Of course, you don’t want to turn into a member of the paparazzi, but some intimate moments offered by passersby can provoke an irresistible desire to remove your camera’s lens. Every photographer sets his or her own limits and follows his or her own preferences, so these stolen moments require absolute commitment and indispensable discretion.
Here are some principles I adhere to in order to capture these moments of pure sincerity.
Don’t break up the moment
In my eyes, this is a key principle. The moments we want to capture are often intense and personally meaningful for the subject. So you have to be careful not to disturb the subject, if only to acknowledge him or her for generously sharing these instants with the camera.
Be discreet, but there’s no need to hide.
Always be respectful of the people photographed. It is important to be as discreet as possible. Of course, the goal is also not to be noticed so you can preserve the authenticity of the action, the expressions, and the sentiments.
By being in the open, you will avoid shocking the people you photograph. People can have unpleasant reactions if they feel they are being bothered. You’ll also avoid attracting the attention of other people and you won’t attract other photographers who want to imitate the shot!
Keep your distance
Use your zoom to be discreet. I always recommend keeping a visual distance from the subject to perceive the emotion of the moment. That way you won’t keep your eye behind the viewfinder like some voyeur waiting for the right moment to stage an intrusion. The borderline is slim but beautiful and very real, and very important.
Take advantage of the crowd
Paradoxically, crowded places are often a theater of opportunities to capture and share. Whether it’s a sunny terrace or a concert, there are any number of possible subjects to capture and your creative eye can wander freely to seek them out.
In conclusion, open your eyes, be respectful of your subjects, and share some intense moments while you take care not to become the center of attention.