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Conclusion: Shoot From the Hip Photography Part 9

August 5th, 2012 No Comments

I have not explained one technique that can be employed to ‘shoot from the hip’.  That is to keep your camera trained at the general area of interest and use a focal length sufficiently low so as to cover a wide area, thereby guaranteeing capture of the subject, and then literally shoot from the hip and shoot at sight, secure that you will capture the subject somewhere within the frame.    I have not detailed this method because I do not recommend it: it brings about loss of the film’s frame area, and consequent graininess when the subject is cropped; in this digital camera age, it still means loss of resolution by way of ‘pixellation’.  One of the manthras of photography is, given the focal length you are working with, to get in tight with the subject or to eliminate extraneous and useless content, i.e. you are to compose in-frame in real-time so that your photographs will require the least amount of cropping, and this is a rule I like and respect because it is a very sensible one, and I think that it holds good even for the kind of photography covered in this article. 

Digital cameras, be they conventional or DSLR, make the skill-art of Instantaneous Shoot-from-the-Hip Photography much easier to learn and practice.  Excluding Hasselblad and Rolleiflex models which provided an image-viewer at the top surface of the camera, SLRs and other cameras required you to look through the viewfinder (unless you bought and attached a special accessory), and that meant holding the camera up to your face.  Not exactly subtle;  that meant anyone and everyone could tell exactly what you were up to!  Even city birds would be (and usually are) disturbed at seeing you raise and point a lens at them.  

But not anymore. Now, using LCD panels, you can compose a photograph holding the camera in a casual and offhand way (but do not compromise on a steady grip and end up with camera shake; that said, high-end DSLRs or their lenses now contain stabilizers!).  You can compose a photograph and get it off while pretending to be looking somewhere else;  a huge advantage in capturing natural candids and an even bigger plus in terms of snapping off a shot at precisely the right instant and not wasting an all-too-precious half-second (getting your camera in position).  This is because you can monitor any situation with your camera actually near your hip, allowing you to be more relaxed and natural, and can literally ‘shoot from the hip’. 

With the benefit of digital cameras, LCD panels, autofocus, stabilizers, and such, you can leverage the information presented in this article to become a photographic ‘Shoot from the Hip’ top-gun.  Ready, aim, fire!


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