Raders Photo Challenge assignment: Play time

The new Readers Photo Challenge assignment is “Play.”

The old San Joaquin County Fair photography contest used to have a category called “people at work or play.” Since this is summertime and many people are on vacation we’re going to take up the latter half of that and do photographs of people playing.

Getting photos of people in general and of strangers specifically, can be a daunting task. One has to get over their initial shyness to ask to take a person’s photo but I’ve found that most people tend to be receptive if you as Kindly and politely, explaining why you want to take their picture. Of course, if it’s a friend or family member this becomes much easier.

This assignment is not just people sitting for portraits. It’s of candid photos of people having fun. Get them doing something. If its a hot day, maybe get them swimming rather than just sitting poolside. Instead of shooting selfies with your friends while out clubbing, photograph them dancing. Maybe you’re at a fair or amusement park. Get shots of people on the rides or enjoying a hotdog or cotton candy.

Expressions can make or break a photo of people. For this assignment look for smiles and laughter. If you have more than one person, look for them interacting with each other.

Looking for the right moment and timing your shots are key. You have to be looking for and anticipate these kinds of pictures and be ready for them. It’s much more difficult to shoot “off the cuff” to get these photos on the spur of the moment.

The can be doing a physical activity such as hiking, swimming or running. The activity can be more passive such as painting or playing a board game. Just as long as your subjects are having fun as they play.

I recognize how difficult taking pictures of people can be and it may not be everyone’s forté, so you’ll have an extra week to complete the assignment. Go out and have as much fun as the people in your pictures will be having as they play.

How to enter:

1. Email your entries to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Play” in the subject line

2. Photos have to be shot between July 31 and August 21.

3. Entries are limited to no more than 12 photos from each photographer.

4. Include your first and last name, where you live, the kind of camera /lens you used and where the photo was taken (e.g.: “Photographer: John Doe of Stockton. Location: Highway 4 and the San Joaquin River in Stockton. Camera: Canon Rebel T3i w/55-300mm lens”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they’re doing in the picture (e.g: “Janie Doe of Stockton, 6, rides the carousel at Pixie Woods in Stockton).

6. Please feel free to add any anecdotes or stories about how and why you took the photo.

7. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, August 21. A photo gallery of all the pictures submitted will be run on August 28 at recordnet.com.

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  • Blog Author

    Clifford Oto

    Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals ... Read Full
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