OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE

I never liked to photograph people. When I exclusively photographed aircraft I did shoot the crews too, but that was all I did when it comes to photographing people. I’ve never been confident enough to do portrait photography and I never liked it, but recently, after a couple of years of shooting more than aviation, I did start to enjoy photographing people on my travels.

I had my first steps in photographing people when I visit Hong Kong almost two years ago. In the city I snapped some pictures where people were an important element. When visiting a smaller village I photographed some candid shots of the people at work. I didn’t dare to raise the camera and actually get super close for the picture, so most of them were made shooting blind. I also missed a lot of pictures because I felt uncomfortable invading people’s intimate bubble or shooting what felt to be private moments.

Although the pictures aren’t exactly the best, I was proud of them and I think that’s what set the tone for what I did in Nepal last April.

The colourful people of Nepal just asked to be photographed. I still didn’t really want to go too close so most of them were shot from a distance. On some occasions I didn’t have a choice and had to go closer and be more intimate than before.

The pictures above are similar to those of Hong Kong. The main focus is not the person I’m photographing. It’s about the bigger picture. The difference with the pictures below is that for the first time I did focus on the people without needing that bigger picture. I still kept my distance though and still missed some moments because I was too reserved.

In Mexico last summer I made another step in overcoming my fear of shooting people. In Mexico people didn’t seem to care too much and to be honest, I didn’t care anymore neither.

I just snapped away, both shooting blind and through the viewfinder. Some far off (more because I couldn’t get closer, rather than out of fear), some close to very close.

It’s not that I like these pictures more or less than those from Nepal, but it makes for a totally different style and vibe.

It had its advantages and disadvantages. Since some people noticed me taking their picture they reacted giving a nice interaction. On the other hand photographing candid moments or being this close to the person in the photo forced me to just take the picture, without much attention to composition and leaving more of the success to luck.

It’s been a learning curve for me but I learned a couple important things.

  1. Most people don’t care that you take their picture.
  2. Just take the picture and don’t let a good opportunity go to waste.

Looking forward to see what photos will come out of the short trip to New York next week.

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