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Old 9th of September 2004 (Thu)   #1
vfilby
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Default Shyness in front of large crowds

So I am, and have always been, very shy in front of strangers. Especially in front of large crowds of them. However, when taking pictures Most of the time you have to be right up front with your camera. I would much rather sit at the back of a room with a huge telephoto so I could take all the pics I wanted and nobody would have to see me -- ideal but very unreasonable,

So I am asking if you guys have any tips for helping me overcome this shyness? I will also venture out on a limb and conjecture that this shyness is a result of the expectations people automatically have when you are holding a non-P&S camera. Photographing people is a weak point and certainly my confidence is lacking there.

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope this forum was appropriate for the question.

Thanks,
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Old 9th of September 2004 (Thu)   #2
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If you want to overcome your shyness may I suggest you get a job for a month as a male stripper at a club. If that doesn't cure your shyness nothing will.


On the serious side tho, I try to maintain a profile of non-distracting. I think of myself as being invisible. If they can't see me they don't know I am there. Of course I am not shy so it has never been a problem for me.
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Old 9th of September 2004 (Thu)   #3
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I have that problem too. The one thing that helped me is that my love photography is more important to me than being shy. So when I feel those shy moments come along and they do, I just remind myself, I can't get the shots I want and that gets me right up. No one says anything and I feel good that I overcame a silly fear.

Shyness has no real basis, it is just in your mind. No one really cares is the truth. People actually admire you for being a photographer and doing what they can't that they will actually get out of your way.

Try this when you feel that feeling coming over you, get up and take the shot then feel shy, it works everytime.

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Old 9th of September 2004 (Thu)   #4
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My advice is that the only way to overcome a shyness problem is to face it head on. Get out there and do it. Over and over.

The funny pat is that while you are being shy and uncomfortable the people you are photographing feel the same way.

If it is street photography, a practiced and smooth motion of taking the shot and going about the business of finding the next shot really goes a long way towards shortening the period of interaction between photographer and photographee. But if it is a large posed group then you simply have to realize that you are the photographer and you are in control. Those people are there to let you pose and manipulate them into a good shot. They aren't judging you they are wondering if thier fly is open and what that smell is.

So in the end you have to realize that shyness comes from fear of criticism and that the only one being critical is you.

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Old 9th of September 2004 (Thu)   #5
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Thanks for the tips guys, headon tackling it is.
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Old 9th of September 2004 (Thu)   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vfilby
Thanks for the tips guys, headon tackling it is.
So I guess the male dancer thing is out of the consideration? LOL
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Old 10th of September 2004 (Fri)   #7
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Vince, I have always had the same practice. Eventuall I learned that volunteering to be the first to give a speach, talk to a crowd, perform, even getting a shot, helps tremendously.

What will help you as a photographer, is to act professionaly, pretend that you know what you are doing, and that you have a right or responsibility to be where you are. Attitude goes a long way. (I don't mean snotty) If you even act like you have brass cajones, no one is going to check to find out otherwise.

Someone once told me, regarding this topic "They can kill you, but, they can't eat you".
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Old 10th of September 2004 (Fri)   #8
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This is a great topic. I've never been a people shooter, but I recently decided that I was going to shoot every driver and team member at a recent Sprint Boat race.

I took control. I walked up to these people, talking with them and shooting them at the same time. Directing them a bit if they shyed away, but mostly just holding a normal conversation with them while chit-chatting with them.

It was awesome! While chatting with them I'd slam off 10-15 shots. It was pretty cool.

I went to a portrait shooting today (my own for my company's portfolio) and the photographer had it down pat. He chatted with me, and got me talking myself. My history with the company, and just general chit-chat to break the ice and he did an awesome job.

He'd snicker right at the perfect time, kick the red-eye flash and then take his shot. I was very impressed. He was using a Mamiya LF cam with a 5mp digital back, tethered (his digi-back HAS to be tethered).

Anyway, when I told him I had the MKII his eyes lit up and we yakked for probably 20 minutes before I had to bail with my ultra-busy Friday schedule in front of me.
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Old 10th of September 2004 (Fri)   #9
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Now you see that is a great opportunity. If you have a deficiency always take the opportunity (even if it is by chance) to watch a pro do what you are having trouble with. Whether it is sales, public speaking or posing.

RFM if you are wanting to shoot more people or just get the technique down better you should arrange to get together with this photographer again. Maybe you two can work out a working agreement. Second camera or mutual referals.

Networking is your friend.

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Old 10th of September 2004 (Fri)   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyJeff
Quote:
Originally Posted by vfilby
Thanks for the tips guys, headon tackling it is.
So I guess the male dancer thing is out of the consideration? LOL
I am afraid not
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Old 10th of September 2004 (Fri)   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Settle
Someone once told me, regarding this topic "They can kill you, but, they can't eat you".
Very amusing, I will keep that in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RFMSports
This is a great topic. I've never been a people shooter, but I recently decided that I was going to shoot every driver and team member at a recent Sprint Boat race.
It is comforting to know that I am not alone and even some pro's have this problem.

I must say I had an entirely different bout of shyness today. I was running a bbq for the incoming university students and there was a stunningly beautiful oriental woman there. I was taking pictures so I made sure I got a few, but what I should have said is, "You are extremely beautiful; would you like to try modelling?" Perhaps with more tact, likely not though.

Cheers,
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Old 12th of September 2004 (Sun)   #12
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You can say I am, or at least was, a shy person.

I don't think you can change that about yourself, at least not in a short time. I have come to understand that you never really lose, you "shyness" but you just become accustomed to the situation.

I was very very shy at a younger age and lucky me, the first job I landed was a door to door sales person. What a contrast. I hated the job for the first week, but after a little while, you become used to it, you are still nervous, but it doesn't feel as bad.

My suggestion is to change your view. My problem is that I think everyone is looking at me or talking about me or whatever. I think this is a common problem. The truth is, people just don't care, now if you are holding a big camera, they might look, but in an envious way, they think that you are a pro. Try this one time, sit at a busy coffee shop and watch people, they don't pay attention to anything, people are always thinking about the next thing they want to do.

RFM also makes a great point, talk to people, just walk up and break the ice. I have made it a habit of of asking people question in public or commenting, like "nice car" or asking them about a shirt they are wearing that I like. You slowly start to feel it is routine. Luckily for guys like us we live in Canada, and well, people are pretty damn relaxed. Nothing against Americans, but even I don't feel talking to people, especially big cities.

It's really a head on approach, you will be so surprised that people are willing to respond so nicely, the thing is to not forget the majority of people are the same as you and I. They aren't all crazy judgemental psychos, well as long as you don't try to talk to a woman from Toronto, especially hot ones. hahahaha
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Old 13th of September 2004 (Mon)   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vfilby
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyJeff
Quote:
Originally Posted by vfilby
Thanks for the tips guys, headon tackling it is.
So I guess the male dancer thing is out of the consideration? LOL
I am afraid not
Let us know when and where you'll be on stage. We'll be selling pictures in the lobby after the show. 8)
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Old 13th of September 2004 (Mon)   #14
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I agree with Digital Prophet. When you are the photographer, especially one paid to be there, people expect you to be in charge. Take charge. Once you get into this mindset, you will be suprised at how easy it will become to deal with any number of people. You may feel like throwing up at first, but it will become second nature.
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Old 15th of September 2004 (Wed)   #15
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to loosely quote someone else on here

People often respect photographers for doing something they cant do, take a good picture, so in many occasions, they are more than occomidating to follow your requests. or they can always think of it as your getting paid by the hour :P you have all the time in the world
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