A couple years ago a girl with green hair walked just by me with a camera and took my picture.
I had pink hair myself.
She did it fast and inconspicuous, like pretending she was doing something else.
But I didn't care.
She could have said "Hey can I take your picture?"
Or just stood in front of me and taken it.
But again, I'm kind of an attention whore and I love to see myself in pictures.
This is my friend Fede.
I took his picture in the same way.
Here's what you do. Say you got a friend. He doesn't mind you taking his pic. You adjust the focus at a certain distance (you can use his belly, your extended hand, a tree, a dog with no tail, a submarine that's mysteriously very close, whatever) but not using his face (so he doesn't know you are gonna take his pic, get it?) and then you yell "Look a dog and a submarine!"
And you stick the camera in his face and shoot away.
If it's dark you should use flash (that's what I use cause I like the polaroid esthetics of a flash in the dark), and also you can use the burst mode in your cam or phone, it takes several pics per second .
These are Mara and Marcos, I met themin the brazilian northeast. I had my cam with meall the time and keept shooting away. Some are very cool.
Like this Haloween party on a rooftop, with a pool, praying mantis, beautiful people dancing away.
An individual will modify its behavior when observed.
Even when watching particles under an atomic microscope and stuff.
If you wanna capture a moment, you gotta get close enough without altering it. You gotta be quick and sneaky. What I do is shoot from below, from waist height, it's less intrusive than shoving in it their face. With enough practice you can shoot from any angle.
Of course a long lens with a zoom helps, but who has one when you need it?
These are my friends Palu on top, and Maili below.
The pic above is just one lucky shot from my bed, unprovoked.
For the pic below we took about fourty pictures.
You gotta "feel the movement" of the situation you are following...
Say you are at a parade. Try listening to the rhythm of people's steps, marching. Listen to the chanting and singing. Close your eyes if you want to. And when it feels like a photo moment, shoot away. Take a hundred pics if you wish, you'll find your lucky one when you see all of them (especially when talking photos of animals and nature).
Keep 'em relaxed
When I shoot a model or actor or something, I say:
- Take a deep breath, fill your lungs up, hold it till you can't take it anymore... now blow it out, now smile!
A bit of the hyperventilation you get in yoga and exercise, that clears the mind and softens the body, that works.
I also tell them to find a comfortable posture, the spine, the neck, the shoulders, should be in a natural, casual state, at least at first. Then you slowly drive them into character if you need.
- I'm not here, forget about the camera. If I need you to do something I'll tell you. Meanwhile, do anything you like. Or don't do anything at all!
People are concerned about the camera, it's only natural. You gotta make them forget about it. Chat with them about something else. I ask simple questions "What's your favourite animal, and why?"
If you wanna make them laugh, use the dog with no tail or submarine junk I said at first or anything outrageous like "Pretend your socks have worms in them!"
If you take a hundred potentially spontaneous pictures, you gotta edit the hell outta them.
Reframe, rotate, add contrast.
And one little trick I like, Instagram-like filters.
I use Pixlr to make bland pics look cool, it has a bunch of crazy vintage filters and it's free.
They work specially well with phone cameras of low resolution, or with photos a bit out of focus, shaky, underexposed. etc. You switch the attention slightly to a pure color.
These are my friend's kids, Nayah and Juli.
The first one has a purple Pixlr filter.
The scond one has some color and brigtness added, but the stereo eyes effect was just how the camera shot it.
The more you shoot, better the chances.
The more fish in the sea, the more bubbles they pop.
I took this picture in the dark. At a ballet recital, I aimed at her feet and shot once.
I love this pic cause I didn't change the focus or reframed or edited it. It was pure luck.
I think it's beautiful, but that's cause it's one of my lucky pictures.
And this one, this is my favorite.
This little girl grabbed my jacket, looked at me, and left.
I don't know why. But I had a gut reaction and shot away.
I love it.
Capturing spontaneity is a fluke.
Listen to what's going on around you, use your intuition.
You don't know if it will look good, but you can try and the result just might be awesome.
Send me spontaneous photos that you've taken, and tell me how you got them.