Picking out interesting faces from amongst a crowd of thousands can be daunting at first.
I usually walk around and take note of the areas where the light looks interesting.
Then I make eye contact and smile at the people to gauge how receptive they are to my pointing the lens at them.
While it’s true they may not like it and can’t do much about it, I’d rather take pictures of people who don’t scowl at me.
All those years of photographing felons giving me the evil eye while being led away in handcuffs took a toll. 🙂
Once I have an idea of which areas have the best light, I scan the area for the faces that have the most potential.
I’m looking to see where the most raucous, uninhibited and colorful people are and I make a mental note of them.
If I can shoot with a 50 mm from up close, I”ll do that.
The only problem with the 50mm compared to a longer telephoto is that I have to move much closer to my subject.
Sometimes getting closer is not possible because of where they are seated.
I carry the 80-200 f2.8 zoom for those occasions.
It’s not the 70-200 image stabilized zoom which costs upwards of $2K but for my purposes, it works and it’s black and sort of amateurish-looking.
When I’m working events like this, I want to blend in.
I’m not there to impress and stick out.
The more inconspicuous I am, the better.
When I worked at the newspaper, I found that some of the better moments take place after the actual ceremony when everybody lets their guard down.
The graduates may be seeing some of their friends and family members the first time that day because there are after all limited tickets and seating.
In my case, the sun was setting, the light was warmer, very directional and everyone’s spirits were high after the ceremony.
Next: The Celebration After the Ceremony