I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t frequent local farmer’s markets nearly as often as I should. When I do make the time, I love being there. The fresh produce, the fresh air, the fresh faces; it’s all so fresh : ) And I haven’t even begun to point out the amazing hand-crafted goodies that local artisans create. Knits, jewelry, hair accessories, cheeses, breads, art – all this and so much more to love.
As part of the Environmental Portraiture class I took, we went on a couple of field trips. One was to Balboa Park, which I blogged about here. The other was to Little Italy Mercato, a wonderful weekly farmer’s market in a historic part of San Diego that underwent a huge and successful revitalization.
Our assignment was to submit four portraits from the Mercato. Not surprising, I went a little overboard! Honestly, I was a bit nervous about this assignment, as I would never consider myself a “street photographer”. Everyone was really friendly, so that made it a much easier task. As such, I’d love to share my top three tips to help you next time you’re our getting photos in an open market area.
1. Chat with your subject!
I had a great time walking through the market, checking out the merchant’s goods and chatting with them about their items. They were so friendly and really open. Before photographing them, I asked their permission, and I was lucky enough that all but one obliged. I guess we all have a bad day now and then when we really just don’t want our photo taken : )
Besides asking if I could take their photo, I would ask them about the merchandise. If they crafted it, grew it, made it, what it was made from, etc. When you get someone to talk about themselves, especially something they love / made / have pride in, it really brings out natural, genuine smiles or expressions.
2. Include merchandise!
Most of these photos have the merchandiser’s goods in the photo, particularly in the foreground. I used a really wide aperture (f/2.8 to f/3.5) on all of these photos, and adjusted my focal point to get a sharp focus on their eyes. Including the merchandise, and background components, really fills in the pieces and completes the story. Remember that old saying – a photo worth a thousand words? All those items you include help get you closer to that many words!
3. Adjust your focal point
Most DSLRs have the capability to adjust your focal point – you know those little red dots that light up when you look through your view finder and you’re just about to snap that photo? Pull out your camera manual and find out how you can change that point. I adjust it for every different setting/composition when shooting portraits. You set your focal point and you gain so much more control on your photos! Whether you choose the eyes, the hands, the products – whatever it is, you’re now determining where your viewer’s eyes go.
Hope these tips help you on your next photo adventure!
Thanks for stopping by and have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day!
PS. I just had to include these two cuties who were performing at the farmer’s market. Aren’t they just way too stinkin’ cute?! Total artisans, too. All their tips go to music lessons. Love it!