The Nerve to Shoot
video in public, I mean : ) I don't know if this is a problem for others embarking on the world of hybrid DSLRs or not, but it's taking time for me to feel comfortable shooting video in public places. Even with the small footprint of HDSLRs, I'm finding that people watch me, stop in front of me, and worst of all...run away when I point a camera at them. Not at all natural looking! I have a tendency to move the camera away or point it down when I start getting attention, and that can ruin the perfect shot.
It's more compounded because I come from a fine art background (and I'm an introvert), and don't have the experience that seasoned photographers bring to the "human" element of getting good "people" shots. There's much more to getting great video footage than using the right lenses, good camera stabilization, and proper audio...there is direct human interaction.
Part of my fear isn't just how people react - I worry about security in some places. Will I be stopped and harassed? I was once, at an amusement park, and they wouldn't stop until I accepted a "press pass" (even though I told them several times I wasn't with the press).
One lucky situation was at a performance of traditional Mexican dances by El Ballet Folklorico Nuestra Herencia at the Underwood Center’s Ice House during the Dia de los Muertos Procession in Lubbock, Texas. I was approached by the dreaded security guard, and he asked me what I was doing there. I told him I was a teacher sponsoring a student trip to see the procession events (which was true), and he actually took me through the crowd closer to the dancers to get a better view. Nice. So I'm thinking that directly approaching security first and explaining what I'm up to is a good idea. I'm finding that my Canon 7D with a big Tokina lens and a monopod isn't helping me blend into the crowd. Adding more gear to a rig would make me even more visible. I think more people are catching on.
I know the only solution I've come up with is to brave the real world and shoot as much video as I can. Hopefully practice in public will improve my people skills. I've been fortunate to get great video footage a few times...when people just forgot I was there. But I'd like to hear how some of you professionals deal with shooting on location in public places. How do you make people comfortable and get natural shots when you are just out and about with your camera (and you don't have a telephoto lens)?
- Victoria Taylor-Gore