commenter mentioned, it’s wonderful to hear someone talking knowledgeably about artistic theory rather than how to tart up a photo later in Lightroom.

            All this is to say, yes, I’d love more videos from you.

  3. Adam,

    Enjoyed your second appearance at B&H as much as the first.

    I’ve been waiting for an NYC workshop and now I’m bummed because I am going to be on the West Coast then.

    Looks like the next opportunity in NYC is in February, but February seems like a fairly inhospitable time for shooting street. What would be your plan if the weather is bad? Shoot at a museum?

    Also, I want to second the motion on you doing your own videos. The B&H lectures don’t do a good job showing the art that you refer to. You could produce your own videos to cover precisely what you want to cover and have high-quality illustration, too.

    Take care.

    • Hey Jay,

      Too bad we will miss you in NYC. The one in February is a 1 day lecture…so we wont have to brave the winter day. April will be the next full NYC workshop if you are around for that. There are a few people who have already signed up.

      And I am looking into doing videos on my own. The production is a small hurdle, but I am sure we will figure something out.


  4. Hi Adam,

    Your BH talk was enlightening specifically connecting artwork of the masters with photography with respect to shooting street. I really enjoyed it and your humor was quite nice making it not only informative but entertaining.

    Thanks for taking the time to do the talk.

    Good Thoughts- Gary Orona

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