I’ve owned a DSLR for pretty much exactly eight years now. Although I wouldn’t profess to know everything about my camera, along the way I often find there are “breakthrough moments” in my photography. One example that immediately comes to mind is how two years ago I was far too embarrassed to openly take photos in restaurants – something I wouldn’t think twice about now!
I do, however, still struggle with photographing people and creating portraits. In spite of doing a lot of event photography (for my day job) I prefer to blend into the background a bit when I’m taking snaps; taking photos one-to-one is quite a different experience, and stopping someone in the street to take their photo is way out of my comfort zone.
In the spirit of breaking down fears like this, last Sunday I hopped on a train for a day out in York and a street photography workshop with Keith Moss, hosted by Inntravel.
Inntravel specialise in slow travel that’s all about connecting with a destination, so it quickly became evident what a natural partnership it was for Inntravel and Keith to co-host the event. Keith Moss has been photographing people for over two and a half decades, working with major brands by day and shooting on the street in his free time.
To Keith, portraits are all about connecting with people and he shared some fascinating insights with us about how he does this. One place to start is by reading body language to gauge how a person will be most comfortable being photographed.
For example, if you tuck your hair behind one ear or tend to lean on one leg, that’s probably, subconsciously, the side you’d rather have your picture taken from. Fascinating stuff, right!?
Another useful tip from Keith was to decide what you’re going to shoot that day, set up your camera before you begin shooting and don’t try to shoot anything that falls outside of that. If you decide you’re taking portraits, stick with that. This method is harder for travel photography, where you have such a limited time to capture close-ups, landscapes and everything in between, but it’s excellent advice for situations like this.
Before being unleashed onto the city of York, we took some time to practise photographing each other. I teamed up with the two beautiful ladies you can see above, Bee from QueenBeady and Jenni from The Thrifty Magpies Nest. It was a great opportunity to build up confidence and get to grips with portrait photography.
The next step was to head out onto the streets of York and these are my favourites from the day, so I hope you enjoy them too!
Another, more unexpected, result of the day was that I ended up loving some of the photos that were taken of me! I’m not a massive fan of being photographed (I mean, how many times have you seen my fave on here?) but it was a fun experience and the very talented Bee took some awesome shots that I’m actually happy to share. In fact, I might start taking her on holiday with me, what do you think?
These words from Keith seem an apt note to end on: ‘Learn the basics, use your imagination, and don’t be afraid to experiment’.