How to take pictures of people
I’ve been asked to cover the topic of taking photos of products, and thought I could expand this a bit. Let's start with ‘people’ today.
In a few days I’ll show you a photo essay I produced a few months ago (the pictures above are a little sneak peek) - today I want to talk about tips that will make it easier for you to take pictures of other people, and how to overcome difficulties you might face when shooting a long-term project.
For the photo essay I photographed my brother. He’s a farmer, which I find is a really cool profession, and I knew I could get visually interesting pictures. It also allowed me open access.
I liked the idea of photographing something that’s so different from all the stuff I’m surrounded by every day.
Anyway, the fact that I took pictures of my brother at work meant that I inevitably had to deal with some tough situations. He would get annoyed at me being around all the time, and would just keep doing his work - which is fine in a way, but made it hard for me to get some of the pictures I wanted.
- In a situation like that you have to be persistent, keep going, and overall you have to be confident. Don’t let someone else’s mood affect you. Basically it all comes down to professionalism - I thought of it as my job that I had to get done. Although it was hard I still had to get my pictures.
- If you’re planning to do something like a photo story or essay (or a project that you will be working on for a longer period of time) I suggest you plan well ahead. I went back to the farm a few times, just because you can’t get all the shots you need in one day.
Before you go out and shoot, know what kind of pictures you’re looking for, know what you want to shoot. This will make it easier once you’re there, as you can go through the pictures you already took in your head, and make sure you get the ones that are still missing.
- Be aware of weather conditions. When I took the pictures for my photo essay it was winter. That meant snow, sometimes rain, freezing hands, and also limited activities going on at the farm (e.g. they can’t sow as the ground is frozen).
Just make sure you’re prepared for different weather situations when you’re working outside. I always had a plastic bag with me with one corner cut off - I can cover the camera with it, and the end of the lens goes through the hole in the corner of the bag.
I hope this will be helpful for you in certain situations - most of it applies to any kind of photography, really. Be confident, and prepared.
What situations have you been in when shooting (anything), and what difficulties did you have to overcome?