Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Simulated Candid

Earning The Trust Of Subjects On The Street

You spot a couple of tourists studying a map.  You think, "Hey! That would make a nice picture!"

Okay, Hot Shot, what do you do?  Do you point your 70-200 at them and start shooting?

"Why not?" you might reason.  "They're in a public place.  There's no expectation of privacy.  Even if they take me to court, I'll win."

The trouble is that if they look up and catch you in the act, their reaction will most likely be negative.  "Why is that creep taking our picture?" 

a photo of blonde female tourists reading a map in new york city
Tourists Reading a Map in NYC
I want my subjects to have fun. I want them to feel respected and valued. I want them to tell their friends all about the interesting photo shoot that just happened featuring THEM. If instead I leave them with a negative impression, that doesn't really help anyone.

Why take the chance of making someone angry when I can potentially flatter them by asking for their participation? If things go well, I can share my business card and have subjects become potential clients or referrals.  That's a lot better than having them point me out to a cop who could potentially drag my butt into court. 

When I approached these ladies, I said something like: "Hi, I saw you guys reading your map.  I think that would make a great picture.  Would you mind posing for shot?"

Some people refuse, but most are happy to help.  Once the subjects agree to participate, they'll do just about anything for you.  With access comes power.  I end up with shots that would have been impossible had I hidden in the shadows and shot them candidly.

Sometimes, the subjects offer good suggestions as to how to make the photo better.  It becomes a collaborative project, and it feels much better to all involved than being stalked by a 'creep' with a long lens. 

The simulated candid is a time-honored photographic technique.  Many iconic magazine photos were taken this way.  They look completely candid, but the photographer had acquired the consent of the subjects in advance.

Again, remember the Golden Rule.  If you want to make 'people pictures', it pays to treat people as respectfully as possible.

 Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Lens: Canon EF 70-200 f/4L IS

This is the twenty-fifth post on Light Happens!  Thank you for your continued support!

Light happens.  Be ready.  Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2013 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

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