Monday, June 11, 2007

Talking Candid Pictures

Here's a how-to on taking good candid pictures.

First: Use a camera that immediately responds to the press of the shutter release. The inexpensive point-and-shoot digitals usually have a delay that works against taking good candid pictures. The better digital SLRs (single lens reflex) cameras with interchangeable lenses work best. If you can't afford them, test the point-and-shoot's trigger delay before you buy.

Second: Keep your camera near your shooting eye. Keep shooting after the initial picture. Usually the first picture is posed and stiff. If you keep shooting, people will return to their discussion and ignore you altogether.

Third: Talk to them as you hold the camera up. Ask them questions about what's in front of them. This will help them relax and focus on the things they enjoy.

Here's a few pictures I've taken at several parties. The table discussion was happening as I walked up to the table. I walked up with my eye behind the camera and started shooting. Since they were in mid-conversation they continued on while I kept shooting.

The little boy covering his eyes was the second shot. The first shot was too bright and on reflex he covered his eyes. I still had the camera up to my eye and and quickly squeezed off another picture.

The third shot of little Erin doing the cutesy thing with her cheeks happened because I was talking with her as I walked up. I put the camera up to my eye and said: "What is it you want to eat first?" And rather randomly she posed for me. I wasn't expecting it. Sometimes you just have to be ready for anything.

A camera is just a mirror with a memory.