Getting candid people photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Eric B., Jan 2, 2006.

  1. Eric B.

    Eric B. Guest

    I am looking for suggestions for how to take shots of people being
    themselves without noticing the camera. Do any of you have any tips beside
    using a long lens? When I see good potential shots I inevitably draw
    attention to myself reaching for my camera. People also seem to sense when
    they're being observed. Any ideas?

    Eric B.
    Eric B., Jan 2, 2006
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  2. - shoot from waist level, using the swivel LCD viewfinder

    - turn off any "focus assist" light

    - (with permission) involve yourself with your sibject, and photograph
    whilst chatting with them

    - use a wide-angle lens! Let people know the camera is there and then
    forget it.

    You could do worse than check out:

    David J Taylor, Jan 2, 2006
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  3. Eric B.

    test Guest

    Do not aim on people loke a hunter. Years ago I had twin lens reflex
    Rollei 2.5x2.5 . I looked upside down into the camera and sometimes I
    turned the lens to my right side. This way I could make close up
    pictures from people in oriental countries.

    Next for SLR users: Have a long telephoto lens and talk to a friend of
    an object somehow away from th victim. Turn your body and head to that
    object, but aim to the person you wish to take.

    test, Jan 2, 2006
  4. Eric B.

    hornyrhino Guest

    1/ Wear clothing that blends in with the bushes

    2/ Use those few precious seconds while the enraged man is pulling his pants
    back up, to run as fast as you can.
    hornyrhino, Jan 2, 2006
  5. Eric B.

    Conrad Guest


    Yes, I was thinking just as David said, "shoot from waist level, using
    the swivel LCD viewfinder".

    In the 'old days' when I used a Nikon Coolpix 950, I could swivel the
    camera so that the LCD was at waist level for composing pic. People
    thought I was adjusting 'film' or such and would ignore me. I got some
    great pics that way.

    Best for 2006,

    Camp Sherman, oregon

    Had enough?
    Conrad, Jan 2, 2006
  6. When I first started photography back in the 90's there used to be a lens
    adaptor that had a mirror in it angled at 45 degrees. It had a hole cut out
    on its side.
    So folk thought you were taking pictures straight ahead when in fact you
    were shooting at right angles to your lens.

    Just found a link to something very similar.

    Steven Campbell, Jan 2, 2006
  7. Eric B.

    ink Guest

    I once got one of these from here: 209092.html?searchinfo=mirror attachment&item_no=138

    Not affiliated with them or trying to spam, just the only place where I was
    able to find one.

    ink, Jan 2, 2006
  8. Eric B.

    Gormless Guest

    I lived in NYC in the 90s and in those days I seem to recall that Spiratone
    were making them.
    Gormless, Jan 2, 2006
  9. Eric B.

    Waterspider Guest


    Waterspider, Jan 2, 2006
  10. Eric B.

    Eric B. Guest

    Good idea. I should have mentioned I am using a D50 so no swivel viewfinder

    Eric B.
    Eric B., Jan 2, 2006
  11. Try one of those new "Zigview" gadgets - they attach to the viewfinder and
    allow you to use your camera at different angles.

    Anthony Larkin
    Anthony Larkin, Jan 2, 2006
  12. Eric B.

    Aad Guest

    Buy a Zigview!
    Aad, Jan 2, 2006

  13. Well you've received some interesting suggestions although I'm not too sure
    how helpful some of it is...

    Here's what I do.

    1) I use a long lens. Yes I know you said you didn't want that suggestion
    but the fact is you're more likely to get the shots your looking for with a
    long lens.

    2) If I don't have the long lens I don't try to hide the fact that I'm
    taking pictures. I have the camera out and visible all the time. After a
    while the people around you will get used the fact the camera is there and
    forget about it. This is very helpful at say a party or event.

    3) Similar to 2 I often have the camera to my eye even if I'm not shooting
    something. Again this lulls the people around you into a false sense of
    security so when you do actually point the camera at them they hardly

    4) When doing street or public space photography I'll often point the camera
    in the general direction of the subject as if I'm taking a shot of something
    else and then recompose and take the shot when I know the subject isn't
    aware of the camera.

    I think the biggest key is to have the camera in hand all the time. You
    will attract much less attention to yourself if you are ready to shoot at
    any time.

    One side not regarding children. Most likely best to avoid candid pics of
    children but if you do and plan to display the photos make sure there are no
    identifying marks/names/symbols on the kids clothing or within the frame of
    the shot. It's been my experience that most adults could care less if they
    are photographed but take a photo of that same adults child and look out.
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Jan 2, 2006
  14. Eric B.

    Rich Guest

    If you intend to be close to them (no long lens) then a prosumer with
    a noiseless shutter is a better idea than a DSLR with noticeable
    shutter/mirror slap noise. Also, Sony's R1 can swivel it's LCD
    around completely so you could actually point the camera over your
    shoulder and see what you were firing at.
    Rich, Jan 2, 2006
  15. Eric B.

    Jack Dale Guest

    Have your camera with you at all times. People will get used it.

    Jack Dale, Jan 2, 2006
  16. Eric B.

    Eric B. Guest

    Those are all good suggestions Rob, I think I also might look into these
    angled (Zigview?) lenses.


    Eric B.
    Eric B., Jan 2, 2006
  17. Eric B.

    hornyrhino Guest

    Why should they have to 'get used' to being photographed clandestinely?

    We in the UK (and I understand that the US is catching up fast) are the most
    'camered' country in Europe - with surveillance cameras in just about every
    shop, petrol station, shopping mall, and highway. WTF should we also have
    to put up with pervy little shits who want to obtain 'candid photo's of us
    as we go about our lives.

    Personally, if I found someone photographing me in this way I would have a
    word with him in such a way that his camera might well end up stuffed up his

    This is the curse of digital photography - silly bastards with nothing
    better to do with their lives roaming around taking dozens of shots because
    they feel unconstrained by processing costs.
    hornyrhino, Jan 3, 2006
  18. Eric B.

    hornyrhino Guest

    Let me just say, Eric, that if you ever came slinking around taking sly
    photographs of me, you'd be shitting pieces of Zigview for a month

    What's needed is a law to make photography of people without their knowledge
    or consent a criminal offence.
    hornyrhino, Jan 3, 2006
  19. Eric B.

    CeeBee Guest

    What's needed is a compulsory treatment to shorten your fuse.
    CeeBee, Jan 3, 2006
  20. Eric B.

    Peter Irwin Guest

    Candid doesn't mean clandestine, it just means that the subjects
    are not reacting to the presence of the camera. Most good candid
    photography is not done in secret, but by the photographer
    becoming unobtrusive. When people get used to the camera, it becomes
    easier to be unobtrusive. A quiet camera with no flash is also
    a big help.
    That already happened with the miniature camera craze in the
    1930s with the Leica and Contax. Film and negative development
    for ten thousand pictures cost less than the camera, so users
    tended to look at each shot as practically free. Some people
    were particularly annoying about it, but we also got a vast
    wealth of naturalistic people pictures which had been exceedingly
    rare before that time.

    Peter Irwin, Jan 3, 2006
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