Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shooting Strangers - Some tactical advice for capturing better photos

I find that most photography related videos I watch are either purely technical or purely inspirational. Every once in a while though, I'll come across on that's more tactical. That is, it is interested in teaching specific methods to getting better pictures. I found Adam Marelli's How to Talk to Strangers: 7 Tips For Photographing People to be just such an example.

The video is a whopping 2 hours long, but I found that I was sucked into it and it was definitely worth my time. On a whole number of occasions since watching the video a couple weeks ago, I've gone about taking pictures just a little bit differently.

You should really skip the list I've composed below and just watch the video, but if you're curious, here's 7 tips I took away from the presentation:

  1. Every once in a while you'll be able to capture the perfect subject with the perfect composition; it's rare though so have strategies in place to improve your odds.
  2. There's such a thing as an incomplete photograph; that is a photo that's missing the right composition, subject or camera settings. Study your photographs to see why they are complete (oooh, this would have been perfect if a guy was standing right here!) to see how you can improve. Intentionally shoot incomplete photographs for practice.
  3. Take a trip to the art museum, there's plenty of terrific examples of composition and technique to be found hanging right in front of you. Learn from the masters.
  4. In a cold slump photo wise? Leave your camera at home, and you'll see tons of photo opportunities.
  5. Scout out compositions, setup and wait for your subject to walk into the shot. This makes it easier to shoot strangers (they walked in on your shot) and you'll have most of the elements of a good photograph ready to be filled in with a subject
  6. If you ask to take a picture of someone and they stand with their shoulders square to you, take a few photos and then walk to either side, they'll be forced to turn slightly making for a nicer shot.
  7. Smile. If you're having trouble taking pictures of people, then you probably have a people problem, not a photography problem.

Absolutely worth your time.

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