Those who know me have probably become aware that I have recently been quite distracted by my interest in a certain fandom. At my age, being described as a “fangurl” suddenly loses the former whiff of degradation and offensive diminuation of a woman into a pre-adult female and takes on a rather complimentary appeal of youth and irresponsibility. 17 again!
A member of said fandom recently approached me, asking for my expertise (hear, hear!) in photography. “What”, she asked, “should a fan keep in mind if they had the chance to take a quick candid of Mr Smouldering Stare?”
Now, I have never been in the position to take a candid of a celebrity. Despite sharing a table with Des Bishop, standing behind Bono at the Electric Picnic and hob-knobbing with Stephen Fry in the QI green room. (Now, if this name-dropping doesn’t bring the Page views up on this blog, I’ll give up!) Mostly because I am not much awed by celebrity. And secondly because candids generally fail to satisfy my aesthetic demands (ooooh).
|Chair (with green canvas bag), recently vacated by Des Bishop|
However, I guess there are a few things that amateurs might wanna keep in mind in case they get to drag their favourite actor/singer/politician in front of their lens. My top tip really is to be prepared!!! Might sound dumb, but a lof people who only take pictures recreationally have no idea how their camera works. Not that there is much to know about the workings of a compact – but it helps when you don’t have to fiddle with buttons while Justin Bieber is getting restless in the frame. So (try to) keep calm and take your time! Taking a picture is done in a flash, so don’t worry about the extra second it takes to frame your shot well.
A propos flash: Avoid! Unless it is really really dark (but then where are you stalking that poor celebrity, anyway?). Shitty inbuilt compact flash hits your subject straight on and usually completely drains all natural colours, makes your subject(s) squint and possibly blink for that lovely “derp” look. Apart from making them look like a vampire who hasn’t had a decent bite to drink in a while.
If you can, steer Mr Gorgeous towards a blank or calm background that will not distract from the subjects in the foreground. Nothing worse than a busy background with signs or other clearly visible distractions. Or people cleverly holding up bunny ears and grinning in the background.
Shoot automatic and let the camera do the work. No fiddling with zoom and focus, please. Set it on autofocus but make sure you focus on the face (better still: eye). If you can, take a few shots in quick succession (even compacts have settings for serial exposure). And always shoot at the highest possible resolution – that way you can always crop out unwanted distractions/bystanders/ladies on Mr Heartthrob’s arm in post-production and still get a decent sized close-up of his face to drool over and keep in your wallet.
Right, those are my top tips, bearing in mind that what you will get from this is just a memory, that might look better and last longer if it was just taken in your heart. Awww.