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Anticipation: Shoot from the Hip Photography Part 6

August 5th, 2012 1 Comment

When shooting weddings, etc. some of the best shooting opportunities come after the ceremonies are over.  If you remain unobtrusive and stay in the background and use your anticipation, you can say goodbye to those same ol’ same ol’ photos of persons either looking self-conscious or giving you big bright smiles with a wave, and instead catch a lot of unaffected, natural candids.  During the post-ceremony festivities of an engagement, I noticed two little girls having an involved and animated tete-a-tete.  Watching them from the side of my eye and staying in cover of some guests, I hovered around, keeping my distance so as not to make them self-conscious and destroy the spontaneity.  As I watched them exchange their girlish confidences I anticipated a very pretty candid, and did what I had to do to capture the right moment.

Estimating the distance, I pre-focussed my zoom lens, set the flash on the narrowest aperture (aperture-control through flash) for that distance as I was estimating the distance and needed to maximize depth-of-field, and telephoto’ed up on my 70-210 mm zoom lens, not wanting to get too close to the girls but wanting a tight composition.  Anticipating the moment when I observed one little girl (the one on the right) lean in, giving me a profile, and the other wearing an excited grin, giving me a three-fourths, I took a step or two toward the girls, raised my SLR;  just as one of the little girls looked right at me with an impish grin while her little friend was solemnly whispering something (amusing? mischievous?), and that was the moment; I took one touch on the focus and zoom ring, and click!  All this took less time than it did for you to read about it!  I got a pretty and tightly-composed portrait (notice the white borders around this full, uncropped image) maximizing the film’s coverage area.  With one little girl full-face, the other one in profile; one little girl thrilled; the other serious, my anticipation paid off.

What this means is that when you’re anticipating a great shot, not only are you ready and prepared, you do have some time to set yourself up for the perfect picture.  These moments are fleeting so you may not have time to change a lens but you do have time to zoom it;  perhaps ‘pre-zoom’ it to the desired estimated focal length.  Your anticipation also allows you to set just the right shutter-speed and aperture combo, or over/under the EV.  But, above all, when you have anticipated the perfect candid, well, that means anticipate the instant at a future point that it’s going to occur by carefully and unobtrusively tracking the play or movement or reactions of your subject, and . . . shoot!.


One Response

  1. […] to being a playful kid – just what you wanted in the first place.  If you don’t push it, anticipate, and are ready to shoot from the hip, you may get a lovely […]

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