By Thomas PARIS on Monday, July 18 2011, 18:53 - Permalink
About a week ago, some friends and I went picnicking by the Seine in a very popular area, the kind of which quickly gets crowded. Parisians may have a reputation for not being friendly, but they're really not that bad ;) And in these kind of situations, where people are so close to one another, it's not uncommon for them to start chatting with strangers. Actually, that's even one of the reasons why so many of them go there: to meet new people.
So, we were spending a nice evening and I was playing with my photo gear and especially with my external flash and associated Lumiquest diffuser. I'm really very much of a beginner when it comes to portaiture and need all the experience I can gather. And the results of that part of the evening are actually not too good... Anyway, I was photographing my friends when they began chatting with some of those people we didn't know and I used the opportunity to get my first experience in photographing strangers. I had read many articles on the web about that kind of photography, but just like many others I had always been too afraid to actually do it. This occasion was making it much easier to give it a try by giving me an excuse.
So, I took a few snaps and some of them even turned out fairly good. This one, for example, even though I messed up a bit on the lightning and really must learn to make a better job, isn't half bad:
I took some later in the evening that I consider to be stronger, but I haven't heard from those people yet and don't want to publish the shots without their authorization.
Why would I hear from them if they were strangers? Because I've told them they could get a better quality version of the portrait I had made of them if they gave me their email address, of course. Better quality? Better than what, I can hear you ask. Well, I had brought not only my camera and flash but also my very little but oh-so-useful Polaroid printer:
This little thing can print a picture on a 5x7.5cm sheet of paper in about a minute, runs on a small battery and doesn't require separate ink cartridges (the ink is in the paper). Great way to immediately share your photographs with the people you've just met. And you should see the smile on their face when you give them that print! It may not be the best quality (far from it, actually...), but it is so much fun. It does make the experience even more enjoyable.
When I got tired of playing with the flash (which didn't take long because I had not planned on spending the evening doing that kind of photographer ;), I got back to something I'm more experienced with. There were two guys playing the guitar next to us and gigs are the main reason why I got my current DSLR. So, back in my comfort zone, I managed to get a few more nice shots. Such as these: