#670 When a stranger walks by and offers to take a picture of you and the person you’re with

take a pictureYou and your snugglepuss are cuddling up together.

Maybe you’re taking a romantic stroll in the park, leaning on the railing over a waterfall, or camping out at the airport before your big honeymoon flyaway.

It’s times like this when someone grabs the camera and starts taking pictures. Strike that pose, baby. Pout those lips, tilt that neck, and get into it. Then grab the camera and take pictures of your loved one, too. Big toothy smile, casually distracted straightface, whatever their move you’re just freeze-framing it forever.

Everything is rolling right along, everything’s smooth sailing, until it eventually happens.

You want a couple shot.

thanks shutter strangerSure, first you try the awkward cheek-to-cheek pose which involves squeezing your faces together and holding the camera high in front of you with an outstretched arm. And that’s not bad until you realize you’re taking four pictures to get one that includes your entire forehead and there’s no hope of getting a full-body shot. Nope, you’re not getting a cute couple photo today.


It’s a magical moment when a stranger walks by, notices your awkwardness, and chimes in with a quick “Hey, want me to take a picture of you two?” That’s when you smile warmly and say sure, before delicately placing your fragile camera in their hands. The funniest part comes next when you teach them how to use it.

“Press this button.”

You know, like every other camera.

But honestly, thanks Shutter Stranger. Thanks for stopping for a minute to capture our good side. We may never see you again, we may never pay you back, but we want to give you a big shout today for your generous gift of capturing the moment.


there is a lot of trust involved here

Photos from: here, here, and here

54 thoughts on “#670 When a stranger walks by and offers to take a picture of you and the person you’re with

  1. This just happened to me a few days ago! The hubby and I were sitting by a lake path with our new baby, taking pictures of him. Some hikers passed by and one of them walked up and offered to take a family photo. So sweet.

  2. Yeah, I like to do this for other people all the time. I think it’s ’cause I’m so appreciative when others do it for me. Random acts of kindness = always awesome!

  3. Been there, done that. Both as the couple and as the stranger. It always feel good when you get that nice out of no where stranger who is so kind to make his effort to approach you, seeing you wanted a full body picture badly. Yeah, it’s written all over your face.

  4. Well I have a slightly different take on this. When we went for our family vacation last summer, each of us took turns clicking pictures, and so someone was always left out. Finally, when we were on the beach, this total stranger asked us if we wanted him to take a shot of the whole family, and of course we said yes! He managed to fit all 18 of us into the frame, and it is one great picture!

      1. It’s slightly different because they were able to get full body shots of 17 people, but they had 18 who wanted to be in one shot.

  5. I do this all the time here in Amsterdam!

    I also sometimes take the camera, watch them pose, and then pretend to run away (never more than a step though).

    The looks on their faces! :) Too funny.

    I would never actually run though.

    1. I’ve mastered that too! But there’s nothing like a stranger being so nice to help make the picture even better :)

  6. Maybe I’m just cynical, but where I live, this means a stranger is attempting to steal your camera. Not so awesome.

      1. this actually happen to a friend of mine when he was in Rome. He asked someone to take a picture of him and his wife, next thing he knew the guy was gone and so was his camera!

        1. Pffff. And he didn’t expect that in ROME, of all places? Someone attempted to pickpocket me TWICE in the few days I was there. The city is apparently crawling with thieves.

          Um….”when in Rome”? Did he steal someone else’s camera then?

          :) (I jest.)

    1. I think I can honestly say that the thought that someone would Steal my camera in this situation has never occurred to me… until now.

      I truly hope the next time I’m in that situation, that thought won’t shoot through my mind!

      (Not to say that it’s never happened, but, Golly!!)

  7. Good post, 1000 Awesome Things! I’ve got so many pics of my family without me, because there was no one around to snap the camera. In those rare instances when someone does offer, it brings the whole fam together. Forever. And that is awesome.

  8. The other day this happened to me. We’re on a hike, and we pass someone who offers to take our picture. We hand over our camera, start smiling and getting ready for our picture, when the stranger taking our picture says: “Look romantic!”

    The problem? I was hiking with my sister!

    The stranger laughed when we told her this, so she dialed it back and said: “OK – just look a LITTLE romantic!”

  9. Awesome things that have happened recently (that I’d love for you to use… maybe):

    -Talking to my sister on facebook chat while she is five inches away.

    -Everything seems to be going wrong until…. what’s this? A Kellogg’s rice krispy treat I didn’t eat earlier for lunch? Sitting in my school bag, and waiting to comfort me with it’s sugary goodness? AWESOME!

    -My sister was playing a song on one side of the room, and I started playing it too, and we got it synchronized so it was like surround sound. Everybody was jammin’!

  10. Oh man, this IS an awesome thing. A random nice guy did that for a friend and myself when we went on vacation this past summer. It was so nice! I always offer to do it for people in return when they take photos for me. ^.^

  11. I was in Baltimore visiting family and friends and we were taking photos of ourselves outside of the restaurant where we ate. The owner came out and offered to take a picture. While he was doing that, someone else came along and offered to take one. We were thinking how cool it would be if that kept happening and we ended up with a photo of 50 people, only 10 of whom knew each other.

  12. That’s a kindness I learned from my step-mom. People are always so pleasantly surprised. But, I am always afraid I’ll take a horrible picture of them.

  13. i have taken probably hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures for strangers. Sometimes they ask me to, but most of the time i offer. It’s such a small thing, and it makes me happy every single time. i like knowing that in every country and every city i’ve ever visited, there is someone who has a picture that i took for them.

  14. I always ask strangers if I can take their picture, but for some reason they all think it’s creepy when I want to use my own camera…

  15. I’m always the person who offers to take the pictures of you cute couples…and you always tell me how to use your camera, I laugh every time!

  16. My GF and I do this all the time, but I have to admit, with an ulterior motive.

    The other side of this situation: You want your picture taken with your loved one. What do you do? Ask complete strangers if they can take your picture?

    NO. You offer to take SOMEONE ELSE’s picture. Then, THEY TAKE YOURS!


  17. in ’04 when it was safe… we passed thru a mexican city, durango, i think. our son was 11 months and befriended a little mexican girl. we made pictures and sent them to the mother. kinda the opposite!

  18. My favorite memories of doing this for someone were with an Italian couple on their honeymoon at the Grand Canyon (where I was backpacking), and with a lady on the very edge of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

  19. /=. what is with that last pic?
    lol, i remember in the chaser’s war on everything, their finale, and they tried to see if anyone would take 40 pictures of a whole group of 40 people in front of the Opera House. This one guy i think took like 39, including a tripod camera, a film, an old fashioned camera with the material you stand under, and a painting. He left saying he couldnt do anymore, he was late for a meeting! ahahahaha, it ws so funny!

  20. Ok, when I have been the picture taker, I am the dummy that asks, “How do I use this thing? Oh the biggest button right on the top just like every other camera ever created? How novel!”

    I ask the question ever time and every time I usually follow it with “oh duh.”

  21. I did it for a couple in Las Vegas.. and they ended up giving me 4 free drink tickets to a club that I was heading to.

  22. This happened to us while on our honeymoon in London. A French couple took our picture at the Italian Fountains in Kensington Garden. It was the only time my husband got to speak French. While in Paris all the Parisian we met spoke English.

  23. A little bit of good, old, (no pun intended), Rod for y’all:
    “Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”
    I’d sure love to hear the “Glub, glub”, in the last one!

  24. I love it when strangers do this:) just yesterday I was walking w my bf on our first date around the park trying to get a good shot when an elderly couple asked to take our pic for us. It’s so generous and thoughtful that most ppl dnt even take time to be thankful, so thanks a bunch cause what just did was AWESOME.

  25. I LUV when that lovely- sweet stranger comes n offers to help!! Especially when you want a picture with someone special ;)

  26. This is awesome I’ve done this for ppl but nobody has been there the few times I had someone to be with -.-

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