Why I Like These Street Portraits

two ladies street portrait eric kim

Here are some street portraits I like, and I will explain why I like them:

Downtown LA: Maria Madriles

A photo I made in Downtown LA — saw this lady in the streets, gave her a smile, and asked if I could make her portrait:

eric kim behind the scene maria MADRILES street portrait

Details I like, which show her life story. Her bus card (‘TAP’) and the photo of her as a younger woman:

She is a Christian– see her Cross necklace, and I think the church she attends is 703 S Broadway in Downtown LA:

I also think her detail of her orange flower in her hair shows her spunkiness, her zest for life, and her positive attitude.

It also helps that she has a lovely smile:





A mini-collage/diptych of my favorite details of our friend Maria Madriles.

The great thing about a street portrait: you look at your subject, or look at a photo of a stranger– you wonder, “What is their life story?” You can make up a little story for them — which opens your mind to imagination, and wonder:

maria madriles-diptych-cover-street-portrait-erickim

Purple Elevator Lady

This lady is great. I like how I caught the moment where she is taking off her sunglasses– which makes her look more jazzy, more engaged, and more fun:

street portrait eric kim medium format pentax 645z2 purple

American Flag

I photographed this young girl in front of a UPS (US postal office) truck — which looks like the American flag colors.

street portrait eric kim medium format pentax 645z3

Not only that, I like her hand gesture– brushing her eyes. Her beautiful smile, teeth, and beautiful makeup. It is a very happy photo, that puts a huge smile on my face.


eric kim cubism - side by side laughing lady nyc

Ultimately, I think shooting street portraits is a good way to break out of your shell. To build your personal confidence. To step outside of your comfort zone, and to get to know the life stories of your fellow human beings.

I like to ask for permission, because it gives your subject the power to say yes or no. Not only that, but it often leads to interesting conversations, and I love hearing the life stories of my subjects.

Smile, say hello, and you can ask:

Excuse me miss, you look absolutely gorgeous. I love your look. Do you mind if I made a portrait of you?

Who will say no?

Be strong,

Learn how to shoot street portraits

Download the book: The Street Portrait Manual to learn more, and pick up a copy of Street Notes.