Kolkata Kids, India

A group of young lads pose for a photo in the streets of Kolkata, India.

Boys will be boys. Here's a pic of a group of lads I met in a side street in Kolkata, India. They were just hanging around, saw me photographing and, as is often the case, wanted to be in on the action. The image was made very quickly and, I hope, depicts the candid nature of the moment.

Lens Choice

Normally I’d move in close with a wide angle lens to place emphasize on this kind of subject matter and separate the lads from the background through the exaggeration of three dimensional space that a wide angle lens provides.

Camera to Subject Distance

This time around I decided to keep a bit of distance between the lads and my camera. This allowed me to include a fair bit of the surrounding environment, almost as an equal partner to the lads, in the picture.

I also had an ulterior motive for keeping my distance. My main aim was to approach and photograph an elderly woman who was sitting on her front doorstep just behind me. I wanted to engage with the kids then send them on their way, without losing contact with the woman behind me who I felt would be more engaging if I was to photograph her in relative privacy.

My plan worked because, after making the photo the lads were ready to move on. All I had to do was to turn around and start making the image that I really cared about.

Good Photos Are Underpinned By Strong Composition

Composition is important, even in a candid photo.

Notice the design within the group. This image is underpinned by triangles. You’ll notice two quite strong triangles on the right and centre left of the group. Just draw an invisible line to connect three heads (circles) and you'll see these dominant triangular shapes which help bind the group together into a more cohesive unit.

It's a very simple photo that fits into the street photography or documentary travel photography genres. By no means is it a portfolio image, but it's important because the way I managed the interaction made it possible for me to make the portrait I really wanted to make.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru