1 amazing way to boost your confidence

You might have noticed that saying hello to a stranger who you want to photograph can be daunting! I know when I first started doing it I made lots of excuses to myself to get out of it, ‘they look too busy’, ‘the light’s no good’, ‘it’s not my thing’, and more. Really I was worrying that the stranger might think I’m weird, about having nothing to say, and about whether the photo would be  good enough. Doing NOWportrait takes some courage!

Last week NOWportrait was invited to the Leeds Waterfront Festival to run a workshop. Jordan was one of the people who came along, and at first he was really nervous to approach a stranger, but he was determined to give it a go. It took him a while to pluck up the courage and when he did, the first people he met were Rubel and his wife…

At the end of the day, Jordan said “I had a fantastic time at the event, even though it was scary walking up to random strangers, it was such a confidence boost!”


Rubel Roy – NOWportrait by Jordan Lowry
Rubel was actually the first person I spoke to, when I finally gathered up enough nerve to actually approach someone. Turns out he was a really friendly guy who I somehow kept bumping into. Originally from Bangladesh, Rubel recently moved to Leeds with his lovely wife who he married in January.

The whole weekend of the festival was fantastic and full of pirates, mermaids, artists, stalls, music, steampunk, boat races and excited visitors. Check out the NOWportrait Facebook group to see who everyone met.

And, if you’d like to join in, please do! Say hello to someone you’ve never met before, have a chat and find out their story, take a portrait and share your NOWportrait with us in the Facebook group and on Twitter or Instagram #NOWportrait.



How to live life to the full: NOWportrait

On Saturday NOWportrait visited the Leeds Waterfront Festival to inspire people to be out meeting strangers around the waterfront. It was such a fantastic day and NOWportrait photographers are posting their photos as I type! Pop over to the NOWportrait Facebook group to see who everyone met…

I want to introduce you to Robert. I met him when I arrived at Leeds Station – I saw his bike and and thought ‘Le Grand Depart!’. Robert was on his way out for a day trip but had ten minutes before he caught his train. We had a great chat and Robert told me his amazing story  and how he was alive despite all odds. He is now someone having adventures and creating exciting goals for himself, and completely living life to the full, every single day. What a way to live life!

I was so happy to have met Robert and felt inspired for the rest of the day. Meeting him reminded me that stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk creates all sorts of possibilities in your life and he reminded me of why NOWportrait exists! Saying hello to someone new and taking 10 minutes for a chat is inspirational. Give it a try!


Robert – NOWportrait by Lucy Williams
I saw Robert at Leeds Station and asked if I could take a portrait of him and his bike because in a few days time Leeds is hosting Le Grand Depart for the Tour de France and I liked the bike link. Robert had the most amazing story. Three years ago he had a terrible accident which left him in a coma and fighting for life. He used to be a champion cyclist and rode all over the world and his surgeons said he’d never be able to do that again. But, he was determined! Despite all odds he’s back on his bike and living each day like it’s his last. I asked what was on his list of things to achieve. He told me ‘well, I’ve never been married!!!’ He’s also planning to cycle all the way around Australia next year. He’s the first person I’ve met today in Leeds and I’m so pleased to have met him. What an inspiration!

If you live in London and would love to come along to a meet up – you’re in luck. On July 6th we have our 3rd NOWportrait meet up and we’ll be starting from Lancaster Gate. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and to share the strangers you meet! Check out the event page to register and join in.

And join the conversation in the Facebook group, and on Twitter or Instagram #NOWportrait.

If you’d like to organise your own NOWportrait meet up where you live, drop us a line and we’ll support you to do that wherever you are.

If you like this post you might also like to see NOWportrait London meet up 2: Chinatown/ Soho 


NOWportrait & the people of Chinatown & Soho

Last Sunday we held our second NOWportrait London meet up. It was wonderful to meet new people – those who’d come along to take part in NOWportrait, and all of the people we met as we walked through the streets of Chinatown and Soho. And there were challenges! It can be very nerve wracking to approach a stranger and begin a chat and one of the most fantastic things about the meet ups is being with like-minded people who are enthusiastic and supportive and doing the same thing.


Sophy – NOWportrait by Lucy Williams
Sophy picks up the newspapers for her dad on the weekends, she was in a hurry because she was rushing to pick up her son from Chinese school. I asking her for her photo because she looked so bright and cheerful in her shades. To be honest, I could see she was in a rush and I thought she’d say no. I’m really glad she didn’t.

Come and meet the strangers we met as they get posted in the Facebook group and join in the conversation with the NOWportrait community. And when you’re out and about this week take a risk and say hello to someone new! Share who YOU meet in the Facebook group, and on Twitter or Instagram #NOWportrait.

And if you’d like to organise your own NOWportrait meet up where you live, drop us a line and we’ll support you to do that wherever you are.

If you like this post you might also like to see NOWportrait London meet up 1: Leather Lane/ Whitecross Street



Things to do in London this weekend

Are you looking for something fun, challenging and creative to do in London this weekend? Then look no further! Come and join us on our second ever London meet up when we’ll be doing a NOWportrait photo walk around Soho and Chinatown on Sunday June 8th. It’ll be an amazing opportunity to come together and support each other, and we’re sure to meet lots of interesting strangers to photograph en route too.

In fact the whole weekend looks like being a lot of fun in London with the Gumball Rally pulling in to Regent’s Street on Sunday (catch some celebrity NOWportraits!), Field Day over in Victoria Park, East London for festival-goer NOWportraits, Soho Food Feast for foodie NOWportraits and perhaps some Penny Farthing cyclist NOWportraits at Jupiter London Nocture? It looks like summer has officially started and we can’t wait to see who you meet!

Meet Anna, Vicolo, Frank and Clive, all living or working in London…


Anna – NOWportrait by Fiona Yaron-Field
Anna has just arrived from Russia to London this week. she has come to do an MA in Business. She comes to the cafe opposite her home to eat as she doesn’t want to eat alone in her flat. We all, the staff and customers, got chatting in the cafe, it was so nice to meet everyone!


Vicolo – NOWportrait by Kate Boswell
It was his tribal look, the smooth way in which he walked and his height that first draw me to him. After a chat I found out he had been up all night doing an event for a band. He had just bought some cheese from the market and was on his way home to relax for the day.


Frank – NOWportrait by Lucy Williams
I’d been up early to watch the sunrise over London and I’d asked two strangers if I could take their photos. They both said no so I was really pleased when Frank said yes! Frank is working on a new office build at Kings Cross and he’d just popped to the hardware store in Camden to pick something up. He lives on the south coast by the sea, which he loves, and commutes into London every day to work. It takes an hour and 45mins but he thinks it’s worth it to live somewhere lovely. He told me that the new areas in Kings Cross are billed to be ‘the Manhattan of London’ when it’s all finished.


Clive – NOWportrait by Richfoto
I met this gentleman Clive earlier, who was running his market stall right by Shoreditch Overground. He was selling watches, musical instruments & the camera he was holding. – ME: “How long have you been on the market Clive…?” CLIVE: “Too long….”

For our meet up on Sunday we’ll be meeting outside The Curzon Cinema on Shaftesbury Ave in Soho at 11am – join in on the NOWportrait Soho event page to follow updates and to let us know you’re coming. You’ll just need to bring:

1. a sense of adventure
2. camera / camera phone
3. notebook/ smartphone: to keep a note of your stranger’s story & contact details
4. appropriate comfortable shoes/raincoat for being outdoors and walking a comfortable mile or so.

And if you’re out and about somewhere else in London or the world, why not join in NOWportrait too?  Remember to share the people you meet with the NOWportrait community by posting their portraits in the Facebook group, and on Twitter or Instagram #NOWportrait.

See you on Sunday!

If you’d like to organise your own NOWportrait meet up where you live, drop us a line and we’ll support you to do that wherever you are:  

And if you liked this post, you might also like to take a look at our blog post about our first NOWportrait meet up on London’s Leather Lane NOWportrait Meet Up 1: Leather Lane, London



Facebook! Where everybody knows your name…

NOWportrait might seem like it’s about portrait photography, which of course, it is, BUT far more than that, it is about people and stories and connections.

I grew up in a village where everyone knew everybody (which had it’s downsides – my mum ALWAYS knew what I was up to). There were always smiles and hellos in the street, chats in the local shop, a friendly wave and a nod of the head, stories shared with people of all ages over a pint in the pub. There were also connections with strangers who you would inevitably find out knew someone that you knew. There was always a human bond. I see people forging those bonds online nowadays, which is an amazing way to connect with strangers all over the world and to share experiences, projects, hopes, dreams etc. But those in our non-online communities often remain strangers. Until we say reach out and say hello.

Below Fiona Yaron-Field, Kathryn Edwards, Jo Donaldson and Lisa Devlin met strangers very close to home. Though not strangers any more…


Madaleine – NOWportrait by Fiona Yaron-Field
I walked out my house looking for a stranger, directly opposite me was a young woman sitting on the steps. I asked her if she’s be photographed and all about the project. She said it sounded great and she would love to. Her sister worked in art events within the mental health. Madeleine was locked out of her house. Turns out she has lived opposite me for four years and we have never before seen each other. I’ve met a stranger and a neighbour.


Greer – NOWportrait by Kathryn Edwards
This is Greer. She lives at the end of my road. We’ve never met. She has lived in her house for 7 years. Greer is a Celtic name, although she was born and bred in Nottingham. She was cleaning her doorstep. She is moving to North Wales. They have decided to rent a house in the countryside and get away from the corporate world. Sounds good to me.


Callum – NOWportrait by Jo Donaldson
I was too ill to get out and about for #NOWportrait but luckily my flatmate had these two over to watch the rugby. Strangers to me at first, so it counts, lovely to meet them too, turns out Callum’s wife Jen is a florist in the wedding industry – Wildflower Florist. Mini networking and photoshoot from the comfort of my couch!

NOW-portrait-by-Lisa Devlin

Billie – NOWportrait by Lisa Devlin
Meet Billie. I thought she was a stranger but it turns out that she lives on my road so now we are friends. What Billie likes most in this world is cake so there are two things we have in common…

This weekend is World Neighbours’ Day (dates vary around the world) and the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone, take part in NOWportrait and to have a chat and take a portrait of the strangers in your local community. The aim of  Neighbours’ Day is to:

  • Strengthen communities and build better relationships with the people who live around us
  • Create safer, healthier and more vibrant living surroundings
  • Promote tolerance, respect and understanding

Your neighbours are a great way to start and who knows where that connection will lead…

Come along and meet the NOWportrait online community in real life – our next meet up is on Sunday June 8th in Soho and we’d love to see you there. Follow us on our Facebook page to find out how you can get involved.

Share your experiences and the people you meet with the NOWportrait community – POST your NOWportraits in the Facebook group, TWEET them on Twitter or SHARE them on Instagram #NOWportrait. Lastly, leave a comment below and tell us your story of  meeting a stranger who has now become a friend.


When NOWportrait met up on Leather Lane

Our first ever NOWportrait meet up began on Leather Lane (and ended up in Whitecross Street Market) and this is who we met…


Hannah – NOWportrait by Katy Thomson
Meet Hannah. She was stood outside her office having a break and I loved everything about her look; her hair, her top, glasses and phone cover. She was a little hesitant when I first asked if she’d mind if I took her photo… “this isn’t going to end up in the inside of a phonebox is it?” After I had told her about NOWPortrait she relaxed and was happy for me to take her photo. 




Don, Kirin & Melody – NOWportrait by Katy Thomson
Meet Don & two of his kids Kirin & Melody. Don was coming down the road on his scooter with Melody dribbling her basketball beside him. I loved his carefree attitude and he was really happy for me to take his photo. He called his young son to come and join them for a photo, he had scooted off down the road so we had to go and find him. Kirin was born 3 months prematurely but was a cheeky little chap who was full of life. Both children were gorgeous and a real credit to Don, he was clearly a very proud dad.



Sina – NOWportrait by Katharine Peachey
This is Sina who works on a food stall in London’s Leather Lane. He is Persian but cooks a mean Paella. 




Ann – NOWportrait by Katy Thomson
I met Annelot on the NOWPortrait meet up day. She was the 2nd person I met and photographed. I loved the wall she was standing against and thought with her gorgeous hair and great jacket that it would make a great photo, so I approached her and asked if she would mind me taking a photo of her. She was a little surprised that I asked but was more than happy to have her photo taken. Annelot is from the Netherlands and was waiting to meet a friend for a coffee and a catchup. Her friend turned up as we were finishing so it was perfect timing. I think the words behind her are perfect for the fact she was off for a coffee with a friend.


Costas – NOWportrait by Lucy Williams
Costas said hello with a great big smile as I walked past and I immediately wanted to take his photo. He used to work in the hospitality industry in Greece and came to London when the recession hit. He now works at The Modern Pantry in St John’s Square and loves it. He said ‘I like to chat to people and on a sunny day there’s always time to talk’ then with a grin ‘I can’t promise sun for tomorrow Miss Lucy’ 





Ann – NOWportrait by Katharine Peachey
This is Ann. She was works at the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell, London, and was having some lunch just around the corner when I stopped to ask if I could take her portrait. We chatted for a while and she told me of how she had studied painting & lithography at art school. She had only dabbled in photography once when she borrowed a camera from her college department, went to the British Museum to take some shots and was promptly arrested under suspicion for being a member of the IRA. Needless to say that put her off. Interesting to think it isn’t just in recent times that photography is seen as subversive or threatening. Ann was enchanting and a pleasure to chat to. The colours of this photo nicely represent her colourful character. 



“I could NEVER do that!”

“Photographing strangers is my fear!”

“I’ve always wanted to do it but I’m too scared!”

Are you thinking ‘ME TOO’ ?

Come and share the NOWportrait experience! It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and photograph strangers in a different part of town, to give and get support, and to be part of a growing community of people taking creative risks and making connections with new people.

“I’m glad I plucked up the courage to take part in NOWportrait. It is so rewarding and inspiring – look at all the cool people out there! Everyone should get out there this summer and say hello to someone!” – Victoria Mbewe 

Our next meet up is on Sunday June 8th in Soho and we’d love to see you there. Follow us on our Facebook page to stay updated.

And if you’re out and about this week having chats with strangers remember to share the people you meet with the NOWportrait community by posting their portraits in the Facebook group, and on Twitter or Instagram #NOWportrait.


NOWportrait, 5 strangers and a dog named Sparky

This week we’re embracing twosomes inspired by Ilaria, Natalie and Cally who met not one but two strangers for their NOWportraits (and we’re counting Sparky as a bonafido stranger because, well, just look his little face!)


Roshid & Sparky – NOWportrait by Ilaria Petrucci
Yesterday I met Roshid…and Sparky. I started talking to Roshid as I saw little Sparky literally leaping towards a motorbike that was driving past them and almost taking Roshid with him! We started the conversation with my observation at how ambitious his dog was and from there we chatted for a few minutes and they both kindly posed (thank you Sparky!) for a portrait. Roshid is an engineer and yesterday he finished work earlier and took his dog for a walk in the lovely weather and I was very lucky to meet them both. While talking I found out his jobs involves a bit of travelling, including Sicily, in Italy, where my mum is also from!


Sarah and Fraser – NOWportrait by Natalie Russell
I met Sarah and Fraser last night at an FDT event. They are part of Creative in Callander, which is a non profit community based co-operative craft and retail outlet.


Michele & Georgina – NOWportrait by Cally Sheard
I couldn’t help but ask Michele and Georgina for a photograph as they passed me in the street today with their faces painted white. Curiosity got the better of me! It turned out they were working on photography project for school to demonstrate their dark side which is why they had painted their faces so ghoulishly. They were just on their way back from grabbing lunch at Mcdonalds and were delighted to become part of NOWPortrait!

NOWportrait tips for pairs:

  • say hello (often the hardest part!)
  • have a friendly chat, what was it about them as a couple of people that inspired you to take their portrait? Let them know!
  • find out more about their story and discover how they are connected to each other (or perhaps they’re not connected at all – check out Touching Strangers for Richard Renaldi’s portraits of people who’ve never met before #TouchingStrangers)
  • be bold and ask them to move if you need (sometimes distances seem further apart through your lens and you might need them to be closer together for your photo)

If you’re looking for places to find strangers then today the roof garden at John Lewis is open and is sure to be full of people enjoying the sunshine #OxfordStreetRoofGardenEvent. On Tuesday Chelsea Flower Show begins, perfect for a flower inspired NOWportrait . And for Douglas Adams fans, you’ll know that next Sunday is Towel Day Keep your eyes peeled for strangers with towels! #towelday

Share your NOWportrait photographs, stories & experiences with the hashtag #NOWportrait on FacebookInstagram or Twitter