How to Take the Best Photographs of People

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1/20/16

Think about how many photographs are taken in NYC every day. Then imagine how many of those images involve people, either posed portraits or candid shots. Now estimate how many of those shots are completely original and dynamic (approximately one half of one percent). We sat down with one of our favorite local lifestyle and street photographers, Jessup Deane to learn his all-time best tips for shooting people.

1. Bring your camera everywhere.

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photo by Jessup Deane

“What’s different about New York,” Deane explains, “is that everywhere you look, there’s a photo to be taken.” For this reason, he says, the city is an excellent place for budding photographers. He advises those people to treat their camera like an appendage, and never leave home without it. That’s the only way to learn to shoot different settings and people.

2. Take stealth photos.

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photo by Jessup Deane

In his two years in NYC, Deane has gotten comfortable taking candid shots. “I don’t like people to know that I’m taking a photo,” he says. “The second they know, it completely changes the image.”

3. Shoot wherever you are.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 3.55.08 PM
photo by Jessup Deane

Some of Deane’s favorite NYC spots to shoot? “Anywhere I am at the moment,” he says. “You can’t always be at the top of the World Trade. If you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, look around and find something interesting.”

4. Search out the weird and beautiful.

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photo by Jessup Deane

“A lot of the time, I’m focusing on some minute detail in the photo,” says Deane. “A lot of my images look normal, but once you take a closer look, you’ll find something that’s offhanded, or weird, or funny, or beautiful.”

5. Edit your photos.

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photo by Jessup Deane

Photographers shoot hundreds of images per shoot and then go home, pick out a few favorites and throw the rest away. About his editing process, Deane said: “If I look at a photo and am emotionally moved by it in some way, or if there’s something that makes me want to look at it for five more seconds, than I’ll keep it.”

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