|Photo Tip & Assignment #13 – COUPLES IN LOVELove is in the air!
In a couple of days, the streets will be full of… couples in love. While shops and restaurants try to attract more customers, photographers can take a step back and try to capture the real magic of Valentine’s day.
It is always a challenge to photograph people, specially people we don’t know, but there many ways to accomplish that.
One of the approaches is to become a distant observer with the help of a telephoto lens. Choose your background carefully, adjust the settings and wait until the right moment to shoot. Telephoto lenses are likely to cause camera shake because of two reasons: they are heavy and they narrow the angle of view, so any little hand move from the photographer can result in blurred images.
One tip to avoid that is using a shutter speed that is at least equal to the focal length. For example, if you use a 200mm lens, try to use at least 1/200 sec shutter speed (or faster). If ISO needs to be increased, do it! It’s best to have a grainy picture than a completely blurred one.
Another approach, used by Antonio Leanza to capture the image on the left, is using a compact camera and getting very close. Big cameras and big lenses tend to frighten people, so with a compact camera you are less likely to attract attention and more able to get close to the people you want to photograph.
“It is very important to have patience”, says Antonio. For an assignment about love in 2006, he had been photographing all day and was not totally satisfied with the images he had by night, so he decided to wait until the last tube train to go home.
“When I got to the station, I noticed the couple, as they were the only other people there” says Antonio. Slowly, he followed them and standing right behind them, photographed with a wide-angle lens using a slow shutter speed. The slow shutter speed blurred the movement of the escalator, but preserved the couple sharp. With a wide angle lens, even in dark light conditions, it is easier to hold the camera still..
The compact Leica camera was so silent that no one noticed the photographer. “The image does not identify the couple but their body language is so clear that there is no need to see their faces to know that they were in love”, points Antonio.
If you do get noticed, the best reaction is to smile. If you think you’ve got a great shot, offer to send it to the couple via e-mail. You will be surprised with how easy it is to get permission when you are relaxed and show a genuine respect for the people you photograph.
When doing posed portraits, try to avoid the cliches. Look for unusual angles of view, get people to be familiar with your presence, create rapport and let it flow. There are many ways to pose people together and even smart phone apps with tips for that. Make it fun! It’s always lovely to photograph love.
Upload your Couples in Love images to the Flickr Gallery: ASSIGNMENT #13 for a chance to win an Evening Workshop Voucher at LSP*.
Photo: Antonio Leanza / Text: Luciana Franzolin