Posted on February 09, 2016
When you work as a photographer, often you have a pretty big camera and an even bigger lens! It can be really difficult to capture natural behaviour, because people see you coming, see the camera and modify their actions accordingly. They'll duck behind a pillar or another person or leave. Or they'll start posing and smiling that fake-great-time smile. Either way there's no story there, just a facade. What really creates a photo that will stand the test of time is reality.
We love reality TV because we think we can properly get to know the people on those shows. In "The Voice' you'll hear time and again that what the judges want to hear is 'vulnerability" They want to hear your personality, your soul, shine through. That's what we all want to see and hear because other people fascinate us. Maybe it's to come to a better understanding of ourselves that we seek out the vulnerability of others. Maybe that's all far too serious and we're all just naturally nosey!
Without having to ditch your current camera kit, it's still perfectly possible to get 'real' emotion from the people you are photographing. I think the main requirement is to really watch what's going on around you. Anticipate the actions of people and be near enough to catch the moment. It's not about a perfectly executed image, it's about the emotions contained in the image. If you really can't get the people you're photographing to forget that you (and your camera) exist, then the next best thing is to introduce the people to your camera. Talk about it, show them some of the photos on your screen, be enthusiastic, enlist their help, get them to be a co-conspiritor (especially if it's kids!) Anything that makes your subjects relax around the camera. Once people are relaxed that's when they become natural again.