Having photographed people

People. No family, just strangers. People as a key feature of the photographs to be taken. That was the theme assigned for May in the 12-month photo project that I’ve been trying to fulfil this year and because today is the last day of May, here I am with the final selection of 5 photos that I took and liked most.

No. 1: Attractive

I took this photo during festivities celebrating the liberation of Pilsen at the end of WWII. I saw a military van coming full of soldiers along with this young woman who was literally shining among them. They all got out of the van right next to me and started marching away which was when I took this photo. I love the contrast and she looks perfect in the period clothes.

No. 2: Refreshment

Just an ordinary scene but what I like about it are the colours and the action, or rather the frozen moment of the action, it tells a story.

No. 3: Resting

Another photo taken during the festivities of the liberation. The woman was sitting there quite a long time, resting or waiting for someone, and I could not take my eyes off her. The scene looked wonderful and I felt fascinated. I was thinking all the time about whether to ask her if I could take her photo and thus make her look at me or even smile but what if she said no? Eventually I’m glad I didn’t ask her and captured the scene as it was…

No. 4: Selling meals

It was quite interesting to watch this guy selling the meals. Something about him attracted my attention and I like the photo that captured the scene.

No. 5: Rustic

Another period appearance, this time captured in the castle Velhartice where we could return in time during one weekend, at least for the few hours of our visit. I took this photo when we were leaving the castle and were passing by this young woman in her rural outfit who was just in conversation with someone. She looks perfect, doesn’t she? So natural.

Well, that’s it. Taking photos for this theme was far out of my comfort zone yet most of the best photos I took were taken with my 50 mm lens which means that I needed to stay quite close to those I was capturing. It was not easy as the person(s) were not posing for me and in some cases I was afraid of their reaction but asking for their consent could have marred the atmosphere and would have changed the story so I gritted my teeth, tried to ignore the uncomfortable feeling and did the job. I wasn’t this brave all the time though, sometimes I simply left.

I don’t believe that people are generally flattered when you photograph them (as I read somewhere), many people who saw the DSLR in my hand turned away or looked suspicious about being photographed. I think that the size of the camera doesn’t help, an inconspicuous model would be much better for this type of photography.

I have to admit that quite a few of the photos that I took could have been technically better if I had behaved in a calmer way and had not just tried to get it done as quickly as possible. You can’t influence everything and there is so much to be aware of but if you learn to think on your feet, you can improve a lot. Practice makes perfect and I think this is no exception. I’m happy though that I completed the challenge and have something to present I’m quite satisfied with and I hope you will like some of my finalists too.

The theme for June is IN MOTION (meaning anything moving).

All completed themes of the project can be found HERE.



  1. It’s very difficult to put yourself out there and yes, many people do not want to have their photograph taken. And you are exactly right…it just takes practice! I liked that you shared what you liked about the scene that you captured. You did a good job!

    1. Robin, thank you. You know what such photographing takes very well, I was thinking of you many times knowing the experience you shared from the street photography workshop you participated in! I’m pleased to hear that my words add to the images.

  2. I, too, appreciated your comments about each photo. The woman in the first image “makes” that photo. She’s lovely and makes a great contrast to the marching soldiers. My favorite here is “Rustic.” The girl looks so wholesome and natural. It’s really a great capture.

  3. You did a great job with these Petra. This kind of photography is never easy and not something I would even like to attempt.
    In respect of the period look. There is a 1940’s theme event held nearby in this region each year. Old cars, various household stuff, military equipment of the day. They even arrange for the Lancaster Bomber and Spitfire to do a flying display. One thing I have noticed from that was the Ladies clothes of the time. They look so attractive and very smart in their dress of those times. I would venture to say, probably more so than to day.
    Great post.

    1. Roy, thank you for the praise. It was a different kind of photography experience than I’m used to and it was good to try it as the experience may be useful, but it definitely was not easy. I’m pleased you like the results.

      As for the period look, I absolutely agree with you. During the liberation festivities, there were more people like the young lady dressed in the period cloths, both men and women and the women looked elegant and attractive, all of them. I would venture to say, probably more so than today. 🙂

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