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Shooting people who don not want to be shot. Aargh.

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  • Shooting people who don not want to be shot. Aargh.

    I am a designer who also does some illustration (rarely) as well as photography (often). The cool thing about illustrating is, it's just me and the canvas. Photography however, often includes other people. People who sometimes do not want to have their picture taken...

    I am often asked to take photos at weddings, birthday parties and other social events. I often do it. And then regret it after. Nonetheless, I prefer candid shots of people enjoying the atmosphere and event and just having fun as opposed to structured, posed pictures. Unfortunately, whenever some people see that I'm about to take a picture, they stop what they were doing and cover their faces, which just spoils the entire shot! How can I hand over a load of pictures with people covering their faces?

    So my question is, how do I take candid pictures of people enjoying themselves without them covering their faces? And how can take pics of them showing their real smiles, instead of the fake smile-for-the-camera smiles?

  • #2
    Um....some people have a good manner behind a camera and some people don't. If you don't have it, then you need to learn it. People need to be naturally comfortable around you to allow you to photograph them. Fake smiles means they aren't having a good time.

    Go through your own photos and pick which ones you like. Then work out what kind of provocation (if any) is needed to get that shot.

    One of my favourites is when I have all my friends happy, mouths open or smiling with their arms in the air. To get this shot I just call out "Wave your arms like just don't care!!!". It's a winner. Even when people were a moment ago just sitting around talking, they will suddenly put on "party mode" for the camera.

    If they are genuinely happy, then they will smile. There are many tricks that photographers employ to get people to feel at ease. Wedding photographers - man, that's a tough one because I believe it is more a social job than anything. My wedding photographer had special tricks and jokes to get "that" kind of smile. You need to be very good at reading people and know when you can ask them to pose or when candid is better.

    Example, a rude joke will give a horrible photo face. A pure happy joke will give you a great photo face.
    It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


    • #3
      Some people just don't like having their picture taken. Considering where it can end up and the kind of photo recognition software out there, can you blame them?

      <I am not paranoid. Just cuz I think They are following me doesn't mean They're not.>


      • Designia
        Designia commented
        Editing a comment
        They are.

    • #4
      I opt for my bigger zoom tucked in a corner and just observing from a far. Modern auto focus is spectacular in that you don't have to be looking through the viewfinder. Unknown to that drunk electric slider the camera is pointed at you and I am not looking through the camera lens.


      • #5
        ^ That's how I get some shots too.

        I have people at work who will not let me photograph them. Or the posers who you can always count on to stick out a tongue or something (guilty).

        However, they love to get the camera away from me and aim it in my direction.

        At home, I love my flip out lens. I pull it out at an angle, and aim the camera in another direction. Most of the time people don't even notice.
        "It's not that I don't want to trust people. It's that they give me reasons not to." ~ Me


        • #6
          It's a skill to get a group of strangers to relax enough for a genuine shot. Sure, as mentioned-- a good telephoto and a stable lens system will do wonders for the candid, backstory stuff (I remember that someone used to sell for film SLR's, a front surface mirror 'around the corner' adapter for the end of your lens to take shots at 90 degrees to the camera plane)--but for the 'money' shots, the ones where in fact you do require at least some level of setup and 'posing'--that requires a certain amount (usually a LOT) of experience to be able to read a group or person accurately and quickly enough and maintain a relaxed natural mood.


          • #7
            It doesn't hurt to make them a bit comfortable with you. Introductions, the handshakes, the whole party and gathering thing.


            • #8
              I was at a wedding recently, the photographer was fantastic. I think what made him so good was the fact that he seemed to be there as a guest as much as a photographer. He wasn't always looking for snaps, he spent a fair amount of the day just chatting to people and getting to know them. At the time I didn't think about it, but this was most likely part of his process to help make people feel a little bit more comfortable when he started pointing his lens about.

              In my, admittedly limited, experience in photographing at events. I found people photograph best when they're engaged with something else and don't realise there's a photo being taken.

              In the event someone does cover their face / look away or something, just move on. Don't make a deal. Come back and snap'em later.

              Like I said, limited experience, but I hope I've been of some help


              • #9
                My attitude on this hasn't changed in the 4 years since the originaI OP posted this.
                I still think it is bad manners for a photographer to "come back and snap them later" if they have explicitly said they do not want to have their picture taken. You aren't keeping score. It isn't about some personal quest to bag them all.
                If someone says no thanks, just don't. Simple.
                I've actually intervened for other people at parties that didn't want a photo taken where the photographer was being insistently rude. Them having to watch over their shoulder for the constantly hovering photographer made the party unenjoyable for them.
                As a photographer, have some respect, get over it and move on.
                The same goes for people and their ubiquitous smart phones.
                Last edited by PrintDriver; 11-25-2014, 12:45 PM.


                • #10
                  My company (a health club management company) just hired a "Social Media Professional" who decided it would be a good idea to start taking photos during a yoga class. With out asking anyone.

                  I don't know where she got the idea that no one would protest being photographed during exercise, let alone doing yoga in a heated studio.
                  Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.


                  • kemingMatters
                    kemingMatters commented
                    Editing a comment
                    next she'll be snap happy in the sauna and then the showers lol

                  • Designia
                    Designia commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'd quit the health club. Seriously.

                  • seamas
                    seamas commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Don't quit.
                    Get free stuff.
                    Seriously if you belong to a club and some (young dumb) staff member does something dumb (like this), quitting either just leaves you without a club or makes you join another.
                    Letting the Member rep or GM know what happened.
                    If it was something like this --you will probably be getting free stuff (massage, lesson, personal training session, etc).
                    The offending person is definitely going to be dealt with in any reputable place. In this case she was probably too enthusiastic. I think also that there is a generational aspect--certain segment of young people have absolutely zero clue as to who, what, why, or when things should be shared on social media--as individuals--and far less as a company.

                    Keming--I have asked guys not to use phones in the locker room (as is posted, but referred to as camera phones). They have no idea they are doing it, and don't realize that an operating phone is an operating camera.

                • #11
                  Walk around in public holding a camera at your chest, pretending you're looking for a good place to shoot (but secretly holding down the button).

                  Or go to people-watching distance and use a zoom lens.

                  That's how professionals seem to do it.
                  "You have no friends, you have no enemies, you only have teachers."






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