Shooting from the Hip

by Casey Keller 6 months ago in how to / art

How to discretely take candid pictures

Shooting from the Hip

Have you ever thought, "What makes a 'great' candid shot?" Or, "What do I need to learn to take a great candid shot?"

You have studied photography enough to know how to adjust the F-stop, -/+, and center to get great pictures with high quality. But how do you do it without having a camera in your face to get those great once in a life time candid shots of people?

This is something that I have learned many, many years ago from one of my photography mentors, Glenn Hollander. He taught me how to "shoot from the hip." What you're probably thinking from this phrase is seeing an old western film/movie with two gunslingers in a high noon showdown. That visual has no correlation, to photography though, so let me explain.

How you control the F-stop is by pressing the shutter button halfway down with one finger while using your trigger (no pun intended when shooting pictures) finger to adjust the wheel of the F-stop either to -/+ or center. You can't do this for candid shots of people, with your camera in your face.

Get your cameras ready. Ready, Aim... Shoot

"What?" You need to have your camera strap around your neck and hanging down, in the middle of your chest. You need to learn (by trial and error) where the lens and the eye piece are in alignment with what you want to shoot. Without looking like the paparazzi, find your target/person that you want to take a picture of, turn your camera on, make sure the lens cap is off. Set the camera's function to "no flash," as long as there is adequate lighting. If not, set your camera to auto. Do a half press of the shutter button to make sure that the flash doesn't engage. Set your lens to AF, do a half press of the shutter button, then shoot, and your camera will do all the work.

I will guarantee that if you use my method for shooting from the hip/chest that you will get those "GREAT" once-in-a-lifetime candid shots of people.

I love shooting candid pictures of people. You can get some of the most amazing smiles and faces full of emotions, especially when people are smiling with their eyes and not just their mouths. When people have no idea that you're taking their picture, especially at functions like weddings, receptions, family reunions, and baptisms, you get amazing pictures of people and their emotions—and that's the seller.

People will buy more into a picture and the photographer, if the photographer knows how to bring the emotion into his photography. That will make all the difference. Especially if you like doing stock photography or photography for magazines. People buy things because of their emotions; we're emotionally driven people. When we see a picture of the Twin Towers we get emotional; it's an amazing picture, we would buy it to hang on our walls, as opposed to a picture of our first pair of Nikes that we wore when we won our first track meet. We still might get emotional over that pair of Nikes on our wall, but it's a different emotion as opposed to the Twin Towers and the losses our nation endured. We get emotional when we see baby boots/shoes because it reminds us of our children and the love that we have for them, especially if we lost them at a very young age.

Congratulations! Now you can go out there with confidence from reading my article and take some amazing candid pictures shooting from the hip/chest. If it leads you to this, show me. Send me your candid shots (without the camera being in your face) to me at [email protected] Let's connect!!!

how toart
Casey Keller
Casey Keller
Read next: What Makes Us Photographers?
Casey Keller

Hi, I'm a 47 year-old-veteran/photographer/door dash driver/uber driver as well. When I am not doing any of those things I can be found sitting in front of my computer writing books for amazon/vocal. keep your mind busy the body stays young

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