I went back and read my previous Top 5 Tips here, and I realized a few of them could be improved… and I also rewrote everything… This is one of the good things about having a blog — I can always change my mind like a woman. (I see the benefits, now).
5 More Tips for Photographing People
I hope they help!
1) If you prefer to take photos of people as they are acting naturally, go ahead and take the photo before they notice you. You are a photographer, and this is you. You capture life… if you see something interesting whether it is a landscape, a pile of peaches, or a person that strikes your fancy, go ahead and do it. If you like and it is convenient, you can always go show them the photo after you are done. I do this whenever it makes sense, and I have a nice little interchange with the person.
2) Keep an extra camera ready for people shots. When walking the streets, I normally have my “big” camera ready to go for city landscape shots. My tripod is on. My wide-angle is on. It’s in that “mode.” If I am going to have to switch lenses, it will take forever, and the moment will be lost. So, I carry a second camera on a sling around my shoulder for people shots. On that camera, I have an 85mm or 50mm prime lens. Now, you don’t have to have this exact setup by any means, but having ANY kind of second camera for people shots is recommended.
2b) I find that the 85mm prime keeps me outside something I call the radius of intimacy. That is, when you use a 50mm, you are so close that people often stop acting naturally, unless they are a professional model or a natural thespian.
3) If they ARE likely to notice you, be confident and deliberate, softly asking permission with your eyes. This is a very subtle and hard thing to explain. I usually raise my eyebrows while I raise my camera, clearly indicating, “I’m about to take a photo. Everything is okay.” If they don’t want you to, they will make it clear. Usually, they say it’s just fine. People like to be thought of as interesting.
4) If they are very close, I ask permission out loud. Often times, I don’t want them to pose… so I say something (smiling!) like, “You look very interesting — can I take a photo?” Once they say yes (98% of the time they do), I usually ask them not to pose and carry on about their business. Then I start taking a bunch of photos and enjoy the pressure of capturing the moment.
5) Don’t be shy! If you feel overly shy, it may be a larger indication that you are letting fear motivate you rather than the opportunities that life provides. So, if you feel doubt or fear, just try to channel me and be brave and forthright.
Daily Photo – Old Woman in Beijing
I spotted this old woman walking along the outside of the Forbidden City. Just like above, I took photos without any hesitation before she noticed what was going on. I shared the photo with her after, and we had a nice little moment.
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We already have the very popular HDR Tutorial here on the site that shows you how to make these sorts of photos. But, I thought you’d like to know that I’m going to update the whole thing and show you how I made the first space shuttle shot below. I like to update the tutorial every three months or so, but this one will have many excellent updates… so get ready for that!
Best of NASA
I’m sad the Space Shuttle program is ending, but NASA says it’s not the end of human spaceflight for the US. Since I was lucky enough to be invited by NASA, I got to go into a cool area to see some of the next-generation capsules they’ll be putting atop new rockets. I didn’t know if I was allowed to get photos or not… but I will talk to them and see if we can arrange something special in the future.
Anyway, I wanted to put some of my favorite NASA shots below for you… sort of a celebration of awesomeness.
I felt lucky to be one of the last people to get a NASA escort out to the launch pad, on this final night for the Space Shuttle program and the Atlantis. It was truly beautiful evening, and things were peaceful and calm. I felt like I had a personal moment with the mighty rocket… I’ll never forget it.
There is an important retraction event that takes place about 24 hours before the actual launch… it is a special time… I think of it like an athlete taking off his sweats before an Olympic event.
NASA also has all sorts of these awesome “relics” laying around, just generally sitting there and being awesome. But, the Saturn V is already impossibly awesome.
18 minutes till the launch. Newsmen from around the world go live while they go through their Ron Burgundy vocal preparations.
Both launches saw incredible storms hit the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) a day before the planned launch. This one rolled in the first time I visited NASA… I’ll never forget it because I was standing by Levar Burton and a NASA gal came out and said, “We have a Level 2 lighting alert! You have to get inside!” To this, Levar Burton asked, “Is that anything like a Level 3 Diagnostic?”
This is my favorite shot of Endeavor as it wormholed into the low cloud layer. It was still accelerating at this point, so it looked like the cloud literally “sucked” it up.<
Your Favorite Cultural Clothes
What country/culture has your favorite clothes? Is it something exotic like ancient China, or modern like stylish India? Or maybe it’s something more tribal or more formal… I think most people tend to like stuff that is quite far away from where they live… and the further, the better and more exotic! But, I wondered what your favorite was…
Daily Photo – Walking Across the Old Bridge
While in China, one of the small towns I visited had several little low walking-bridges across the river. It was the sort of river that was too shallow for boats, but good for fishing and washing clothes.
This one was in a residential and commercial area. Many of the women wore colorful dresses and walked back and forth across… it all seemed very nice and peaceful so I grabbed an image.
After the Shuttle Atlantis
I had a great day at NASA. I haven’t slept much… I’m really on fumes at this point. But it was all worth it and a very nice experience all around.
After the shuttle went off and broke through the clouds, I turned around for a while to collect my thoughts… Unbeknownst to me, my friend Stu Maschwitz (from Prolost.com) took this photo of me… I don’t post a lot of these, but thought you might like to see it… BTW, Stu’s wife is making some awesome shuttle tees that are stylish and unique…might be worth a look if you are a fan of all this space stuff like me!
Robert Scoble also posted a photo of me before the launch itself. He ended up with a nice shot too… I told him right where to stand, and he was so excited when he got the shot! Haha it was hilarious because he came running across the field, waving his laptop in the air yelling, “I love you Trey! I love you Trey!” Hehe…but, besides the good advice on the spot, he still got a great shot at 400mm on his own.
Daily Photo – The Shuttle Rips Space/Time at the End of an Era
I’ll try to describe the sound.
Since this is as close as you can get, and this is 3 miles away, it takes a while for the sound to get to you. And it does rush across the water in a rumbling, tumbling way like you might expect. But then, after that, something other than sound starts to come across the water. It’s a series of concussive waves that vibrate your entire skeleton and thrum through your soul. It’s not a steady din of vibration, but a violent staccato rhythm of unseen forces that cause a tremulous cadence around and through your chest.
This is the final space shuttle launch of our lives. And so we could not help but be reminded of this finality when this unearthly sound combined with the final sight of the lonely craft arcing away into space.
OTW To Florida
I’m coming in for the final shuttle launch and I heard about a secret thing… Nikon has a special room/building at NASA that is full of lenses and all kinds of awesome stuff! I just need my NPS (Nikon Professional Services) card and I can be a kid in a candy store. Now, all of this sounds way too good to be true, but I’ll swoop in there to get the full scoop and let you know. (I even heard they have a 1200mm prime laying around!)
Daily Photo – The Endeavor Lifts Off
So, when I took this, I was using two different cameras. The first one was my D3X with the 28-300mm lens on a tripod, and that is how I got this one. It’s an HDR from a single RAW.
Not long after this, the buffer filled up and it started to shoot slowly, so I went to my second camera around my neck, the D3S with a 50mm prime. And I got the second shot below.
I’m usually pretty good about tagging the daily entries with categories. If you see one that interests you, just click on the tag at the bottom. For example, this one is in China, so clicking that will take you to all the China photos. I only put up about 15 per page, so if you click “Previous” at the bottom, you’ll get another set of 15, and so on.
Daily Photo – Shopkeeper in Beijing on Steps
I carry around two cameras so I can get things like this. I keep my main body affixed to my tripod with whatever lens fits the bill. This is either a the 14-24 or the 28-300. I keep my second camera with a prime — either the 50 or 85 prime.
I was taking photos of the festive street at dusk, and I noticed this shopkeeper out taking a rest. I’ve always admired how people can rest in this position. I can only sit in that position for about 15 seconds before I scream in agony and my patellas pop off at a hyperspeed tangent.
Tips for Managing Airports:
1) Bring snacks from home – You can’t ever find just what you want at the airport… and, when pressed, you may end up getting crappy food that makes you feel kind of junky on the plane.
2) Laugh at the TSA – It is indeed “security theater” as you watch them pat down grandmas and children. I’ve seen so many stupid things they do just to give the “impression” of security, that I try not to get mad any more… and I just try to remember that TSA stands for Tub Stacking Authority. And, also, whenever possible, travel outside of US Airports, where they treat you like a human and not a guy in line at Taco Bell. Try the Japanese airports and you will have a happy experience.
3) Watch people’s eyes – I like to analyze people by looking at the way they are taking in the world around them. It’s very interesting… maybe you can see it too… when people just have a look in their eye like they’ve given up on life. You know what I mean… and then you see the eye of some other people and they look amazingly full-of-life and ready to engage in the world.
Daily Photo – Snowy the Snow Monkey
This little guy and I had a little friendship after a few days.
I spent time all over the hills and rivers here outside of Nagano taking photos of these snow monkeys. And you get to know them after a while… there are a few that you see over and over again. I started giving them names… the same way my daughter gives names to everything… and all the names were quite childish… Like I called this guy, “Snowy.” It wasn’t very creative, but he didn’t seem to mind.
He followed me around morning and night. And he posed… oh how he loved to pose. Some other monkeys I got too close too and they gave me the wide-mouth attack move…. but I never got too close to Snowy. I didn’t want to ruin the little grizzly-man thing we had a-goin’ on.
Daily Photo(s): The Airship Isabella
During SXSW, I ended up at a party that had a pretty big steampunk contingent, which is of course very cool to me. I thought I had some good steampunk stuff from Burning Man until I saw these guys…
This was at the Big Bang Bordello Party put on by True Ventures and Tunehopper. It was super-crowded, like most decent SXSW parties, and there was a raucous stage show with a bunch of gals in lingerie and stuff. Is it lame that I hung out with all the steampunk guys in the back? Yes, probably.
Many of them were crew from the Airship Isabella, and they had all kinds of inventive steam-powered goodies. What is Steampunk? Follow that link for the Wikipedia entry… and also, you may remember the Steampunk photo from Burning Man. If you’re looking for a good book in this genre, try “Boneshaker.”
Twitter and Twitter Lists
It’s been a while since I mentioned this stuff, and I know a bunch of y’all are on Twitter. A while back, I put together a bunch of “Twitter Lists” that will be helpful if you are new to Twitter or simply looking for more people to follow.
Daily Photo – Underwing
Here’s another handheld job from the Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. I sent out a tweet a few weeks ago and got in touch with the gal that works in the public affairs office… I twitter-charmed her into giving me the thumbs up to use a tripod next time! It took 140 delicate characters to make that happen… there are still more steps, but I am well on the way to getting proper permission. It’s too hard to sneak a tripod into this place… just forget it… armed guards and that sort of thing…
Thanks again everyone for contributing to Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva. I think we are over $11,000, and that is great. What have your experiences been like? Are people paying you back and you are reinvesting? I think all of my little loans have been paid back, so I gotta get back in there and find some new good entrepreneurs to support!
Daily Photo: The Golden Horse in Iceland
We worked on this one tonight in the webinar, and I hope people didn’t get too bored. It’s very strange, because I am talking to myself for over an hour, and I only get occasional feedback when Andrea stops watching reruns of Ricki Lake. Anyway, I’ll just assume that people like seeing it, since people keep showing up.