Monday, August 8, 2011

A Photographer's Woes

I have been working really hard on improving my photography. Photography is a fairly new skill for me and I take this hobby seriously. I enjoy every minute of it and I have progressed to the point where I can troubleshoot my photos. I am shooting on manual all the time. I really understand the exposure triangle. I am just beginning to understand photography as art. Mostly, I love this hobby because it provides a snapshot in time of my life. My life, which includes my family and my friends, is recorded for me. In years to come, these memories will be a source of great joy. I hope that I will also provide some joy, through our memories for my family.
But no matter how much I have studied, I still end up with photos that look like this:
From Nancy's News and Memories
Every time I pick up the camera, people hide. They either hide behind things, they cover their face with their hands, or they duck. Somehow, they make sure that their face isn't fully in the photo.

When I first started working as a nurse in a large downtown hospital, I saw my first cockroach. I learned that when I walk into a dark utility room and turn on the lights, cockroaches quickly scurry (as only they can) out to the periphery of the room and disappear. People can have a similar response when they see a camera. These chairs were vacated by friends of mine at our local knitting store:

Of course, my friends and family have learned from each other - we call this the Jen move:

Children don't see the need to hide. They allow their feelings to show. And, sometimes, you get priceless family photos that look like this:

I have tried to explain that I want to capture wonderful, candid moments. Moments that show real love and emotion, joy and happiness, family and friends. I have read articles dedicated to persuading people to allow their photo to be taken. Articles that describe ways to keep people from contorting their face or hiding their face when they see a camera. None of them have given me any insight. Do you have any insights that would work?

Leave a strategy in the comments - maybe we can help each other out!
See you soon!


Shoshanna said...

Love this post! No suggestions really..your photographs come out beautiful!

patricia said...

Nancy I still struggle with the same problem, but it is not as bad. I try to have my settings ready before they see the camera, but this does not always work. I otherwise just say to go about what you were doing "I'm just fiddling with my setting". Then try to shoot when they don't know it. I've told people to just "grow up and let me shoot". I have nieces who only want to smile and I've had to tell them to stop looking so happy and no "cheese", because like you, I want candid moments. I have a balance of both. Good luck and keep working it. Keep working in new strategies! Loved the post.

Marilou said...

Perhaps some help from my friend, alcohol? :)

kelleysbeads said...

I tell the anti-camera folks that they will NEVER have to see the photos later. And that I want to be able to remember them in photos of how they looked when they were young. Sometimes guilt will work, want your grandkids to be able to see that you were involved in their lives, right? When they're grown, what will they remember? And how will their memories be nudged if there aren't photographs to remind them?

Good luck, Nancy!