Good for Candid Shots?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Lucid, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. Lucid

    Lucid Guest

    I need to take candid shots of people in public places, from about 5 to 10
    feet distance, for a community web site. Most people change their facial
    expressions and behavior when they realize that a camera is pointing at
    them. I'm looking for a camera with a somewhat unusual design so that people
    don't recognize it immediately, in their peripheral vision. I also need the
    camera to take very clear pictures.

    With a DSLR up to my face, I get fractions of a second to take the photo
    before the subject realizes what is happening. This does not allow for good
    results most of the time. With a $15 digital camera that I found at
    Wal-Mart, I was able to take pictures without most subjects ever knowing
    that I had a camera. It is rectangularly shaped, about 2 inches wide and
    five inches tall and one inch deep. I took most shots without placing the
    camera near my face. If I could find something similar to that one, but
    capable of much clearer pictures (it made grainy, blurry and noisy photos),
    I would be most happy. However, I realize that such things are not common.
    I would be happy with something more conventional, but easy to use away from
    my face.

    I am working on my nonchalant techniques that would allow me to be more
    successful with normal digital cameras, but a less-noticeable piece of
    equipment will still be helpful.

    Right now, I am considering the Sony DSC-R1, because of the picture quality
    and the movable LCD that lets you frame shots without putting the camera to
    your face. Can anyone recommed other digital cameras that might fill this
    need? Preferrably smaller cameras than the Sony. I don't need anything on
    the level of a spy camera.

    Lucid, Mar 17, 2006
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  2. Lucid

    Jeremy Guest

    Taking shots of peoples' likenesses--even when taken in "public places"--and
    then publishing them on Internet web sites is probably a violation of their
    privacy, and may result in your being smacked with numerous lawsuits.

    Courts have consistently held that ordinary people, as opposed to
    celebrities or political figures, are not considered "public persons," and
    have the right to be left alone. That is why we have something called
    "Model Releases," to document that the photographer was AUTHORIZED to record
    the subjects' likenesses.

    You can usually get around the legal restrictions by photographing people in
    such a way that they cannot be identified individually, but you should ask
    an attorney for advice in your jurisdiction.

    Aside from the legal obstacles, I think that your blatant disregard for
    peoples' privacy concerns is appalling, and that you ought to find some more
    constructive activity with which to fill your time. People like you are
    encouraging a legal backlash against photography by the general public and
    by legislators. Responsible photographers should not have unnecessary
    restrictions imposed upon them because of the actions of a small minority
    like you.

    And, tell me please, just WHAT would a "COMMUNITY" web site want to be doing
    putting photos of members of their community on public display when they
    know that such activities are unwelcome by the subjects of the photos? I
    suspect that the web site is YOURS, not any COMMUNITY'S . . .
    Jeremy, Mar 17, 2006
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  3. Lucid

    Dave Cohen Guest

    We thank Jeremy for his unsoliceted legal advice.
    In regards to the op question, take a look at the canon line. The better
    models have swivel lcd's
    Dave Cohen
    Dave Cohen, Mar 17, 2006
  4. Lucid

    Lucid Guest

    Yeah, thanks for the info, Jeremy. I'll take it under consideration.

    Anybody have any constructive suggestions?

    Lucid, Mar 17, 2006
  5. Lucid

    Lucid Guest

    Thanks Dave. There's a Jeremy in every newsgroup. You learn to ignore

    As for the Canon line, I have looked at some of them. Are there any in
    particular that you think would fit this application?

    Lucid, Mar 17, 2006
  6. Lucid

    Marvin Guest

    Marvin, Mar 17, 2006
  7. Lucid

    Scott W Guest

    If you are in a public place you have little right of privacy. There
    are limits to what can be done with a photograph where the person has
    not signed a release, using the photos for commercial gain is not
    allowed unless the photo is in the context of a news story. But it the
    web site is not set up to make money then there is should be little
    problems with posting the photos.
    Are you so sure that he does not ask if it is ok to publish the photo
    after he has taken it?
    You might be right and it does make nervous when people photograph in
    such a way that others can't tell they are being photographed.

    I photograph people all the time and post their photos on the web. I
    don't have problems with anyone being mad about their photos on the
    web, more problems if I miss someone.
    I also have problems with people reacting to the camera, my approach is
    to take so many photos that people start to ignore me.

    Scott W, Mar 17, 2006
  8. Lucid

    Tony Cooper Guest

    I take it that "constructive" means "stuff I want to hear or agree
    with" to you.

    I'm not as rabid as some about the loss of privacy in what you
    describe, but I don't think I'd want to see my picture up on some
    community website. I'm not wanted in some state, and I'm not prone to
    visiting neighborhoods for nefarious or immoral reasons, but I'm just
    not comfortable being depicted as a "typical resident of Pleasant
    Acres". Especially if the shot is unflattering and shows a blinding
    glare reflected off of my bald head or shows my nose to be as
    humongous out-of-porportion to my face as it really is.

    I don't think it's a matter of legality or untowards invasion of
    privacy, but it is a matter of allowing the subject to choose whether
    or not he or she wants to have his or her image displayed on the

    If I'm in a crowd scene it's not particularly objectionable, but a
    within-five-foot-close-up should require my permission and I want the
    opportunity to tuck my shirt in first and inhale.

    My constructive advice is to use a camera with a tiltable viewfinder,
    but my to-you non-constructive advice is to re-think your plan and
    consider what might be the wishes of the subjects.
    Tony Cooper, Mar 17, 2006
  9. Lucid

    Lucid Guest

    My use of these photographs are as generic content. The value of being close
    enough to recognize faces is the fact that we are a fairly small town.
    Visitors to the site are very pleased to see people they know and our
    traffic has skyrocketed since we began doing this. The shots usually
    involve multiple people, but may occasionally show only one. They stay on
    the web site for about a week and then get zapped to a DVD for storage, and
    probably never to be seen again (unless I have your name and you become
    I understand this concern, and share it to some degree, but with the number
    of surveillance cameras in society today, I think this is a naive concern.
    Clean up your appearance before you leave your home, or don't worry about
    it. If you are disheveled, then your photo probably won't be used. Slobs
    don't make good content.

    Lucid, Mar 17, 2006
  10. Lucid

    Lucid Guest

    That's a good idea. I can imagine that it might work.

    For what it's worth, I did find a camera that seems to fit my needs. The
    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2 is the winner. I don't think the picture quality will
    equal my more conventional cameras, but this one will help get the difficult

    Lucid, Mar 17, 2006
  11. Lucid

    Tony Cooper Guest

    I don't see the connection. The images captured on surveillance
    camera are not displayed to the public. It is not that our images are
    captured so frequently that we should be inured to this that is the
    issue. The issue is where the images are displayed and who has access
    to the display.
    Ah, well, you don't rehevele baldness or a big nose. This community
    you represent wouldn't have "Stepford" in the name, would it?

    There is a retirement community in Florida known as "The Villages"
    which is known for demanding conformity and image control. (Not
    "image" as in photograph, but "image" as in appearance) Residents
    have been chastised for not appearing happy in public. It gives
    visitors a bad impression.
    Tony Cooper, Mar 17, 2006
  12. Lucid

    Lucid Guest

    Your assumption that images captured on surveillance cameras are not
    displayed to the public may be naive, as well. Not all surveillance cameras
    are for security. There are five webcams pointed into public places in our
    small town alone, and those are only the ones I know about. People visiting
    those web sites can observe people in public at-will, and capture those
    Actually, I was referring to your comment about tucking in your shirt and
    inhaling, not your bald head and big nose.

    Lucid, Mar 17, 2006
  13. Lucid

    GregS Guest

    Well this is what photography is all about. One learns to do this from the getgo.
    I never pont a camera at someone unless its ready to shoot, and its
    only pointed at the person so I can push the button without delay.
    Of course they have a thing called telephoto. Unfortunately
    digital cameras are slower than the film types.
    GregS, Mar 17, 2006

  14. Luc,

    It seems to me that you're really looking for a P&S but my solution is my
    20D and a good zoom. I use a 70-200 or a 100-400. This solution keeps be
    far enough away from the subject to go unnoticed and still get up close
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Mar 17, 2006
  15. Lucid

    ASAAR Guest

    Several, such as the A95 (still available) which was recently
    replaced by the faster, nicer A610/A620. These have the articulated
    swivel LCDs. You may find a better solution with a smaller camera
    that has a fixed LCD if it has a wider angle lens. This would allow
    you to take pictures by just pointing the camera in the general
    direction. With a sharp lens and fairly high resolution you'd then
    be able to crop the part of the image you want and still have more
    than adequate sharpness. Canon's fairly small Powershot S70 and S80
    are two examples. Another feature you might want (and I don't know
    if any of the above cameras offer it, but I assume that they might)
    would be the ability to use manual focus. By prefocusing the camera
    to 7 feet and locking it at that distance, the depth of field would
    probably have everything in your 5 to 10 feet range adequately
    sharp. Then when you press the shutter, the camera wouldn't waste
    time focusing, giving you a quicker response approaching that of a
    DSLR, making it more likely that you'd be able to capture fleeting
    expressions, etc. I've heard of some older Olympus cameras that
    could store several settings, including distance, as a user defined
    parameter set that could be easily returned to without having to set
    them all again manually.
    ASAAR, Mar 17, 2006
  16. Lucid

    salgud Guest

    Absolutely not true. My son is a professional photojournalist, works
    for a local paper, freelances for the big Denver paper. He's checked
    with their lawyers and been told that a person has no expectation of
    privacy in any public place, like a city street, a shopping mall, a
    park, etc. It's perfectly legal to take their picture and post it on a
    website, as long as you aren't using it to make money, like in an ad,
    or to slander or libel them. There won't be any lawsuits! Pictures he
    takes of people in public places are published in papers every day.
    Just some maniacal poster overstating his personal opinions because
    he's afraid you won't take them as gospel. Check with any lawyer if you
    doubt this.
    An curious about a real example of responsible photographers having
    unneccessay restrictions placed on them because of other photographers
    taking these imagined illegal pictures. Please post a reference to a
    know, reliable publication illustrating your claim.
    My experience, having taken pix in public places since I was 10 or 11
    (I'm 58 now), is that most people could care less. I certainly wouldn't
    argue with someone who was angry and took exception, which has only
    happened once in my life. But legally, I was in the right. Just didn't
    want to have to call a lawyer from a hospital bed!
    Take the pictures, if someone objects, volunteer to erase the pic from
    your camera. If they didn't notice you, as you intend, you're fine. But
    keep your eye out for people like this poster - he's obviously unstable
    and could easily be prone to violence. He needs serious help!
    salgud, Mar 17, 2006
  17. Lucid

    salgud Guest

    Forgot to mention in my post below, you can do what Steiglitz (sp?)
    did. He covered the shiny parts of his Leica with electrical tape so it
    wouldn't attract the attention of his subjects and ruin his shot. One
    of the best candid photographers of all time.
    Oh, I forgot, he was a vile human being and should have been shot, with
    a gun, not a camera, for doing this horrible thing to these innocent
    people! What a riot!
    salgud, Mar 17, 2006
  18. Lucid

    Colin Guest

    Get a DSLR with a telephoto lens. You can pick them off from a distance and
    take your time as they don't realise you are there (if you are discreet).

    Or, check out a 50mm prime as this is an ideal focal length for head shots.
    Also, because the lens is so small, people are less intimidated as they
    assume it is a wide angle shot and don't realise that you are actually
    singling them out.
    Colin, Mar 17, 2006
  19. Lucid

    Celcius Guest

    Some of the best photos are those taken of people who are unaware.
    I guess you've never been to a photo gallery...
    Celcius, Mar 17, 2006
  20. Lucid

    Celcius Guest

    How about a longer lens?
    A 300mm + will get you photos of people from across a foorball field.
    Celcius, Mar 17, 2006
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