How To Be Confident
Taking Pictures in Public
The Duomo di Milano otherwise known as Milan Cathedral. You will have seen me posing in front of this stunning building before and no doubt you will have seen it's beautiful facade in many touristy photos on Instagram and beyond.
I'm lucky enough to have visited Milan quite a few times over the years and stopping off to have morning coffee close by, snapping some pictures in the square or simply wandering through as tourists during golden hour cannot be taken for granted.
What you don't see reflected in these images or in my facial expression, is the group of men who were forcing Alex and I to move from spot to spot as they shouted and made fun of us. I could quite easily think of some particularly choice language to describe them and their actions but I do like to keep things on the blog PG, so we'll just call them idiots. But why did I carry on with the shoot and how did I make sure I still got the images I wanted? Here's how to grow your confidence when it comes to taking pictures in public and not let anyone else dampen your progress.
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Obviously it goes without saying that if someone does start to make you feel uncomfortable and/or unsafe then please make sure you put a suitable amount of distance between them and you. Feeling and being safe is by far more important than grabbing a picture, otherwise that memory will be tainted in the end anyway! Whether you're aiming to capture a picture as a tourist or for your blog it's important to have a few things in mind to help you feel confident enough to grab the picture you have in your mind.
Firstly create the idea in your head and think about the purpose behind the image. Is it the perfect tourist shot purely to share on your Instagram? Is it a mini photoshoot to create a blog post you've been envisioning? Or is it simply a beautiful memory you want to frame when you get back home? No matter what it is, think about that purpose and stick with it as you line up and take the shot you need. Don't let people staring or talking stop you from achieving that initial goal, however vulnerable you may be feeling.
Secondly try to keep your focus on the outcome of what you're doing, rather than in the moment where you may feel that natural twinge of embarrassment. I think it's engrained into us from a young age to feel a sense of embarrassment taking photos, even when your parents want a picture of you and your siblings you find yourself hurrying the process up as much as possible! The key I find is to keep my focus on the end result and almost block out whatever else is happening around me. I'm in my photo bubble and I'm doing what I need and want to do in that moment!
Thirdly and if all else fails, I often resort to trying to shake off any nervousness I feel about being in public by narrowing my line of sight. I may well be stood in a huge plaza in these images but my line of sight is firmly on Alex, the camera and the immediate space around me. By mentally minimizing the area in which I'm stood it's far easier for me to deal with the shoot and far easier for me to be efficient too!
I think the key to taking any picture in public will always be to not give a damn! It may sound blasé but if I'm not feeling my best and I know I need to get a shot, I always try to remember it's very likely I will never see any of the people staring at me in that moment, ever again. A friendly smile with a little eye contact back at the people staring, often breaks some of the tension if you've explored all other options too.
If you have any tips you use when you're taking pictures in public I'd love to hear them so I and anyone else, can add them to our repertoires. And remember that outcome you're aiming for - practice most definitely makes perfect!