Most photographers find the idea of pointing a camera at a complete stranger intimidating. And using flash for taking pictures of strangers is a complete no-no for most. Even the most experienced of street photographers will argue against that approach, as they find it intrusive and downright rude. Thomas Leuthard, however, gives a walk around tour to show us exactly how he does this and pulls it off with élan:
In almost all the photos that Leuthard takes, the flash is hand-held off-camera and fired from the camera left. Leuthard used a less intimidating Olympus OM-D E-M10 and paired that with a Yongnuo YN560-III. To trigger the flash he used a Yongnuo RF-600TX (RF-602). His camera settings were 17mm, 1/200 of sec, f/8 and ISO 200. The flash was fired at 1/8 of its full power.
To his advantage Leuthard had a group of about 10 people following him while he was taking the photos. One of them also filmed him all along. The group was laughing and seemingly enjoyed the whole thing which, Leuthard acknowledges, made it seem a lot less serious than it would have otherwise felt for the subjects of those photos if he’d been alone.
“You can see how people react, how I approach people. I normally take just one shot. Most of the photos are original crops, out of the camera crop. Some of them are a little bit cropped, but not too much.”
To be fair, a majority of the people Leuthard photographed did not exactly look like the type who would reach for his collar. And it certainly helped that he had a big group of camera-wielding followers with him, which seemed to give off a sense that they are on a photo-tour—an approach which Leuthard recommended to people who are intimidated with the concept of photographing strangers out on the streets.
“As you could see, people don’t react mad, they don’t beat you, then don’t take your camera away. The advantage was that we were a group of about 10 people, everybody was laughing and we had a lot of fun; and people realized that this is not something serious and we just made this to have some fun and maybe that’s an advantage.”
But this approach is still very questionable.
What do you think? Would you use this approach for street photography?
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