Famous TikTok photographer and Instagramer Alex Stemplewski is challenging himself by taking photos of random strangers in the streets. Without a studio and professional lighting, he has to improvise on how to take the perfect photo.
"It was a culmination of many things that led me to the idea of photographing strangers the way that I do it today. It started on the day that I received my camera in the mail about a year ago. That was literally my first day of doing photography and I was so excited I wanted to take photos right away. The problem was, I didn't know any models and I didn't really know a lot of people in San Francisco because I had just moved there. So, I thought to myself, why don't I just go outside and take photos of free photos for people. That way I can practice and I can give people free photos in return. That's where it all began, literally on my first day as a photographer."
Soon he was noticed by people on social media and now he has almost 8 Million followers on TikTok and over 220k on Instagram.
"I've been doing photography for about one year now and one of the biggest challenges for a beginner photographer was finding models to work with you. Since you may not have a portfolio when you are starting out as a photographer it can be hard to get real models to want to work with you. I found that often times when I would schedule a photoshoot with a model, they would end up canceling on me at the last minute. It was very frustrating at first, but one day I decided to make a rule for myself whenever that happened. Whenever a model would cancel a photoshoot on me, I had to walk to the downtown area of my city and ask a complete stranger if they would do a photoshoot with me right then and there where I met them. It became my ritual."
What do you think of these photos? Would you like to be stopped by Alex to get your pictures taken? Tells us in the comments and vote for your favorite photo!
"I dared a stranger to light off a smoke bomb and she did it! @annaleighjohnston is a true G."
"Another reason I began photographing strangers is because I enjoy the social challenge it presents. I like to put myself out of my comfort zone and approaching strangers is a very scary thing for me to do. I feel a great sense of fulfillment when I am able to overcome my fear and approach strangers."
"Just a casual roller skate Photoshoot with a stranger. Swipe for the TikTok to watch behind the scenes. Featured stranger: @kamrylorin. Thank you so much Kamry for participating in the shoot! The video is blowing up on TikTok 🤗 already. Does anyone else roller skate? It looks really hard, I haven’t tried in years."
"Yes, I met a stranger who could do this pose. This is the second time I’ve met a stranger that could do (whatever this ballet move is called). I always give the models space and comfort to bring their own personality and talents into my photos. I try to never impose strict rules or have a “do things my way” approach when I shoot my portraits. This open mindset allows me to really capture each person’s true self. Hope you enjoy these photos!"
"When I got out to approach strangers I make it a priority, first and foremost, to leave people better than I found them and to make the strangers smile. I put them first at all costs and I make the experience about them. It is my goal to leave a positive mark on someone's day."
"Recreating the three model @jon.snip laying down shot with strangers"
"Photos from my latest TikTok. This is my most viral video with over 21M views in less than a day... all because she said No! It is crazy what type of growth you can get from a video going this viral. I had 4.8M before posting it yesterday and today I’m at 5.1M. I wanted to do a celebration photoshoot for 5M but I missed the chance."
"It wasn't until November that I began to share videos of photographing strangers on TikTok. My friend Derrek Harris and I began creating the TikTok videos you see today of us approaching strangers and giving them photoshoots. I'm happy that my passion for creating content that's about giving to people and challenging myself has been so well received by millions of people and has allowed me to do what I love for a living."
"According to TikTok comments, I turned a stranger into the Lebanese flag. Here’s a fun glitter shot I took of @athenahanae. She missed her bus to take this photo with me so give her some props!"
"When you meet a stranger at Neiman Marcus, do a 5-minute photoshoot at the window and she KILLS it. This was so cool that Simonne @ssiimonne was able to display the emotion I wanted to capture for these photos. I only gave her a few words of instruction and she nailed it. Hoping this set inspires some beginner photographers to show that all you need is a camera and a bit of courage to ask a stranger to model for you. My apologies for the window cleaner at Neiman Marcus!"
"Within 3 months of joining TikTok and sharing my videos of stranger photography, I grew to 3 million followers. I was able to quit my 9 to 5 office job as an Insurance Actuary. I never predicted that I would be a full time content creator and photographer when I began it as a hobby. So much has changed in my life within the past year that it is hard to comprehend, but I wouldn't want it any other way. I am so happy right now with the success that I've had and I am looking forward to my future more than ever."
"Not gonna lie, these strangers killed it! Shoutout to @iammirawong and @annammei for doing street photography with me. Thank you to my BTS crew @derrek.harris for filming."
"Yesterday was fun! @derrek.harris and I gave a live street photography workshop to two students @aj.xiong.photos and @juiceworld_15 and they got such incredible results. What a blast! Right after the workshop Derrek and I got straight to doing some of our own street photography."
"Taking pictures of a stranger with scarfs as my prop! We approached this stranger inside Forever 21 during a street photography session. She ended up recognizing me! Thank you Julia @juliasgr for being such a good sport and letting me and @derrek.harris take tons of awesome street portraits with you!"
"Taking Pictures of Strangers in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. Hoping this street photography set will inspire some! Finding models to shoot was hard as a beginner photographer which is one reason I got into street photography. All you need is a camera and a busy street and you can create some awesome content with a complete stranger. It’s a win-win for everyone, you can really make someone’s day by giving them a compliment and a nice portrait! Thank you so much to these lovely red-haired strangers, Savannah and Mariah. I hope you guys like the shots!"
"Was on my way to Chipotle when I ran into this stranger. Had to do a quick photoshoot!"
"A Christmas gift for a stranger. I’m constantly trying to level up my street photography game. I love how this one turned out and I’m thankful for @_luldimepiece and her boyfriend for doing the street shoot with me!"
"Experimental edits with @jessica_felter. We did this photoshoot in 10 minutes! Jess and her mom were on their way to dinner when I stopped them for a quick photo shoot."
"Street photography on Rodeo Drive with @marg0tg."
"I walked up to these strangers in LA and gave them a free photoshoot. They are best friends and were visiting all the way from Maine. They had never had professional portraits taken of them and their reactions in the video are so genuine and happy. I really enjoyed this street photography photoshoot"
"So I’ve never tried this one before... Asking a stranger while in our cars to do a photo shoot. Swipe for the results! I had just gone to two banks asking if I could take photos of their essential workers. Both of them said it’s not allowed, unfortunately. As we were driving home I saw a lady parked in her car, so I did what any sane and rational human being would do I pulled up next to her and asked if we could do a photoshoot. She said yes, we took these photos and she loved them!"
"Met some cool looking strangers and I took their photo! They just moved to San Francisco."
"A portrait of a stranger."
"The best friend photoshoot! Would you ever do a photoshoot with your best friend? Street photography insight: the most challenging and rewarding part about street photography is working with whatever the available lighting is. My skills as a photographer have improved so much from doing street photography because I have to quickly understand the light sources around me and make it work. If you’re a photographer how did you get better at understanding lighting?"
"I surprised a stranger yesterday with a holiday photoshoot. Special thanks to @laurrrrar for doing this spontaneous photoshoot with me yesterday in San Francisco she did an AMAZING job. And a special thanks to @derrek.harris for filming the BTS! More street photography sets to come, they are too much fun!"
"Taking pictures of a stranger with photo booth props. Thank you to Eva for participating in this street photography photoshoot and for surprising me with that lost shot! She killed it out there!"
"I asked these strangers at Santa Monica Pier to model! Dayna, the one with pink hair, had TikTok on her phone as I walked up to her, it was too perfect!"
"Some pre-quarantine fabric fun. I hope everyone is staying safe and taking this outbreak seriously. Stay home. Better safe than sorry."
"Hair flips and candy with a stranger."
"I gave a rose to a stranger. My favorite part about street photography is completely surprising someone and hopefully brighten their day with some fire portraits. I also love that strangers never cancel the photoshoot on you. My hopes are that these videos inspire some who go through the inevitable struggle of finding models to work with. I hope to show that you don’t need a large following or anything to be able to create art with photogenic people. All you need is a camera, a bit of courage to ask a stranger, oh and most importantly a rose. Special thanks to @biglarkk and her boyfriend @mrbrougham for taking the time to street shoot with me!"
"A moody set inspired by @luizclas and @omahi_ . Big thanks to @israsd for filming the video! It’s extremely tough to record video footage of a complete stranger and I have a lot of respect for my videographers that help me create this type of content."
"From the Urban Outfitters street photography set! Thank you both Emma and Samantha! This was a really fun photo shoot because it was so spontaneous and we used the items inside Urban Outfitters as props. That store is propped central! Have you ever done a photoshoot inside a store before?"
"Photographing strangers with @marksingerman , round 2! Not gonna lie, these videos are so much fun to make! Special thanks to Makenna @makenna_kalani for participating in the shoot and for bravely resting her hair in the sand for these epic shots!"
"Special thanks to @jtown_jessie for bravely modeling in the airport despite having just landed from a long flight! You rock"
"Thank you to Andreas and Delaney for agreeing to do the spontaneous photoshoot with me! Should I do more couples photography?"