Heading to the market soon? Aside from your grocery bags, why don’t you take your camera for a spin?
I have always been fascinated with documenting market scenes. When I was still a little kid, I would always accompany my mom during her early morning shopping. Even then, I would try to store the fancy sight of people rushing, the rosy color of the meat, or the pattern of the neatly organized eggs in my mind, with high hopes that I can also take them home with me.
So, when I was finally old enough to fiddle with a camera, I immediately jumped into the nearest market and snap everything like crazy. While I am no expert, here are the few things I’ve learned on how to capture that perfect market scene:
Bring a small compact camera or at least a camera that you are familiar with.
Trust me, it is a jungle out there. Well, not in a messy and disorganized way but expect the market to be jam-packed with people doing their groceries so it’s best to bring a small camera with you. All of the shots here are taken using either the legendary LC-A+ or my trusty Yashica FX-2.
While it’s my first time to shoot with an LC-A+, I found it fairly easy to use since the camera already computes the exposure for you. All you need to do is to properly frame and carefully focus your shot. As for the Yashica FX-2, it is a camera that has been with me for months and I know it like the back of my hand so it’s almost automatic for me to adjust its shutter speed and aperture settings to fit the scene that I am trying to capture.
Be wary of your camera’s setting.
For some people, the end goal of going to the market is to have a fat grocery bag but not for us Lomographers! We need to go home not only with the freshest food but also with a roll filled with fantastic photographs. So, be careful with the setting of your camera. When using the LC-A+, you should estimate your distance from the subject and adjust the focus accordingly to avoid out-of-focus shots.
When shooting at night, use a high-speed film or a wider aperture. Treat the lack of light as an ally and play with it to create silhouettes or shadows.
Look for patterns.
Market is haven for everyone who likes looking at neatly organized things. The vendors will always try to make their stalls pleasing to the customers by keeping it in order. Take note of the patterns of the displays as they also make great subjects, too.
Be observant of things that you can use to frame your subjects.
The market stalls are filled with things that you can utilize to frame your subjects. It can create a twist to rather normal portrait shots. Also, this will help in putting context to your photographs.
Shoot as wide as possible.
To make the viewers of your photographs feel the ambiance of the market, you need to provide a wide angle shot.
Shoot as close as possible.
Intricate and hard to spot details usually make a photograph a cut above the rest.
Go with the flow.
This goes with any analogue adventure. The best way to capture a great photograph is to not think about it too much. Enjoy the moment and just go with the flow.