I own a 35 mm camera. It’s in my house somewhere, along with some fancy zoom lenses. I like to take candid shots, as opposed to staged moments. When my kids were young, I’d zoom in on their face as they examined an ant. Their brows would be furrowed, their lips pursed, as they concentrated fully on this little creature crossing their path. That is the extent of my professional photography.
The people at St. Pete Beach don’t know this. When I see people attempting a selfie, I’ll offer to snap a photo for them. They usually agree. Then the fun begins! Remember, I am not a fan of staged shots. Within minutes, I have couples kissing in the surf and holding each other tenderly. Sometimes they even know each other! “Okay, now dip her,” I’ll say and…. Click!
Maybe people are so friendly and agreeable is because I live in a vacation town. I’m not sure of the reason, but I am always amazed that people listen to my requests for poses in these pics. I ask complete strangers to walk in the surf at sunset, holding hands to turn look back over their shoulders at me. The sun is setting and the waves are gentle. Their hair blows gently as they smile at each other. Other times I ask the woman to lean into the guy and hoist her leg up so he can hold it while they kiss. I almost want to suggest an engagement proposal to the single folks, but I know my limits (unless I’ve had a glass of wine). Click!
My favorites are the older couples. When I pretend to focus the lens as they kiss, I repeat, “Hold it. Hold it.” This can go on for almost a minute before they break their lips apart laughing. I love those poses of pure joy and laughter. Click!
Once I came across a couple sitting in a lounge. I offered to take their picture and the agreed. I grabbed his phone and mentioned that they were too far apart. ”Get closer,” I told them. They looked a little awkward, but they were obedient. They smiled and I suggested they lean into each other for another pose. Again, they were obedient. They started to relax so I suggested he lean back in the lounge and she put her head under his chin as she wrapped her leg over his. She looked nervous, but she was obedient. When I suggested a smooch, he gave me a really big smile. She looked a bit panicked. Apparently these people had not been dating very long. It was a quick peck of a kiss, but I got it on camera. Click!
I really like family shots with little kids. They never listen and they hide behind mom and dad’s legs. To even get them in the lens is a feat. It’s always tricky because I’m using their camera to take these pics. If I can figure out the zoom, I can get the faces of the little ones as they whiz past, hair blowing in the wind with a smile on their face. Click!
One night as I walked up to head home I heard a man and a woman remark, “What are the chances of running into a professional photographer? That is so cool…and she didn’t even charge us!” Little did they know I should have paid them for all the fun I just had. Click!