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Thread: How to do candids?

  1. #1

    Default How to do candids?

    Hi guys,

    Just wondering how you shoot photographs of strangers on the streets without offending them? Is it alright, or ethical to take photo of them unaware? and let's say I want to send the photo to a competition, do i have to bother about getting the permission of my subject?

    For example, I shoot a photo of a beggar...Do I have to ask him for permission, but then if he knows i'm taking a photo of him, his actions and expressions will appear staged?

    and If I want to send his photo to a competition, do I have to tell him?

    What is the proper etiquette in this case?

    'd appreciate if e pros could enlighten me.
    Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to do candids?

    disclaimer: i'm no pro on this...

    but for me i do a fair bit of tummy-shooting sometimes.. that is, holding the camera at waist level.. results have been not bad, with the odd angle lending the pictures a rather creative edge..

    if i'm not wrong, as long as you're not selling the photo, the subjects of your pictures can't take any legal action against you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluemystery View Post
    Hi guys,

    Just wondering how you shoot photographs of strangers on the streets without offending them? Is it alright, or ethical to take photo of them unaware? and let's say I want to send the photo to a competition, do i have to bother about getting the permission of my subject?

    For example, I shoot a photo of a beggar...Do I have to ask him for permission, but then if he knows i'm taking a photo of him, his actions and expressions will appear staged?

    and If I want to send his photo to a competition, do I have to tell him?

    What is the proper etiquette in this case?

    'd appreciate if e pros could enlighten me.
    it is perfectly alright and ethical to take photo of them unaware; so long as you do not show them too much attention. there are many unwritten rules, i suppose; if you are alone, do not stalk the subject.. if you are in a group, do not crowd the subject. i remember there was once a thread posted during a mass outing, i did not comment, but i was very disgusted by the behaviour displayed there; 5 or 6 photographers crowding a poor old auntie trying to pick up cardboard in chinatown area.

    also, if the person displays unhappiness when you are taking his/her photo, stop; this is not just for ethical concerns, you also want to avoid trouble, right? if they walk over, be polite, if they ask you to delete the photo, accede to their request; technically you have the right to keep it, but i think it is only fair if they really do not want their photograph taken.

    if you want to send the photograph for a competition, i sincerely doubt that you need to ask their permission; i have hardly heard of such a case for concern.

    if you feel shy, then use telephoto lenses which are longer. or you can be like me, i use my 10-20 to shoot street because no one thinks i am shooting them, they can only visualise that i seem to be shooting something very near them but not them

    the standard procedure, from my experience, and i shoot so close up that you can be assured that it usually is ok; you take 1 or 2 shots.. if they seem ok with it, take 1 or 2 more, and that's it. don't sit there and follow them around, and if they seem uneasy, leave them alone, the body language will tell you what they feel.

    if you are wondering about more posed style shots, then maybe you want to ask the people who seem to do it quite well - asterixsg comes to mind, i have never been able to get the sort of portraits that he gets during travel.. he is perfectly comfortable with walking up and asking the people for their photograph.. and i admire him for that.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Heya...Thanks for the replies. Lingus, how do u shoot from your waist...How do you know what you are focusing on? lol. Seems a great idea, just that photos without my eye behind the viewfinder almost always turn out blurred, as in e focus is wrong.

    I wonder how we can be more discreet. Ok, other than owning a telephoto lense which is what I hope for but way off my budget.

    I must say...I get frightened off when People give me that "look"...I guess, just gotta be thick-skinned and Just DO IT...

    I wonder how those photographers in IRAQ do it...Amidst all e bombing, n yet still have the nerve to take people who are already in despair.
    Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Being a noobie, I'm trigger happy. I try to do my settings camera of the same distance of the subject. After which I just aim and click. It should be a noob problem but 60% of the time, the subject has moved on & lost the moment....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to do candids?

    here's where autofocus comes in! just half-depress the shutter button, hear ur camera do the focusing, then SNAP!

    as long as the lighting conditions allow a high-enough shutter speed and there aren't other nearer objects that ur cam can focus on it should turn out ok..

    bluemystery, you're right.. it takes a lot of courage to photograph pple openly. it'll take time to get used to the cold glares..

    but sometimes, when i do ask my subjects for permission prior to taking photos, they are surprisingly willing! you could take a shot at that too..

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    well... for me i guess its much easier... if street photography is really you passion, olympus E330 is very very good... you can take at belly level while looking and composing ur subject through the liveview on the articulating LCD... and they won't even know you're taking them! haha... go give the camera a look. know what you want to shoot before getting the camera that suits it would be the best sometimes

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluemystery View Post
    Hi guys,

    Just wondering how you shoot photographs of strangers on the streets without offending them? Is it alright, or ethical to take photo of them unaware? and let's say I want to send the photo to a competition, do i have to bother about getting the permission of my subject?

    For example, I shoot a photo of a beggar...Do I have to ask him for permission, but then if he knows i'm taking a photo of him, his actions and expressions will appear staged?

    and If I want to send his photo to a competition, do I have to tell him?

    What is the proper etiquette in this case?

    'd appreciate if e pros could enlighten me.
    My only 2 cents :
    I think it's a unwritten and unspoken "rule" not to shoot homeless, desolate or destitute to enter into competition. I think it's ok if the intent is to highlight their plight and not for any personal gains involved...

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Quote Originally Posted by waycool View Post
    My only 2 cents :
    I think it's a unwritten and unspoken "rule" not to shoot homeless, desolate or destitute to enter into competition. I think it's ok if the intent is to highlight their plight and not for any personal gains involved...
    hi there waycool,

    on this point, i think i have to disagree to a certain extent - intent is not easily measured. and if a photograph which does the first, despite getting the second, is better than not having the first or second at all, is it not? hope you get what i mean, cheers.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Quote Originally Posted by waycool View Post
    My only 2 cents :
    I think it's a unwritten and unspoken "rule" not to shoot homeless, desolate or destitute to enter into competition. I think it's ok if the intent is to highlight their plight and not for any personal gains involved...
    I do shoot them, i think that it is your intention that matter, it's wrong if you think that bw photos of poor or old people is art , but if you took to tell their story, their hardship , or as they are part of the lesson life give you, then it's fine, but shoot w respect, or they may treat you the same.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    i forgot that guy's name.. kevin carter. you can google for him, there is a good wiki article about him, and discussions have been held here about him in the past.

    Carter was the first to photograph a public execution by "necklacing" in South Africa in the mid-1980s. He later spoke of the images; "I was appalled at what they were doing. I was appalled at what I was doing. But then people started talking about those pictures... then I felt that maybe my actions hadn't been at all bad. Being a witness to something this horrible wasn't necessarily such a bad thing to do."[1]

    In March 1993 Carter made a trip to southern Sudan. The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to a young emaciated Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding center, wherein a vulture had landed nearby. He said that he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn't. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the little girl:

    "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene." [2]

    The photograph was sold to The New York Times where it appeared for the first time on March 26, 1993. Practically overnight hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask whether the child had survived, leading the newspaper to run a special editor's note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but that her ultimate fate was unknown.

    On April 2, 1994 Nancy Buirski, a foreign New York Times picture editor, phoned Carter to inform him he had won the most coveted prize for photography. Carter was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography on May 23, 1994 at Columbia University's Low Memorial Library.
    p.s. he committed suicide eventually.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    hi there waycool,

    on this point, i think i have to disagree to a certain extent - intent is not easily measured. and if a photograph which does the first, despite getting the second, is better than not having the first or second at all, is it not? hope you get what i mean, cheers.
    Quote Originally Posted by bahibo View Post
    I do shoot them, i think that it is your intention that matter, it's wrong if you think that bw photos of poor or old people is art , but if you took to tell their story, their hardship , or as they are part of the lesson life give you, then it's fine, but shoot w respect, or they may treat you the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    i forgot that guy's name.. kevin carter. you can google for him, there is a good wiki article about him, and discussions have been held here about him in the past.
    Agree. If by entering the contest, there's a chance for the "first" condition to be meet, then the "second" is considered a bonus. But I am sure we have all seen the "ugly" photographer...

    Anyway, consider humanity first before all else... perhaps write a simple note about the "subjects" plight and attach with the submission? maybe it'll help impact people when they read their story if your submission wins?

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    I hope the following can answer the question. Source: http://photojojo.com/content/tips/le...photographers/

    The Ten Legal Commandments of Photography

    I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

    II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.

    III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

    IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

    V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

    VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:
    accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
    bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
    industrial facilities, Superfund sites
    public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
    children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
    UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

    VII. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.

    VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

    IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

    X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.
    What To Do If You’re Confronted
    Be respectful and polite. Use good judgement and don’t escalate the situation.
    If the person becomes combative or difficult, think about calling the police.
    Threats, detention, and taking your camera are all grounds for legal or civil actions on your part. Be sure to get the person’s name, employer, and what legal grounds they claim for their actions.
    If you don’t want to involve the authorities, go above the person’s head to their supervisor or their company’s public relations department.
    Call your local TV and radio stations and see if they want to do a story about your civil liberties.
    Put the story on the web yourself if need be.

  14. #14

    Default Re: How to do candids?

    Nice tips bro

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadman1709 View Post
    I hope the following can answer the question. Source: http://photojojo.com/content/tips/le...photographers/

    The Ten Legal Commandments of Photography

    I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though itís technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

    II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, itís fair game.

    III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

    IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

    V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

    VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:
    accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
    bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
    industrial facilities, Superfund sites
    public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
    children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
    UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

    VII. Although ďsecurityĒ is often given as the reason somebody doesnít want you to take photos, itís rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a companyís trade secrets.

    VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

    IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

    X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you donít have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.
    What To Do If Youíre Confronted
    Be respectful and polite. Use good judgement and donít escalate the situation.
    If the person becomes combative or difficult, think about calling the police.
    Threats, detention, and taking your camera are all grounds for legal or civil actions on your part. Be sure to get the personís name, employer, and what legal grounds they claim for their actions.
    If you donít want to involve the authorities, go above the personís head to their supervisor or their companyís public relations department.
    Call your local TV and radio stations and see if they want to do a story about your civil liberties.
    Put the story on the web yourself if need be.

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