Sunday, August 2, 2015
From my years of experience as a photographer, I’ve learned that a person’s facial expression or body language can result in a photograph that either simply documents objective visual evidence of the person, or instead may capture a more expressive moment, transforming the scene into a memorable record of a life experience.
Let’s face it: Some people just don’t like to face it — the camera, I mean. Many people will feel awkward and get stiff and self-conscious when you point a camera at them, and the resulting photograph doesn’t capture the personality or emotion of the scene as you may have experienced it in the moment.
Here’s a simple tip that works for me: Try to maintain a conversation with your subject. This distracts people from thinking solely about how they need to look for the photograph.
While I’m figuring out an angle or location for the photograph or messing around with my exposure settings, I keep up a conversation and ask questions of the subject.
It often helps put the subject at ease and provides me the opportunity to pay attention to body language and expressions.
I even continue talking as I start snapping a few initial shots. It is often during this conversation that a subject will momentarily provide a natural or honest expression.
On my recent trip to South Korea, I was invited to join a group of South Korean men for lunch.
We couldn’t visit because of the language barrier, but we shared the food and smiled often.
At the conclusion, when I pointed at my camera and stood up to snap a photo to document the scene, nobody smiled.
Thinking fast, I aimed my camera again and loudly said “1,2,3… kimchi!” That did the trick, bringing on the smiles and revealing a much more appealing photograph that better represented our shared experience.
— Chief Photographer Mike Yoder can be reached at 832-7141.