Need some tips on shooting people.


Father Ted

Link Posted 01/12/2015 - 21:47
I've been asked to take photos in work to put on our website. You know the sort of thing, people at their desks with huge grins etc.
I learnt my first lesson : nobody wants me to take their photo!

Has anyone got any tips for someone who feels really uncomfortable photographing people, taking photos of people who are uncomfortable being photographed?
Also, tips on staging etc. I've got some ideas about light (natural) but have only "vintage" flash units available to me.
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.

johnriley

Link Posted 01/12/2015 - 21:52
Talk to people. Explain what you need to do and include them in the process. Available light would be my choice, using reflectors if necessary.

It's as much about communication as it's about photography. It will become easier with practice, but if you really don't want to do it you could always decline?
Best regards, John

Jimd

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 06:51
If you have any, pick on the extrovert characters first. They tend to look on it as a bit of fun and drag the quieter ones out.

QuestionableCarrot

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 10:05
Ted

I have photographed hundreds of people for my "Street Stranger" project.

Check out my shots on my portfolio. PM me if you want to discuss...

QC
Learn how to live and you'll know how to die; learn how to die, and you'll know how to live.

Check out ones photographs on Flickr!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/awprentice/

scarr1

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 11:03
I don't know if this applies everywhere, but in a work environment I think you need to have the employees permission to take the photograph, and consent for an image to be used.
I have had a similar thing where I work, and I had to sign a release form for any images that I was in, to be used on our website.

I know this doesn't help with the question you asked, but if someone is uncomfortable with being photographed (at work), they can refuse.

go with Jimd advice above as a start.

walkeja

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 11:41
I am tempted to say someting along the lines of a sniper rifle and telescopic sight, but I won't.
Pentax K1-ii and MZ6
Pentax Lenses 28-80 F, 300 DA*, 80-200 F, 35 F2.4 AL, M50 F1.7, 28-105 DFA, 20 F4 SMC
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McGregNi

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 14:57
These days I find myself a little uncomfortable when I refer to 'shooting' for 'photographing'. It's clearly a common convention in the photography world, and we all know what is meant. The combination of 'shooting ' and 'people' though, sounds off the linguistic alarm bells, I must admit.

It's mainly about context I think. If the thread title had appeared on the 'Rifle Hunters Forum' no doubt it would have attracted instant attention. Here it is understandable, but its always good to think of other ways to say things, especially in this rather charged and sensitive world these days. It we want to keep using 'shooting' then perhaps instead of 'people' we could substitute 'portraits' .... ?

FatherTed, whatever you call it, I say go for it, and keep it fun. Don't forget to crank up the ISO indoors ... Nothing worse than struggling with blurry shots in available light, and if you want to avoid the awkward pauses and poses then you're best to go quickly and keep rattling them off to catch the little moments. For that I'd say start at ISO 1600 as a minimum, and even 3200. For typical portrait focal lengths you'll need shutter 'speeds' of at least 1/160 sec, and more ideally 1/250 or more.

Take time before to fine tune your White Balance setting. Start with an appropriate pre-set, perhaps one of the fluorescent options, then fine tune to match colours you see in front of you to those on the camera screen.

I would most likely do this with on-camera fill flash from a flashgun with a lightsphere diffuser, and try and mix in some ambient light as well, but that would be automatic flash in this situation .... Your project here is probably not the right time to start experimenting with manual flash and the various settings you'd need to juggle for that, so I'd go for the available light and use all the good suggestions that people have made here ..... Good luck!
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
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Mag07

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 18:30
walkeja wrote:
I am tempted to say somheting along the lines of a sniper rifle and telescopic sight, but I won't.

Glad to know I am not the only one who thought that... :p The title is just wrong...
'Photography...it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten....' (Aaron Siskind)

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 21:56
I've done this in my own office and have a few things to comment that I think will help.

1. Use as small a lens as possible. Big lenses (and cameras) are intimidating. I found the DA 70mm ideal for this purpose.

2. If someone really doesn't want their photo taken then don't force the issue.

3. Have a "helper", even if they do nothing more than ask people if they're willing to participate. This will help create more of a team spirit and make you appear less like just one guy doing a task and more like a team organising a fun activity. If the helper is an extrovert and knows everyone then much better.

4. If you use a flash then make sure it's bounced off a ceiling. You'll probably need to go to manual mode if you only have vintage units but within an office it's unusual for light to vary drastically. Unless you have really good natural light available then bounced flash is the best thing for improving overall IQ.

5. Show the people the photos straight away to make sure they approve. Do a good job and they'll be glad they chose to participate.

6. Make your workflow as fast as possible. Get your settings right and shoot jpeg for speed and to avoid the temptation of PP'ing every photo. This will depend on the numbers though - I did this for around 130 people and had to get them to a computer, arranged four to a sheet of A4 and printed, all in the same day. If you're doing fewer then you may have more time to retouch.

7. I printed something akin to contact sheets with file names so that people could identify their own photo and I could send them the original for their use. Many ended up as intranet ID photos at work or on facebook or linkedin.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

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Father Ted

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 23:27
Thanks for all of the tips.
Apologies if the title caused offence, it was designed to be tongue in cheek, but then, I suppose sensitivities are higher these days and I should have thought of that.

The light can be very good in a lot of the office spaces in late afternoon, so I was hoping to use that, but fill in bounced off the ceiling is a good idea.
I also like the idea of working quickly and avoiding poses. My boss wanted it done last month but I've not had any time. But, that might play into my hands as I can catch the pre-Christmas high spirits to keep it all fun.

If/when these go on the website I'll post up a link here for C&C.
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.

davidtrout

Link Posted 02/12/2015 - 23:50
I'd would make a few points Ted.
1: Who has asked you to do pictures for the company website? If its the management then your colleagues can hardly object to you snapping them.
2: Its plain silly to take offence at your choice of title. This is a photo site and its obvious what you meant.
3: Some good advice has already been given by previous posters, for instance keep up a dialogue with the subjects and try to avoid flash. If your's is a modern office it will probably have great big windows so light should not be a problem. Up the ISO a bit if needed. Colour cast may be a problem, offices tend to have fluorescent or tungsten lights. I would leave colour cast corrections till later in Photoshop and not worry about it in camera.
4: Enjoy it, joke on with your colleagues as you work and keep chatting. It will put them at ease as well as you.
David
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 02/12/2015 - 23:52

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walkeja

Link Posted 03/12/2015 - 10:39
Father Ted wrote:
Thanks for all of the tips.
Apologies if the title caused offence, it was designed to be tongue in cheek, but then, I suppose sensitivities are higher these days and I should have thought of that.

The light can be very good in a lot of the office spaces in late afternoon, so I was hoping to use that, but fill in bounced off the ceiling is a good idea.
I also like the idea of working quickly and avoiding poses. My boss wanted it done last month but I've not had any time. But, that might play into my hands as I can catch the pre-Christmas high spirits to keep it all fun.

If/when these go on the website I'll post up a link here for C&C.

Didn't cause offence with me, just my quirky sense of humour.
Pentax K1-ii and MZ6
Pentax Lenses 28-80 F, 300 DA*, 80-200 F, 35 F2.4 AL, M50 F1.7, 28-105 DFA, 20 F4 SMC
ONE UNITED Member

gfurm

Link Posted 03/12/2015 - 12:17
walkeja wrote:
I am tempted to say someting along the lines of a sniper rifle and telescopic sight, but I won't.

I was going fo shotgun but then I thought: better not.

Greg
Pentax K-3 II, DA 50/1.8, Sigma 18-35/1.8, DA* 300/4, 1.4x HD DA Converter

Father Ted

Link Posted 03/12/2015 - 19:32
Thanks David.
It was the MD who asked me, but I won't force the issue with those who don't want it....I'll just use a long lens and hide
Seriously, though, the comment that stands out most is to keep chatting and that has made me re-think what I want to do. I'm not going to invade their office to take photos, I'll just go along and have my camera with me.
Hopefully get some more relaxed shots that way.
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.

Fodwick

Link Posted 03/12/2015 - 22:08
Father Ted wrote:
Thanks David.
It was the MD who asked me, but I won't force the issue with those who don't want it....I'll just use a long lens and hide
Seriously, though, the comment that stands out most is to keep chatting and that has made me re-think what I want to do. I'm not going to invade their office to take photos, I'll just go along and have my camera with me.
Hopefully get some more relaxed shots that way.


Come and see the beautiful things I see in the ordinary world.
Richard
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