or a "genuine candid" of a sailor you just happen to see.
The technique is the same in both cases. All that is
important is for the pictures not to appear posed. The
subjects of candid photographs are not posing or acting;
they are simply being themselves and behaving as
though the photographer is not there.
The compactness of 35mm cameras make them
ideal for candid photography. SLRs with their fast,
interchangeable lenses, TTL metering, and large film
capacities make candid photography one of the most
rewarding areas of our profession. A long-focal-length
lens is also a good choice for this type of photography.
The long lens lets you maintain distance between
yourself and the subject, and, if people are aware of your
presence, they will not be as self-conscious. If you are
taking "real" candid shots, a long lens is a necessity.
When people know you are shooting them, get them
to occupy themselves, so they will "forget" there is a
camera watching them. Only then, can you get a truly
candid picture. When the person notices what you are
doing, ask their permission before you shoot. People
usually will not object, particularly if you are polite and
work quickly. Stay casual and relaxed. People soon get
used to seeing you with the camera, and you will be on
your way to some good candid pictures.
Preset your focus and exposure whenever possible
so you can respond quickly and avoid attracting
attention to the camera. Estimate the likely subject
distance, set it on the lens focus scale, and stop down for
greater depth of field. Camera handling must be fast and
smooth. Time does not allow for fumbling with camera
controls, flash equipment, exposure meters, and film
Keep alert, keep looking, and keep shooting. Shoot
plenty of film. Do not be stingy; in the long run, film is
cheap. You will miss enough good pictures by the very
nature of your subjects-people-and being tight-fisted
with film does not increase your chances for getting
good pictures.
Do not try to control the people you are shooting.
Let them assume a natural "pose" in an appropriate
setting. You may tell them, "please do not look at the
camera." Try to capture the details of their environment
in your pictures. This adds interest to what they are
doing. And finally, make your candid pictures reflect the
people and events around you.
There are situations when you do not have the time
for a candid approach, or it just is not feasible. You can
still produce interesting people pictures by using the
"frame approach."
The "frame approach" simply means posing your
subject in a situation or environment that is most
meaningful to the subject or assignment.
When your subject is a chaplain, place him before
a chapel or at a desk with a cross that is visible over his
shoulder. If the person is a Boatswain Mate, get him or
her on deck actually working on the job. Put the Navy
instructor near a blackboard or the pilot in an aircraft.
The frame approach works with people working in all
types of environments and ratings, such as Machinist's
Mates, Airman, Fireman, Personnelman, Opticalman,
and so forth. It works with just about everybody. It is
easy. Your subject is usually more relaxed in his or her
own environment, and props to work with are already
Before you approach an assignment, have the one
key ingredient to success in mind-a definite idea of
what you want.
In other words, plan ahead. Find out all
you can beforehand about the subject and the
environment. What could be worse than arriving at an
assignment and finding your "just average" Personnel-
man is really six-foot-four, completely bald, and
wearing thick bifocals. It might help to know that even
though you find the person in a "closet" called an office,
most of the work is done in the computer room down
the hall-the one with the banks of computers and tape
racks that make wonderful "frames."
There are some things you must remember. Use the
frame approach to maximum advantage. The first and
foremost is to exaggerate. Be sure to really have a frame
for your subject. If your subject is a legal officer, make
sure there is no mistaking that this person works in the
courts or with books and papers. If your chemist is at a
blackboard, make sure that there is something on it and
that the test tubes are not hidden or too few. Again,
You are going from three dimensions to
two. Do not be subtle. Your objective is to make a
meaningful picture of a person, not just an identification
shot. Vary your setup-get in tighter-back off
some-change camera angles-and keep the subject
The overall result of your efforts should be a unique
picture. Even if you were unable to capture the
personality of your subject, the picture should at least be
personable. This can be done by making the person a
prominent part of the picture. Photograph the person in
a meaningful environment, one that gives a sense of who
the subject is, and what he does, rather than leaving the
viewer with a sense of only what he looks like.

Basic Photography Course

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