If you want to capture genuine, candid moments in street photography, you need to be discreet. Oftentimes, getting noticed by your subject will completely ruin the moment you wanted to photograph. So, you need some techniques to stay unnoticed, yet don’t seem like a creep. In this video, Samuel Lintaro Hopf will show you ten tricks that will keep you low-key just the right way.
Samuel adds a healthy dose of humor to the video, demonstrating his ten techniques in a very amusing way. But although he’s goofing around in the video, you can definitely use these techniques to stay unnoticed by your subjects when doing street photography:
- Pretend to shoot something else
- Pretend to shoot video
- Blend in with the environment (see this super-fun project for some ideas)
- Make your friend complicit: pretend to show him photos on your camera’s display and take a photo of your subject
- Camp at a spot until nobody cares about you
- Turn around to shoot
- Pretend to have a phone call
- Use Wi-Fi to shoot remotely and view what you shoot on your phone
- Shoot from the hip
- Play dumb and pretend that you’re fiddling with the camera
Now, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing wrong in getting caught. You’re not doing anything wrong by photographing people in the street. If your subject figures out that you photographed them, just smile and say “Thank you.” Alternatively, you can keep looking through the viewfinder, smile and not. Samuel sometimes does it and it gives his subjects the sign that everything is okay and that he’s not doing anything to harm them.
Although there’s no expectation of privacy in public for either adults or children, I need to add something here. If you get caught and the person asks you to delete the photo, I suggest you just delete it. It’s not about law, it’s only about empathy and staying out of trouble. When taking photos in the street, be positive, be kind and keep a smile on your face. Don’t be afraid to get caught, but to capture perfect moments: do be discreet and a bit sneaky.
I’d like to hear from street photographers out there: what techniques do you use to stay unnoticed? Anything you’d add to Samuel’s list?