What's Your Technique...

PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup IllustratorRegistered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
edited August 30, 2004 in Street and Documentary
Ok, I'm really nervous about taking pictures of people. I almost feel like I'm intruding on their personal space or privacy (even if they are in a public place). So I'm curious what techniques you use to take pics of people. Especially street photography. Do you take them from a distance with a zoom lens or do you approach them, chat a little and then take them from nearby? Also, is there anything you recommend I do, or for that matter, not do?

The few pics I've taken in the past involved me holding the camera real low and clicking randomly. Sometimes even behind my back randomly. At I would even act like I was trying to fix my camera when I was actually taking pics. Anything to keep them from posing or acting weird when they see the camera.

Just curious here...thanks for any help.
Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

Comments

  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2004
    Ok, I'm really nervous about taking pictures of people. I almost feel like I'm intruding on their personal space or privacy (even if they are in a public place). So I'm curious what techniques you use to take pics of people. Especially street photography. Do you take them from a distance with a zoom lens or do you approach them, chat a little and then take them from nearby? Also, is there anything you recommend I do, or for that matter, not do?

    The few pics I've taken in the past involved me holding the camera real low and clicking randomly. Sometimes even behind my back randomly. At I would even act like I was trying to fix my camera when I was actually taking pics. Anything to keep them from posing or acting weird when they see the camera.

    Just curious here...thanks for any help.
    I think your post is very funny, that is why I left it all here. It is amazing the tricks we can have. The public does not know what we can see through a lens. I can pretend to be shooting a bird, and really be shooting them. My problem is that those shots are not usually as good as the shots they know about. Sometimes they are even blurred, as I am nervous about what I am doing.

    My trick is to want a photo so bad that I will do anything to get it. Then I either walk up and take it, I did that with my last entry to the Challenge, I just walked up to two women who were eating. Then I walked away. It was surreal. In situations like that, I often say, I am sorry I just had to do that.

    Or I ask................but only people who don't scare me too much. Usually people who are not "my neighbors" type of people. I mean, to put it badly, I can only make myself ask, if they are people I feel superior to. Usually.

    This Saturday I did ask some people who were sitting on a bench, people like me, not people I felt superior to, but I don't think you will ever see the photos as they are kind of dull. Other people I have asked have turned out quite well, but I have found no reason to use the photo, except that I owe them a copy and need to do that.

    I am new at this stuff, too. I have only shot family and friends before.
    I can ask now, if I really want a shot. I could probably kill, if I had to, if I really wanted the shot, etc.

    But I can't ask for a signed release. That is positively beyond me. I would love to have a couple of sentences that I could use to ask for the release.
    The very thought of asking someone for a release when I can't tell them what I am going to use the photo for, it terrifies me. If I had one, I would probably submit a lot of my photos for stock, or something like that.

    I would probably put it on a card. I am effectively deaf, though I forget it a lot, so casual conversation is not good for me. Photography cards, I have those, seem to impress people. They do want to know what you are going to do with the shots, and I hate to say the internet, as my thoughts are that the internet and photos can be frightening to many people. So I stammer.....

    I am going to print our cards about my lack of ability to hear.

    And, if someone would give me a couple of sentences, regarding the "release form", I would put it on a card, too.

    Sorry, not much help. I have done everything you mention, and I enjoyed reading your post.

    ginger (My current entry to the challenge: I told those girls I wasn't going to take their picture, then I did just that. I mean, the devil got to me, or something. I had to have that photo. I did kind of give them a chance to not be photographed, two guys with them ran out of the room. The girls did have that opportunity, but that would have been just about their only option.) Unfortunately, that kind of thing is not conducive to getting a signed release.
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • PerezDesignGroupPerezDesignGroup Illustrator Registered Users Posts: 395 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2004
    Thanks for the post, Ginger. I'm currently reading this article on overcoming my shyness. Looks good so far but the guy seems a little upset ;)

    http://www.pinkheadedbug.com/techniques/shynessone.html
    Canon Digital Rebel | Canon EOS 35mm | Yashica Electro GSN | Fed5B | Holga 35 MF

  • dkappdkapp Custon Title :) Registered Users Posts: 985 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2004
    Thanks for the post, Ginger. I'm currently reading this article on overcoming my shyness. Looks good so far but the guy seems a little upset ;)

    http://www.pinkheadedbug.com/techniques/shynessone.html

    I have a few techniques I use to get my people shots. I'm heading to bed now, but I'll try to put something together and send it to you this week. But long story short, my longest lens is 75mm & I mostly use my 17-35mm lens so I have to get close & personal. The more intimate of a relationship with your subject, the better the shot. Just use your charm :)

    Dave
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited August 30, 2004
    street photography
    i'd say that 75% of my shots are "in the moment and in the scene" where i'm shooting wide and i'm part of the scene. most of these, the folks don't even know i'm shooting. i'm part of the action, and i'm in and out and gone, having captured the moment (hopefully the "decisive" one!) and moved on.

    i don't shoot tele for street work, really. certainly less than 5% of the time.

    for street portraits, i will ask "may i take your photograph?" rarely am i turned down. i sometimes say "you look great, can i take your picture?" they love that.

    i carry model releases and will ask about 1/3 of my subjects to sign. they rarely will turn me down, i offer them a free print (giving my business card).

    here's a great link by petteri that i highly recommend.

    this is a good thread, and i'll contribute more when i'm back from street shooting in london today :Dwave.gif
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