A funny thing happens to people when a camera is pointed at them. They turn into posing puppet people. Now, that’s all good and fine for some situations, like a nice family portrait to give to your friends with big smiles and loving attitudes (and they’ll never know you were just frantically trying to fix the fussy toddler’s hair, arguing with the preschooler about ice cream, and secretly planning revenge on the spouse sitting in the other room oblivious to it all…like fifteen minutes before the photo shoot). You head into a studio or other photo session environment, put on big smiles, and allow the photographer to pose your rather awkward puppet bodies into a happy, loving family for this year’s Christmas cards. But let’s face it. It’s usually noticeable that the smiles don’t really go beyond the face…unless your photographer is a really good puppet master. Since I’m still working on that aspect of my photographing skills, I prefer to photograph people in their natural element. Most would call this candid photography. I think I prefer to call it “bet you didn’t know I was looking”. In my opinion, this is when you get the best shots. The ones full of life and emotion. These shots are the real deal…no acting, no posing, just being. Beautiful people showing beautiful emotions at every end of the spectrum of human expression.
When you follow your loved ones around with your camera ready, you can catch them doing all sorts of things.
Like sleeping at the cafe:
Hanging out with a friend:
No need to catch the whole scene. Zoom right on in there and catch those wonderful facial expressions while they’re having fun. You can get so many emotions when they don’t know you’re looking, and you can learn so much just by watching people.
You can catch so many smiles of pure joy and amazement:
You might even catch the loving gaze of a young father as he watches his wife and child:
Love is always nice to catch on film:
And sometimes you catch people just lost in thought and wonder where they might be in that other-world of dreams and thought:
And catching shots of children exploring the world around them, playing, and just generally enjoying life…well, what’s better than that?
You might even get lucky and get a glamour shot or two along the way:
Then there are those times when you just catch families doing what families do:
And occasionally you might happen upon a fairy or two popping in for a visit:
Or Mother Goose showing off the goslings:
Or aspiring dancers putting on a practice performance or hanging out in their down time:
Or an aspiring musician putting on a street performance waiting to be discovered:
Or a couple of guys contemplating their next chess move:
But most days you’ll just catch beautiful ordinary people going about their beautiful ordinary lives:
So get on out there and capture a little life with that camera. Find the beauty in people and all of their emotions.