Sniping has nowaday become a popular form of picture taking. Sniping is when you take other people’s picture discreetly. FYI, sniping is usually done on those handphone with cameras. So be warned that there are thousand of snipers out there, armed with Camphone (megapixel or VGA) trying to take pictures of anything. As per norm the preferences for subject matter is girls.
There’s also another technique which I’d like to call Daylight Murder as it involved you taking pictures openly. This for me is the best way, and perhaps much much more polite to the people around you. And you have no qualms about being caught. As you are already doing it in the open. Thus far I have had no legal problems with this technique. And it has worked wonders for me.
Back in the old days when I was in USM, I didn’t manage to do any sniping. Firstly coz back then, camphone was real expensive and I was already luggin around my huge Nikon F60. So basically its useless. As sniping demands that you be discreet and my Nikon tends to attract attention the minute I put my hand on it. But guess what, among the best pictures of people (girls :p) was taken on that camera, and I usually get permission first, or later :p
And I did dreamed of getting longer range zooms as to allow me to snipe from a distance, but as a lowly student I didn’t have the cash 😀 So I resorted to honing my people skill, and making them pose for me. 🙂 Or for the few, I’ll take the shot and tell them that I just couldn’t resist. 😀
Preference wise I like to take pictures with permission, as you won’t unnecessarily waste film on bad shots (remember film is expensive). So Daylight Murder is more of my style.
So here’s a few tip and tricks to get you started.
For Snipers. The basic is simple.
- Stay Low
- Turn off your cam’s sound effect if you don’t want to attract attention.
- Cover your camera with your hand
- Make it like your doing something else with it. SMS, playing game or anything (digicam won’t have any advantage for this)
- Get help from you friend, make him your shield, shoot from weird positions over his shoulder, in between his arms
- Try to get the smallest camera/camphone, with the best resolution, atleast 1 megapixel.
- Be Prepared.
- Always set your camera beforehand, a photo ops doesn’t come twice
- Memorize the necessary steps to take pic with your camphone. Models with a shortcut have an advantage
I don’t really have any experience doing this except once or twice with other’s people hardware. BTW. Handycams are good sniping tools coz they usually come with a substantial zoom which would cost way more with camera. And I have had good results from a Sony Handycams with a 22x zoom 🙂
For Daylight Murder, the basic is the same.
- Be Prepared
- When going out to take pictures, always prepare your camera before hand. If you prefer not to lose your photo ops, make sure the settings are all right. For me I set it to either Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority, And Auto or Nightshot for nights. Manual settings are for photoshoots only.
- Dress up like a photographer would, wear those photo vests (optional if u have the human skills 🙂
- Extra stuff for your camera if need be, battery and films (if using traditional camera)
- Human Skills
- Always carry a smile, dont scrunge your face or anything
- A polite word goes a long way in getting a good pic
- Sometime looking blur does the trick in getting your shot
- Develop some conversational skill, u may need it to cover up what you just did
You need not be discreet when taking pictures in this form, suffice to say, you shouldn’t be discreet else it would lose all the appeal and the fun. But taking cue from sniping, you could pretend to fiddle around your camera while doing it. Though my camera has this clicking sound that is very hard not to notice. 😀
I prefer taking pictures in this style when there is a large crowd. A convocation for once is a good place as there are tons of people and also people with cameras, so you wouldn’t seem out of place (only what you are doing is). A wedding, open days, are all good places to go do what you love best, taking pictures. (of girls)
My Favourite Modus Operandi
Usually this is my MO (modus operandi), I walk around the place carrying my camera loaded and ready to go. Upon acquiring subjects I would close in and take the pic while smiling. This would reduce the awkwardness that may follow. And as fast I can, I would turn and walk away and look like I’m busy. If you can’t or don’t want to elude the subject you may continue smiling and saying that you are taking candids, then continue walking. (Info: this is also a good pickup line, offer to send the pics to her :p) (BTW, I rarely do this anymore, not many opportunity)
My other MO, includes going close to people and taking blind shots (blind shots are taken without looking at the viewfinder. I have managed to score some portraits in this manner – huge pics just like ur passport photo :p) You can also do this while holding up your camera close to your face and pretend to fiddle with the viewfinder. A piece of cleaning cloth is very handy at this point.
My most used MO, is simply to go up to people and ask if they would like a pic taken. You never know if they are willing or not 🙂 It won’t even hurt a bit if they refused. And trust me when I say that this is my most successful and fruitful MO. I have gotten girls to pose single or in groups with this sytle. Even got one pic in which the girl was doing funny faces :p (and no she’s not my GF)
All in all, human skills are a must if you want to be a good people photographer. I do have to thanks my friends who have taught me to be bolder when taking pictures. But as my skills are not that good and my personal preference is taking panoramic views, so you won’t be seeing much of that part of me 🙂
* Sniping : The art of taking pictures discreetly
* Daylight Murder : The art of taking pictures with style.
*If you find this useful, please don’t hesitate to have a look at my wishlist 🙂
p/s: Sorry that I cannot post the pictures of people I have taken with this technique.
1. As most of the pictures that I have taken are taken with a solemn promise to the subject not to display it publicly 🙂
2. Also the issue that some of them are highly internet savvy and me not wanting to risk my own neck.
3. Some of them are already married /with bf after/before the pics… so again.. not risking my neck.
4. Too lazy to scan the photos hehe (come and help me scan 😀 )
Maybe later on in a private gallery for selected users 🙂 (or anybody that buys me a Nikon Coolpix 4800 :p )