A little background story, both my living and working place in Jakarta City are right in the CBD area, which is means I do a lot of my daily activities inside Malls. I go to Mall literally everyday, therefore I started to feel that Shopping Malls are like my playground area.
I always bring my camera every time I’m outside, and that make me think why not start to do street shots inside mall, as street shooter can do action anywhere (read shooting street anywhere).
There are some tips that I think could help others when want to start to “hunting” scene inside mall:
I believe when we shot inside mall, many security guards will pay more attention to us as they worried we will start to photograph CCTV locations or any other security reasons. Choose camera as small as possible, or cameras that have casual appearance instead professional looks. My most favourite Mall’s camera is Fujifilm X100F in silver colour (full black camera will looks more professional). This camera looks really retro, compact, and even if I use it right beside security guard, they will think I’m just a tourist or someone who want to casually took pictures inside mall. Same effect happened to other small form camera like Fujifilm X70 or Ricoh GR.
Like in photo above, I did fishing technique (read here) at around 15 minutes standing on open space in mall (means all security guard easily noticed me). I got no problem at all, not even one person stopped and asked me anything. Truth to be told, many of my shots in Mall done by using fishing technique and I never try to hide my camera. Note: Of course there is one or two Malls where we strictly can not use camera at all regardless the size/form, and I will fully avoid these places to shooting street from the very beginning.
My “research” about shooting street inside mall so far taught me that there are plenty of reflection spots inside Mall building. Shiny wall, shiny floor, handrails (that use glass) are only few examples. Generally lighting inside Mall are always good quality (and also constant, so we can shoot all day long without problem), that is why any shiny surfaces would easily reflect things and will help us create a creative visual art.
To get more creative shoots, try to looking for unique objects that able to enhance the story line.
My experience taught me that Shopping Mall is one of the best spot to play with silhouette. So many advertising board inside that we can use it as strong light source to create silhouette effect. They are just simply everywhere!
To get more creative shoots, get advertising boards that have unique looks, try to match our subject (real person) to have relation with the background (objects inside advertising board), or actually we can use any face model inside advertising boards to create “eye contact” that will help produce stronger image.
Close time provide the best moment
Why? because there are much less people inside, which is means easier to create cleaner image (less distraction). Also, in closing time most of light already go off, then we can use the contrast situation between strong light source from advertising board and dark surrounding area to create frame effect.
Another benefit is in closing time we can find moments that rarely happen in normal time. Like in the photo above is about a person dressed up a mannequin. With the right moment and gesture I can create a relation story between a person and mannequin.
Shopping Mall is a place when many people gather around, a lot of moments/things happen there. My favourite is to “steal” an unique gesture from people, and freeze it with my camera. Gesture like facial expression and hand/finger/leg movement are good to help audience imagine a story line inside photo.
That is all my thought about shooting street in Shopping Mall. Enjoy your Mall trip differently with street photography!
Keep shooting and stay inspired,