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Candid photography! :)

shadow18 9 406 England
8 Nov 2012 4:12AM
Hello!! Just today, I was asked to take some photos at my church during the next couple months. He wants candid photos, and I think he is planning on showing them in a slide show during a special service, like around a holiday or something.

Basically, I am kind of nervous because he said "It will be nice to have such professional, quality photos, which I know you can take!" so I am just hoping I can live up to this expectation! Also, I get nervous when I take candid photos because many people don't like their picture taken. Basically, I'm just wondering the best approach for this. Because I'm going to be taking a lot of candid photos, so I don't want it to be awkward all the time! Is there a way to try to be inconspicuous?

Also, any other tips on candid would be appreciated!

Oh! And basically, he's leaving everything up to me, like however I want to take pictures. He said I am the professional, so it's up to me! I am not a professional, but he's probably just being nice.
It's not a huge deal because it's volunteer, but it would be nice to build my reputation!

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8 Nov 2012 6:07AM
I noticed in your portfolio that you have both a Powershot G6 and an EOS 20D. If I were you, I'd start by using the powershot with all the sounds turned off. Nothing subtle or inconspicuous about a DSLR, and the shutter noise is disturbing. Or perhaps use your powershot for the service but your DSLR during the noisy hymns or something.

Seeing as you have the Church's blessing,The best approach is probably to ask the Vicar to announce you'll be taking some photos during the next service and then just snap away. People will act pretty normal that way. Wait until they are focused on something (singing, praying, listening intently to a sermon) and snap their photo then. Don't over focus on one person because it'll unnerve them, take one photo of one person and then swap. Make it 'snappy' (get it?) too - if you're sat there zooming in and out on someone for 3 minutes to compose a shot, they're going to feel uncomfortable.

Maybe do a practice session before it starts. Get a friend to sit in various places in the church at about the same time of day you will be working, experiment with the camera settings in the light conditions until you get photos. If you do it the week before, upload them here for critique and you might be able to get some good feedback before you do the real run! This will avoid too much experimentation on the day.

There are many wedding photographers on here that will give you better advice than this too, I'm sure.
779HOB 8 1.2k United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 6:29AM

Quote:Because I'm going to be taking a lot of candid photos,

My advice would be don't. Don't take a lot that is. Watch the people, see who you want to photograph, wait and watch them, like fishing. Then move in and take the photo and move out again. Wait, watch, move, snap. But don't take hundreds. You won't want them all. Try to get some of everyone, or at least the "important" people in the community, don't under estimate how people will feel if you miss them out.

I guessing the church will be telling people what you are doing so that will help. I would go as many times as you can. Even if you don't take good photos on the first couple of visits. These are for you to become part of the furniture and for people to get used to seeing you there with your camera.

Be confident. It sounds like a fun assignment. As a note, I would ask to be paid too, but that's because I don't think you should life a camera for someone else if they aren't paying.
sherlob Plus
14 3.1k 129 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 7:00AM

Quote:Seeing as you have the Church's blessing

For me this is the 1st issue - because it isn't clear that you do have the churches blessing. The church isn't 1 man - even if he is the pastor (or whatever). People can be protective of their faith. The act of expressing faith in church can be intimate, leaving the person feeling vulnerable - for some (e.g. in prayer) it is a private time between the individual and there god. I imagine some won't be very happy to have their photo taken at such a time.

If, as I suspect, it is the pastor who has approached you. Ask him to raise the issue at the next congregation. This could be done in a positive light - like reassuring individuals that if they show that they dont want their image taken you will withdraw, that if they see your camera pointing at them, if they consent, they should just carry on with what they were doing regardless.

Without reassurances that the congregation is giving permission I wouldn't touch this as a project.

User_Removed 10 4.6k 1 Scotland
8 Nov 2012 7:40AM
I am sure that if you believe there is a god, he/she will be looking over you shoulder and keeping you right.

And Sherlob's suggestion that you get the minister to at least pre-warn his flock in advance is very sound.

By the way, congratulations to you Americans on your election result. The world seemed a slightly safer place yesterday.
widtink 7 406 2 Scotland
8 Nov 2012 9:00AM
Cunning disguise is the only answer , maybe a tree Wink

puertouk 8 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 10:02AM
Try and get shots of individuals, cropped tight, as they sing or are in prayer. There facial expressions are what you are after. Try and keep a low profile, by not standing, but either kneeling or sat in the aisle. First of all, take some shots of the minister at the alter, as this will allay any fears of some of the congregation.

Check out the lighting conditions before the service starts. Look for any sun rays that might enter the church through windows, as they can be your winning shots. Look out for kids, as they tend to fidget in their seats, as their parents tell them to behave or one might have his finger up his nose! These are the type of candid shots I would look out for.

Personally I would take plenty of shots, as many, you will decide are not good enough, so you need quite a few to be able to choose from. All top pro´s take hundreds of shots and whittle them down to keepers. If you only take a few shots and only have a few keepers, well, that won´t be a good slide show, would it! If there´s a mezzanine above that looks down on the congregation, take a few shots up there.
shadow18 9 406 England
8 Nov 2012 2:43PM
Well, it is actually my own church, so that is why I'm doing it volunteer. Also, I will just be less nervous that way.
We have a small congregation, and I am sure I have the church's blessing!
I might still ask him to announce it though because I think that that is a very good idea as it may prevent awkwardness!

Here's kind of what I am working with:
My pastor asks me about taking pictures the next few months and describes the idea while everyone is milling about at the end of a service. One person hears and they're like "oh no! Louise is going to be taking pictures! I'd better hide!" lol. they like me, but I think everyone's gonna try to hide, haha! seriously! Even though that lady was being silly!
779HOB 8 1.2k United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 2:46PM

Quote:they like me, but I think everyone's gonna try to hide, haha! seriously! Even though that lady was being silly!

They will I expect but that's why it's good to go there and not worry about the photos to start with as much as getting them used to you being there. They will soon forget what you are doing.
Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
8 Nov 2012 9:09PM
Get stuck in and shoot it like a documentary, no need to be candid about it.

Milton Rogovin started out like you after being asked to take pictures at a friends church service, it made him famous Smile
shadow18 9 406 England
8 Nov 2012 11:07PM
Wow! That video is inspiring!
Makes me remember why I love photography so much in the first place. Get to document people's lives, capture moments, capture their expressions!!

I will try to remember that instead of thinking about people running to hide! Lol! Wink

I will probably start taking photos in maybe 2 weeks and will upload some to the gallery then. Smile

Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
8 Nov 2012 11:09PM
Start this weekend and get some practice in Smile
B_Real 14 126 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2012 1:43PM

Quote:Get stuck in and shoot it like a documentary, no need to be candid about it.

Hold onto your hats folks, for once.... I agree with Paul Morgan....

shadow18 9 406 England
10 Nov 2012 4:22AM
Well, I so would start this weekend but I have to work on Sunday. Tongue

I hope I will still feel just as inspired next Sunday, when I'm gonna start some practice! Then I'll shoot again the next Sunday. Smile I think I may have about a month actually or maybe even longer for this particular project. Smile

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