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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Photographing in public (assistance)
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05/30/2011 10:23:25 AM · #1
So how do most of you do it? You just roll up to a public place, hop out of the car with your gear, and start walking and shooting? Do you prefer more populated or less populated? I was going to try and get out today to do some street photography. Yesterday I went to a downtown park area and decided against it because there weren't that many people; I thought I'd stick out like a sore thumb...

What's your favorite tactics?
05/30/2011 11:16:13 AM · #2
I basically stopped taking photos in public. These days most people freaking out, and I hate to run someone that I might start a fistfight... I have a very light fuse. Even though I love taking photos, if I want to take pictures with people around, I try NOT to aim to anyone, or group. Some people photographers are very comfortable, and if someone says something, they just apologize and move on... not me. I always think I am offending someone front of my lens, unless if that person is front my camera for his or her photo.

I believe most populated ares would be better for a photographer to take pictures. I don't know, it's my take. It used to be fun, but now it's pain because of sick people and terrorism etc. Population is not helping either :-\

Message edited by author 2011-05-30 11:22:08.
05/30/2011 11:19:49 AM · #3
I usually shoot street photography in an area that is heavy with tourists anyway, so people are used to cameras everywhere. The regulars that work there are used to being photographed and nobody else finds it unusual. For my current HCB entry, I set myself up with my G11 instead of the DSLR, planted myself a few yards away under a tree and waited for something to happen. Using the swivel screen, it was not evident if I was taking pictures since I was not looking their way.

Sometimes I ask if I can take some photos. I explain I am an amateur photographer and just looking for some interesting faces. People are usually flattered and upon inquiry, they will tell me all about themselves and what they are doing. I get some some interesting stories and information to go with the photos. While they are telling me about what they are doing, I snap away. However, those lose the totally candid nature and I consider them to be more "Street portraiture" than pure street photography.
05/30/2011 11:22:39 AM · #4
I rarely do street photography because of the reasons already mentioned. People have gotten so paranoid. If I am shooting the public, it's in a place where it's kind of expected (amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, or very large cities), because those people really aren't sure whether you're shooting them or something next to them they kind of ignore it. I would never walk around a small town with a big camera and shoot people, they just might shoot back.
05/30/2011 11:24:22 AM · #5
It might depend on the culture of the area you're in. I'm not an experienced street photographer by any means. The Henri Cartier-Bresson challenge was my first time shooting in "public-public" (I'm Air Force and take photos of Airmen all the time). It was nerve racking at first, but when I found my shot I told the people the photos were for a challenge. When I showed them the photos on the back of the camera, they were pretty excited, so I got their e-mails and sent them the photos when I was done processing them.
05/30/2011 11:43:44 AM · #6
Originally posted by nGallahan:

When I showed them the photos on the back of the camera, they were pretty excited, so I got their e-mails and sent them the photos when I was done processing them.

I frequently do that, especially if I have taken a photo of a child. I have some cards made with my contact info and my Flickr and DPC URL's. I tell them if they are unhappy about it I will delete the photos, or if they are ok with it, they can contact me and I will e-mail them the cute photos I got. I have never had anyone ask me to delete the photos, and only seldom (perhaps 10% of the time) do they contact me in order to get the photos. I think being upfront about who I am tends to put people at ease about it.

I did have one ocassion a couple of years ago, when I was shooting photos of some people on jet skis half way across a public lake, a woman started screaming at me for taking pictures of her underage son. When the jet skiers came in, he was about 16-17 and the other person was his grandfather, who did not understand what his daughter was so worked up about. As if it was possible to identify anyone backlit by the sun halfway across the lake. I gave them my card and my speech and never heard back from them.
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05/30/2011 01:23:34 PM · #7
I don't do it much anymore here. Loved shooting people in Europe, where no one really seems to mind much and the cops don't hassle you every 15 feet. I often just shoot. I've stood in the middle of a busy pedestrian district with the camera raised to my eye and garnered nary a glance in my direction, with the exception of dogs and children - they always see you. I really miss that.

Just get out there. If the cops tell you "no pictures", lower the camera and walk away. Start shooting again when out of their sight and wait for the next one to stop you. It really is very annoying, but it is what it is in many places in the US. Let freedom ring! :-)

I provided copies of the stuff I shot for HCB to my subjects, whom I ended up chatting with. They were happy with them. I'm good with that!
05/30/2011 08:08:18 PM · #8
i just take my camera out and shoot. sometimes i shoot wide, sometimes i shoot long. i might snipe shots here and there, and i might shoot from the hip some, but i'm never hiding the fact that i'm shooting. i usually don't get any grief for it. i just take shots of people and situations i find interesting.

this past weekend i went to a nascar race as a fan and took my camera just for fun. you can see lots of people shots.
05/30/2011 08:23:49 PM · #9
Originally posted by Skip:

i just take my camera out and shoot. sometimes i shoot wide, sometimes i shoot long. i might snipe shots here and there, and i might shoot from the hip some, but i'm never hiding the fact that i'm shooting. i usually don't get any grief for it. i just take shots of people and situations i find interesting.

this past weekend i went to a nascar race as a fan and took my camera just for fun. you can see lots of people shots.


Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_891176.jpg

Yup. Everyone sees the turret coming.
05/30/2011 08:28:45 PM · #10
I'm in a tourist town, so people are used to cameras. I still get the evil eye occasionally. So I then move my camera slightly to the right (or left) and shoot again. Like I'm capturing something else that's right beside them or behind them. It seems to break the evil eye if they think they weren't the subject after all.
05/30/2011 11:19:58 PM · #11
Originally posted by Skip:

i just take my camera out and shoot. sometimes i shoot wide, sometimes i shoot long. i might snipe shots here and there, and i might shoot from the hip some, but i'm never hiding the fact that i'm shooting. i usually don't get any grief for it. i just take shots of people and situations i find interesting.

this past weekend i went to a nascar race as a fan and took my camera just for fun. you can see lots of people shots.


You got some amazing shots!!!! I want to go people shooting with you!
05/30/2011 11:24:42 PM · #12
31.gif Skip... Registered User?

why?
05/30/2011 11:52:50 PM · #13
Originally posted by FocusPoint:

31.gif Skip... Registered User?

why?


He got busy being a pro. Doesn't participate a lot in DPC anymore, but drops by the forums every couple months with really useful and enlightening information :-)

R.
05/31/2011 12:06:23 AM · #14
I do a fair amount of street photography. I prefer the clandestine approach. You get more natural slices of life that way. Or you can strike up conversations with people then ask for a photo. It's nice but too posed. Lately I've been hooking up with several Meet Up photo groups here in Seattle. At a shoot today one of the members put on a baseball cap with a local TV station's logo on it. He said that once seen everyone wants their photos taken, hoping to be on tv.
05/31/2011 12:08:20 AM · #15
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by FocusPoint:

31.gif Skip... Registered User?

why?


He got busy being a pro. Doesn't participate a lot in DPC anymore, but drops by the forums every couple months with really useful and enlightening information :-)

R.


You know... it's got to be the level of "will power". My willing to start and run studio business keep failing. I might try to power-up the "Will Voltage" a little more :-\
05/31/2011 12:22:41 AM · #16
AWESOME collection, Skip - thanks for the link! Do stop by and leave links like that more often, would you? So delightful to see the world through your eyes!
05/31/2011 05:25:56 AM · #17
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by FocusPoint:

31.gif Skip... Registered User?

why?


He got busy being a pro. Doesn't participate a lot in DPC anymore, but drops by the forums every couple months with really useful and enlightening information :-)

R.

LOL! i try to poke my head a little more often than that, but maybe it's only useful every couple months ;-)

Originally posted by Melethia:

AWESOME collection, Skip - thanks for the link! Do stop by and leave links like that more often, would you? So delightful to see the world through your eyes!

thanks, deb! even though my b-i-l has lived in NC 98% of his life, he'd never been to a race before. we've always had fun hanging out and i wanted to document the event for him. my approach to event & travel photography has always followed the philosophy of instead of only photographing things that have been shot to death, photograph people against interesting backdrops or people doing interesting things.

i like to mix in pure candids shot in stealth mode with candid grabs of people smiling at me, letting me know they're having a good time. i hope to capture enough energy that the posed shots don't look too forced. there's a video of another recent outing at the bottom of this page.

Originally posted by yanko:

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_891176.jpg
Yup. Everyone sees the turret coming.

that's pretty much it! ;-)
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