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  #1  
Old 08-05-2009, 09:00 PM
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Default How to click people ???

Hello all,

I've always been very interested in clicking people. I try but with my superzoom P&S, so that interaction and proximity keeps missing from the pictures. Looking at some fellow members doing wonderful job with portraits (~Caleb Colman), I understand that successful portraits can't be made without getting into the comfort zone of the person being clicked. This is where I'm clueless!

The query may seem silly to you but I'm really looking forward to your practical tips/experiences/suggestions.

Thanks,
Darpan
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

Come on guys, not even a single reply ???

I thought I'll at least get some light from any of those thousand point holders. Looks like either the question is too foolish or too complicated. Anyone?
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

First of all you must be close to your model. Not only close in distance but in friendly relations too. If you try to take a portrait photo, you have to talk to the model first.
Lenses: app. 50 mm faster the better to achieve proper bokeh.
Light: try not to fire flash, but if you have to, try fire not directly against model's face.
Background: choose something what will not be distrurbing.
Colour: The best portraits are in B&W imo...


Regards.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:04 AM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

Hi Darpan;

Sorry it took you so long to get answers to your questions.

My favorite types of people shots are candid ones. Staged or posed photos to me rarely look natural- unless of course you are quite close in realtions to the person (ie: they know you- which is not permitted here on TrekEarth anyways).

If you look through my gallery, there is only one people shot where I verbally asked someone permission (much less got them to sign a model release of sorts). Many times, they are candid shots from afar- or in some cases the person is a street performer who rarely minds having their photo taken. In cases where the person has smiled for the shot; it's simply been a case of making eye contact with the person, smiling, and indicating with camera in hand that you'd like to take their photo. Rarely do I find people refuse or turn away.

Don't be shy- the worst they can do is say 'no'. ;-)
Have a great weekend and happy shooting!
- Dan
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

Candid or informed - two very different types of image making - the first is your relationship to the street or the environment and timing and the second is your relationship to the person and the environment and the right moments for both of you. For the former you need an objective view of the world which allows you to dissociate to some degree, sometimes some courage and depending on your goal an amount of sensitivity or insensitivity. In the latter you must work with friendliness, assurance and sensitivity in almost all cases - time spent with your subject may be moments up to hours.....or even days......!

The courage in the second case comes from having the time and energy...and commitment to your purpose to speak to people....and respecting their wish if the answer to making a portrait is no.

Some people object to the 'invasion of privacy' of the candid shot and some cultures legislate against it or present a response which may get you into trouble. Always look after your own safety and as far as principles and morals are concerned consider the reasons why YOU want to take the image and its potential impact on the person you are photographing.

Many people form the relationship and then stick around for the candid shot - this could be called 'following'. Purely candid work could be called 'talking' and more negotiated shots 'setting'.

Getting arrested, shot, attracting angry crowds, getting fleeced for all you've got, 'starting wars' etc. should be avoided at all costs - but these things happen to photographers!

best wishes Kev
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

p.s. for the visitor India is generally a very 'photographic friendly' country - it may be different in some contexts for natives of India - but many photographers go to India - not just for how photogenic people are but also generally how willing they are to be photographed.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

hi Darpan,
I am not one of the big shots here but since I like to click people, as you nicely put it, I can tell you how I do it =)
I guess that first of all, as it's been pointed out already, you have to jump. meaning: you have to try. it can get nasty in some countries (I had aggressive reactions in Morocco), and that unfortunately cannot be foreseen unless you know the country, the mentality and the culture.
secondly, closeness depends on the type of people photos you want to shoot.
I personally like candid shots and street photography and I don't like to use zoom lenses because of the quality. which means that when I use my 50mm or my 85mm I have to get quite close. but still - even a 50mm will give you a few meters "comfort zone", and the quality of the image is usually so good that even a crop has enough resolution.
if you want to get closer, you have to risk - some people will notice and change their behaviour, some won't mind, some will ignore you.
if you want to shoot portraits where the eye-contact is not a coincidence but intentional, you will have to establish some kind of contact with the person and respect their privacy if they refuse.
cris
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  #8  
Old 08-08-2009, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

Hi again - sorry for my spelling earlier - i meant the candid shot as 'taking' - but the most important thing of all is that you have a genuine interest in people -always a ready smile! A ready interest in the subject or your own story about why you want the image - a genuine compassion beyond the passion for photography!

http://www.pbase.com/kaparu2/portraits

http://www.pbase.com/kaparu2/portraits
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  #9  
Old 08-08-2009, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

These are some great replies! I found the posts highly informative. Here are my thoughts-

@Jan- I guessed you've described how to click with a setting. I'm more interested in clicking normal people, in daily life conditions and no/minimum setup. Anyways, that was helpful. And yes, I absolutely agree about your opinion of B&W. Look at some amazing images this guy is producing here.

@Dan- I share your liking for candid shots. Making eye contact and pointing with your camera is a very practical tip. IMO, that'll be very successful in India because as Kev put it, people in India love to be photographed.

@Kev- Thanks for taking time to explain the concepts in depth. Your first paragraph is just brilliant! I wasn't aware that one's approach towards portraits could be categorized as 'following', 'taking' and 'setting'. The DONT's are equally helpful.

@Cris- Getting closer is always a risk as you mentioned in all the three possible scenarios, but you've to take it if you want real, close images. Otherwise, either you lose on quality or you end up clicking the person's back! I want to click people the way they are (like this, this and this) and communication with the person (I hate to call them subjects!) is the key here. Thanks.

So to sum it all, basically it comes down to the photographer to be ready to invest time and come out of 'his' comfort zone and ask for a photograph- a verbal permission or a questioning smile (if language or distance is the barrier).

Thanks again guys. Courtesy your posts, I'm going to be ready with two additional gears next time- willingness to talk and a genuine smile :)

Thanks,
Darpan
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  #10  
Old 08-09-2009, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: How to click people ???

Hi - another thought for more candid shots - it is about your legitimacy in a space - if you are pre-prepared - you are set with your camera and pointing at an area - people will come to you and occupy 'your space' - some will be very polite and see the camera and duck underneath it - some will shirk away from it - some will just ignore it - you can play act around this - moving the camera away as if they have spoiled your picture - but you may have already taken it.......a master of finding the right location and waiting is Izzet Keribar - Izzet's legitimacy is his dignity and a sense of friendly gravitas - a sense of professionalism and often working from a tripod - I spent three wonderful days in Istanbul watching him work and learning about his approach but for me I very rarely use a tripod - I started a little after the sessions with him and I know I will again!

There are so many ways of describing 'clicking' people - perhaps Izzet's way could be called 'occupying'.

p.s. thanks for the portrait links - I like some of his work very much - I have tried such post processing and it certainly gives a strong and dramatic result to portraiture!

You are living in a land of such enormous possibilities for you chosen focus - it is less and less easy these days in many countries.

Another sure way of getting results is to go to large public events or civil occasions - somehow in such a collective atmosphere a photographer is more accepted as part of the 'scene'!

bw Kev

Happy clicking!!!
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