Photographying Parties/Functions - Relaxing Subjects ; Counting down?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by victor_hooi, May 5, 2007.

  1. I'm sometimes asked to take photos informally at parties/functions, and this
    isn't really my thing (ok, it's definitely not my thing, hence I'm actually
    quite terrible at it).

    For street and candid, I try to talk to the subjects, break the ice, maybe let
    them play with the camera if they're young, try the "I'm a poor photography
    student, doing a people assignment" approach =), but it's a bit different for
    functions.

    What do you people find helpful for getting people to relax, and act naturally
    in these situations? Talking to them might work, but sometimes you're trying to
    get a fast, spontaneous photo, so I find I don't really have time (or perhaps
    I'm not doing it right?).

    Also, would you use something to tell them when you're taking the photo -
    counting down 3,2,1 (or 1,2,3), getting them to say cheese etc. ? Or just snap away?

    Also, the pre-flash can confuse people, and they move too soon - should you try
    and explain this to them? (It would kind of break the sponteaneity though, and I
    feel a bit foolish...lol). Speaking of flash, even at ISO 1600 on my 30D, I
    still need to use the flash - it's a bit annoying (both for me and the subjects)
    in dark environments, I know, and I don't suppose there's anything else I can
    use? (It's a 35mm f2.0 lens).

    Any advice or pointers to good resources would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Victor
     
  2. You are making this way too hard! This is fun, as usually the people are quite surprised when you get nice pictures and have some nice memories of the occasion. I usually just sit and take pictures with a zoom lens. Usually about 90% of the people there after a minute or two just ignore you. It's like ok, it's just the person with the camera. I don't tell me I am going to take a picture, unless I want a good group picture or something. I just take tons of them, and whatever turns out, turns out. This isn't a posed, formal type of thing. I usually don't make the pictures while talking to people, I like to do it while I am just sitting and observing them. As far as talking, you will usually have people come up to you and ask about why there camera doesn't work right (because they don't have a clue).
    I am a VERY shy person, but if I am at a function (and I have two of them today!) with my camera, I am talk and move around and feel totally comfortable.
    Another thing is people like CD's and DVD's of this type of stuff. It's not like they want to buy portraits of people, just want a memory of the day, so a CD is a nice way to go.
     
  3. Exactly what Debbie said. Just sit there with your camera to your eye, they'll soon learn to ignore you - the more furtively you act the more attention you'll draw to yourself and the more unnaturally people will behave. Oh and a longer lens will help, It's difficult for people to behave like you're not there when you'e that close to them.

    when shooting posed shots / portrait sessions, we interact to get what we want out of subjects, candid photography is about blending into the background.
     
  4. If you're hired to photograph, I don't think you should sit and take candids. My best trick is to ask small groups at a table to "put your heads together" or "get cheek-to-cheek." They seem to like this and they ALWAYS smile when they're that close to someone else. Plus you can zoom closer to the eyes (the important things).
     
  5. Is this for pay? If so, you should find out first what kind of people pictures your client wants. Some people want the "turn and smile" kind and others don't. For the turn and smile photos,just do as Susan said, above. For the stealtier images, do as Phil suggests (longer lens). When being paid, you don't have time to socialize to break the ice, as you said, so you either get the smiling photo or the stealthy photo. There's also doing a combination.

    If it isn't for pay, and if you know the people you are photographing--they are your friends and friends' friends--and you don't want the smiling photos, just interact as normal, let them get used to you and your snapping, and proceed. If the pre-flash bothers you, get an auto thyristor flash for these occasions--no pre-flash.
     

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