I have been shooting events for well over a decade now... wait, what?! It just doesn't seem possible that I've been doing it for so long. I've had the opportunity to shoot many concerts, and sporting events, as well as lots of other fun (and exhausting) things throughout the years. One thing I enjoy about shooting events is being able to disappear in the shadows, move around at my own pace, and look for moments to freeze in time. This situation varies greatly from event to event of course.
As I was shooting the Harlem Globe Trotters the other night I had one of those "eye contact" moments. It got me thinking about how often that happens at events (not too often), and the feeling you get when it happens.
Walking around with a camera in your face makes it difficult to have "eye contact" because that usually requires two sets of eyes. The eye contact moment I'm referring to is when you're walking around or stationed somewhere taking photos and then suddenly the singer, actor, or athlete sees you with your giant lens and decides to look directly into it. That person doesn't necessarily see ME, but they just decide to "ham" it up for the camera or whatever the case may be. They lock eyes with the lens and it feels as though we are having an eye contact moment, even though they don't even see my face. At concerts this can make it feel as though it's my own private showing. Like they are singing directly to me. Half of my brain is saying "Focus Lisa. Move closer. Get this shot. Get that shot." and the other half is saying "OMG! Hilarious! Awesome! Don't leave me! Stay right there!" It's SO easy to screw up these shots because most of the time I'm not prepared for them to get right up in my face, or I'm using a long lens and they have no idea that I can't focus that close. Regardless, these are the types of shots that I love to look back on because, at the time, it gave me some sort of an emotion that will now be attached to that image forever. So what's my advice in these situations? I would say always be prepared for anything, have multiple cameras/lens lengths within arms reach at all times, and always have a good time!!
Here are a few examples of "eye contact." (These examples are not necessarily the best photos, but they bring back some fun memories for me) :)