How to take more nature photographs of people?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by carbonmotion, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    San Francisco, CA
    #1
    Do you have any tips on how to take pictures of people in their natural state without them posing or acting in conscious knowledge of being photographed? I've been shooting for a while and its only recently that I've transitioned from photographing landscape and architecture to really focusing on shooting people. It has been a tough transition, because inlike the first two, people tend to want to tense up or pose or smile awkwardly when they know that they're being photographed. I know there's a Chase Jarvis or two floating around here, do you guys have any tips? I tend to shoot with cropped nikons using 30mm primes or 40 mm macro primes.
     
  2. BreakGuy macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

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    #2
    Isn't it illegal to photograph individuals without their permission?
     
  3. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #3
    I happen to know a thing or two about this from my other job (the paid one). Generally speaking, it is polite to ask for people's permission before you photograph them, however when a person is in public, it is not required. Photographing people in their own homes is probably illegal, this is because a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy there. Similarly, there are other public places where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as abortion clinics and AA meetings. You may not take pictures of people where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, however, general street photography is completely legal in the United States.
     
  4. BreakGuy macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

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    #4
    I understand that if you were shooting in Times Square it'd be impractical to seek permission from everyone, but don't you need to get one's permission if you are going to single them out? Last thing I want is to have someone taking photos of me without my knowledge while I'm just trying to go about my business.
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #5
    Here are the things I try to do:

    Get in there
    Use shorter lenses and be there. Frame the subject in the photo and don't include too much background. Don't use a long lens and snipe from a distance... no-likes a stalker.

    Do it like you mean it.
    If you act all timid, people will react badly - they'll move away, or start posing or change their attitude in some way. Get your own head together, stride up like you own the place and take the photo. If it helps - have a project or 'mission' in your head that gives you authority to be taking this shot. If you have doubts, you'll appear furtive and shady and may be challenged.

    Practice, and get your technical stuff down
    If you don't know your camera, you haven't thought of the settings, the light, the composition - then when you start messing with all these things it's going to take time and the mood is going to change.

    Have your ISO, your shooting mode, your aperture etc. all good to go. Move to take the picture - raise the camera, focus, recompose (swap the last two if you prefer) and boom, it's all done.

    Get out of there
    If you were taking 'street photos' of people going about their business, they may be OK with that, or they may not be happy. You've taken the photo... if you now mess around more then they could start thinking that you've invaded their space. If you just drop the camera to your side and walk off they won't. As an alternative, I often stare past them into the distance once I've taken a picture... since you haven't done the normal thing and made eye contact, they assume you've taken a picture of the background or someone else.

    ----------

    No.

    You may however need their permission if you want to use their image for commercial purposes. In the US, you'd have to get them to sign a release form in that case.
     
  6. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #6
    The short answer is no. The long answer is, no as long as you don't intend on selling the material for profit or to a stock photography website. If you're going to sell it for profit, you have to give your subject release form. In summery, in a public place, you can be photographed without your permission.
     
  7. BreakGuy macrumors 6502a

    BreakGuy

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    #7
    Learn something new everyday.
     
  8. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #8
    While it isn't illegal one does have to accept the consequences if the person being photographed doesn't like it. ;)
     
  9. James L macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 14, 2004
    #9
    You mean the consequences to them if they assault you or your gear? ;)

    Honestly, you don't want to be a d*ck when doing street photography, but if anybody came at you when you photographed them in a public place for non commercial use it is them that will be dealing with the law.... not you. The polite thing of course would be to either ask first, or delete the shot from your card if they object.
     
  10. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #10
    personally, it hasn't come up as an issue for me
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11
    I don't have a method, but I do own an X100, which is dead silent amd stealthy. If you try it while holding a DSLR and a backpack full of lenses, it'll be tough. ;-)


    Well even if someone is in a photo that you're selling, you don't need permission or a consent form if they aren't a part of the main subject of a photo.

    If you are outside, and not on private property and in an area where you'd expect privacy , you can be photographed. So even a celebrity sitting inside a restaurant, but in clear view near a large window probably can't be photographed, and yet the rules are likely different when sitting outside on the restaurant patio. On an outside patio of a restaurant, you're probably allowed to be photographed, but not if you are in your backyard, since a photographer would need to climb the back fence to do so.
     
  12. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #12
    Visibly distinguishable, visibly identifiable is the standard
     
  13. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    EU
    #13
    start by shooting homeless people first, if you're in a metro area.

    then give them some money.

    you'll get used to shooting people that way.
     
  14. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    Mar 10, 2005
    #14
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nussenzweig_v._DiCorcia

    That exact situation happened, went to the NY Supreme Court, and set precedence.
     
  15. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #15
    Wow - I'd not heard of that.

    I saw Di Corcia's exhibition back in 2004 (or around that time) at the Photographer's Gallery in London and recognise the picture. The work was absolutely stunning... really large prints taken of subjects in the crowd (must have been medium or large format film). The detail and quality was amazing.
     
  16. And macrumors 6502

    And

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    #16
    Set manual focus to a few metres away. Make sure an autoflash is not going to go off. Set zoom to about 28-35mm. Take pics as and when, just aim and click, no fussing with settings. Have a higher ISO so you can have a smaller aperture with more depth of field. You can also shoot from the hip a bit to make it less obvious you are snapping, the wide angle will capture the person in frame. Another thing to try is to sit down somewhere with a lot of footfall and subtly take pics as people walk through the scene. People are getting in your picture rather than you getting in their face, so good for a starter. Good luck!
     
  17. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #17
    How is the person being photographed supposed to know the photographer isn't taking a photo for commercial purposes ?

    I'm not advocating violence against the photographer but the photographer needs to use some common sense.

    What I used to do in the old days was try to take as natural a photo as possible then afterwards ask the person if it is ok to keep the pic. If they say no then it's gone.
     

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