Cool shooting? Awesome shooting? Unique shooting? No no no! I mean shooting from the hip. Literally. This is a photography technique that takes a lot of practice, but once you’ve learned you can get some great compelling images.
It’s tough to imagine photographing anything without looking in the viewfinder first to focus and to keep shooting without looking, but it’s worth the practice. Sure, you’ll get some absolutely terrible images where the subject is out of focus, too bright, too dark, or just plain weird. For every 100 of those you might get one absolutely amazing and compelling image.
I use this technique during the ‘down time’ of shoots. While the couple is moving from one location to the next, while we’re chatting about something, or basically any time my clients think they’re not being photographed is a time when I’ll break out the hip shooting. Doing this can provide some interesting perspectives and angles and it can be a great way to catch small details during a photo shoot.
So, what exactly do you do then? Well, hold your camera down by your hip and point and shoot. That’s just the simple version though. It takes practice to figure out where your lens is focusing and knowing the right moment to snap the photo.
When you’re shooting from the hip your primary goal is to capture candid of photojournalistic photos of your clients. This is a technique a lot of ‘street photographers’ use. If you want to make it easier, use a small aperture and a fast shutter speed. I did this when I was learning and practicing and as time went on I was able to use my camera with a wide open aperture and a 50mm lens. 50mm lenses can be somewhat tough to use while learning to hip shoot and if you have a wide angle lens that’s a great way to practice and learn. Not only will you be able to capture a candid photo of your subject, but it will also place them in the scene and give the photo more context.
This is one of my favorite techniques to get candid photos of wedding guests. Shooting at weddings can always be difficult because when guests see the photographer they want to automatically smile and look at the camera. To get those great photojournalistic shots of people interacting I will put my camera around my neck and I might hold it off to the side and take photos or I may hold it down by my hip. It just depends on the moment.
Don’t be afraid to try this technique and see how it works for you. You’ll be able to get some interesting shots and it might help you if you’re a wedding photographer!
This technique will be discussed in depth in The Art of Photography class coming up in June. Sign up so you can learn all about how to create an interesting photo! If you’d like more tips on photographing weddings be sure to check out my How to Photograph a Wedding eBook. This ebook has everything and every detail of what you’ll go through as a wedding photographer from the moment you get a wedding inquiry to the moment everything is over and you send off that thank you card! As always, feel free to ask me a question and join the newsletter!