A shy photographer’s guide to clicking people

I travel whenever I can and love to click pictures of people that I see on the streets. But the challenge has been to get over my fear of clicking strangers.


smile makes the difference

I travel whenever possible, and I love to click pictures of people that I see on the streets. The challenge that I have often faced is that I am terrified of clicking strangers on the street. Though I have overcome my fear to some extent, I am still one of those guys who cannot stick a camera in a stranger’s face and merrily click away. On every trip I make a slow start and make a fresh beginning every day, clicking one picture a time. Over the years I have followed some simple rules to clicking pictures of people.

1. Look for friends and not for models

flower girls

 

Most people don’t like to be clicked by strangers, so I just start a conversation with the people that I want to click, and during the conversation I politely check with them if they would like to get a picture clicked. I give them my card that just gives my blog address and name. For some reason the card gives me credibility and people do agree to be clicked. You know when you can ask for a picture when smiles are exchanged. Smiles are great icebreakers and you can never go wrong with them.

2. Use a small lens

huge dslr

Pic via Flickr user Darron Birgenheier

Most people get intimidated with a big lens pointing towards them, so for my street pictures I normally just take a kit lens or a 50 mm lens, both are small enough to let me click without making people conscious. At times if I find the subject good I am even happy to click with my cell phone rather than miss an opportunity to click.

3. Click people you meet on travels

 

While visiting a Home stay in Wayanad, I noticed the beautiful decor of the bungalow the owners lived, they were kind enough to pose for me. Ever since I have been requesting my hosts to pose for me.

4. Click people who want to be clicked

Boy in Old Hyderabad

Many a times while walking through bazaars I have been stopped by vendors and kids because they have wanted their photos to be taken. Never miss this opportunity and click them to your heart’s desire. I normally try to take an email and send them pictures, though a printout is much better.

5. Click performers

Aarti in Varanasi

On every street corner at tourist places people are performing, they are so used to getting clicked that they don’t even care if they are being clicked. Like I clicked this picture during Evening Aarti in Varanasi. There were literally hundreds of people clicking the priests performing the prayers. The trick in such situation is to find a good vantage point to get a clear shot. Also try not to use flash as it disturbs the performers.

6. Plan your shots well in advance

Ibrahim-Rauza-Bijapur

Sometimes you just want a human in frame either for action or for scale. So plan your shot, frame, pre-focus and wait. The moment somebody walks in the frame,  press the button. Like I did for this shot in front of a monument. I saw this guy on scooter getting ready to leave I just waited for him to come in frame and clicked, adding motion, scale and colour to the picture.

7. Shoot silhouettes

Couple in Sunset

Although not my favourite, sometimes it gives good results when the people in the frame add to the story. Like this couple enjoying a sunset that I clicked from behind as a silhouette against a setting sun.

These are just some of things that I do to click pictures on my travels to overcome my shyness and fear of clicking people. It takes a lot of practice to overcome the fear but all it takes is some practice and soon you will discover your own style.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Prasad Np is a corporate executive most of the week, but he wears many hats. Traveled widely in India, US, Europe and Asia, he is Travel blogger, photographer and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at desi Traveler - http://desitraveler.com more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Prasad Np is a corporate executive most of the week, but he wears many hats. Traveled widely in India, US, Europe and Asia, he is Travel blogger, photographer and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at desi Traveler - http://desitraveler.com more
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