Click and Disappear.
Use the Value of a Telephoto Lens
Reactions to Children
Look for Natural Light Opportunities
The Actions/Reactions Between Poses
Unexpected Camera Position.
Whether you are a professional events photographer—weddings, anniversaries, corporate parties, receptions, etc.—or a parent who would love to capture some truly candid images of your children at play, you need a photographer’s cloak of invisibility. To record those special moments that can never be posed, that happen in an instant and are never to be repeated requires that you learn how to be present, but essentially invisible to your subject(s).
The techniques aren’t particularly difficult to learn, but you must always be aware of your position in relationship to the subject and the direction of the light, natural or artificial.
Inexperienced wedding, or events, photographers quickly reveal their inexperience when they establish a shooting position like a military beachhead. You must think more like a commando than an army corps. Find your target, snap your image and then disappear into the background. Remain in one position more than a few seconds and your target will become conscious of your presence and react entirely differently than if he or she didn’t have time to see you.
The farther you are from the action, the more likely you will become invisible to your subject, which means you now must assume the characteristics of the sniper. He’s there and he can see the subject, but they don’t see him. Other than being unnoticed, shooting with a telephoto focal length provides two additional benefits. First, you have the flexibility to frame the subject tighter, so you can make the composition simpler with much fewer competing elements. Second, choose a wide aperture and you narrow the depth of field, so the subject pops from the background, giving the photo more dimensionality and less background distractions.
Children are obvious subject matter at a family event and are often even less conscious of your presence than adults. By all means, photograph their interesting and child-like behavior, but also immediately move and refocus your camera to capture the reactions of others to what the children are doing. It isn’t unusual to find the adults acting a bit child-like when they watch children’s being natural.
A flash unit is an essential part of any events photographer’s gear, but that doesn’t mean it should be used for every photo. Sometimes, you can position yourself much closer to an individual or two people interacting and capture a candid moment if you simply shoot with ambient light. Firing a flash that close will do nothing more than record a reaction to the obtrusiveness of the blast of light.
When the aid of light from a flash is necessary, think about how to use it without it seeming to come directly from you and your camera. You don’t want to be noticed like a lighthouse. Try bouncing it off a sidewall or the wall behind you. Bouncing a flash off the ceiling when it is the only light source, tends to darken and deepen the eye sockets of your subject.
You’ve posed the bride and groom or the president of the company giving an award to an employee, and captured the photo requested; however, often, the most photographic moment is what occurs between posed shots. Once you dismissed all the participants from a posed image, keep your eyes on how they may interact or behave and be ready to record the photo that will have everyone talking.
Most people will expect to see you hiding behind your camera throughout an event and will react accordingly if you try to move close. A great technique for catching them off-guard is to position your camera low, placing it outside their field of view. A wide-angle lens will allow you to shoot from the hip or under an arm and still catch the subject and the action without the camera being seen. This may be one instance when you want subjects to see your face. It will distract their attention long enough to record an image from an unusual angle. Try this technique with children to eliminate the downward angle from which so many adults photograph children, thus placing the camera lens at their face height.
Image credit: feferoni / 123RF Stock Photo
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