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08-10-2009, 02:11 PM   #1
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Shot random people outside with a flash?

I like to photograph random people outside, maybe they just have this nice look or feeling and deserve a photograph. But sometimes the sun makes a really harsh (harsh... Do you say that in english?) shadow in their face or body.
Then I would like a external flash to light them up, but it feels rude to flash them without talking about it first. And then I maybe lost the nice feeling in the picture.

What do you think, anyone use a flash like this outside? Is it rude? Should I try with something else?

/Amateur

08-10-2009, 02:27 PM   #2
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Check out Bruce Gilden.

YouTube - WNYC Street Shots: Bruce Gilden
08-10-2009, 02:31 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.
I'm not an expert in this topic, but I can offer <.02c worth...
With street photography, you do need to exercise some discretion as in effect you're invading people's privacy somewhat - flash compounds the invasion, unless you've gained consent to take photos of them.
08-10-2009, 03:12 PM   #4
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That Bruce Gilden clip is cool. I would live to have a go at that type of shooting. After the initial shock of flashing people like that it would be a heap of fun. Of course this needs to be done in a crowded place.... it would be wierd in a country town or similar.

Also... imagine doing that with a k20+grip. Your arm would get tired!

IMO, as soon as 'they' see the camera the mood is lost. Gotta be quick.

08-10-2009, 05:20 PM   #5
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I don't have anything to add to what the previous posters said . . . but I will say that "harsh" is exactly the correct word in English for what you describe.
08-14-2009, 05:49 PM   #6
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Gilden's photos look really harsh. I notice he picked women and elderly people. I didn't see him pick the 6'7" linebacker type. He also had a cameraman with him so he wasn't alone. He's also part of Magnum, which seems to give you a license to do anything in the photographic world.

Going it alone, you better have cheap gear, cause you may end up with it smashed on the pavement with the wrong person.
08-15-2009, 02:26 AM   #7
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It really all depends on what type of result your looking for, the use of flash can lead to the "startled rabbit in the headlights" type of pictures.
08-16-2009, 10:11 PM   #8
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I have gone on a few photowalks with a very talented street photog & on one occasion he had with him his C@non flash attached to his 30D. Some of the results were fantastic.
Aside from isolating the subject, I find flash adds life and vibrancy to a photograph - but of course to each his own as I never use it when out in the street.
As much as people think of their privacy, when out in the street everyone's fair game.

08-22-2009, 04:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jky Quote
As much as people think of their privacy, when out in the street everyone's fair game.
As long as they don't chase you and smash your camera..
08-23-2009, 06:54 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
I suspect he sees people as prey as well as subjects. He's deliberately trying to intrude on people with the short lens and flash. Isn't the main goal of street photography to record a candid scene? Glidden creates the scene by sticking his camera and flash in someone's face and photographing their reaction. Most of the photos were not interesting, just bad snaps of startled people. If he just wanted to capture interesting characters, he could lose the flash and use a 70-200 2.8, but then he wouldn't get the "deer in the headlights" effect. To each his own I guess.

I'd probably use a more professional looking rig and a longer lens if I had to use flash. Maybe people would think you're a pro and not mind as much.

Last edited by audiobomber; 08-23-2009 at 07:02 AM.
08-23-2009, 10:30 AM   #11
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The Bruce Gilden clip is interesting... what if the flash causes a seizure?

If someone stuck a camera in my face and took a pic, he'd be fortunate if the only thing I smashed was his camera.
08-23-2009, 04:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by flippedgazelle Quote
The Bruce Gilden clip is interesting... what if the flash causes a seizure?
Not likely. Epileptic seizure is typically caused by several seconds of stroboscopic flashing at 3 flashes per second.
08-23-2009, 11:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
Not likely. Epileptic seizure is typically caused by several seconds of stroboscopic flashing at 3 flashes per second.
Not necessarily epilepsy-related seizures, though. A single bright flash can set-off someone who is stoned. A person who is cataplectic can easily convulse and/or pass out when accosted by a bright flash. Also, hyper-photosensitive folks - the kind who need to wear sunglasses indoors - can suffer severe discomfort.
08-24-2009, 12:36 AM   #14
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I don't agree with Gliden's technique...

This is more alluring to me: Street Portrait
08-24-2009, 04:40 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by flippedgazelle Quote

If someone stuck a camera in my face and took a pic, he'd be fortunate if the only thing I smashed was his camera.
You should work at getting the laws changed then. Your reaction would put you on the wrong side of an assault charge.
Street photography is not a crime, it is not an assault to take your picture if you are in public and you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public.
Do you also take baseball bats to ATMs? They photograph everyone who uses them.

If I stuck my camera in someone's face and they did anything threatening, they would be fortunate if they were not hospitalized for their trouble.
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