It happened often that I wanted to take a shot of a scene, covertly, which I was hindered from doing, for one or the other reason. The reservations of going back and take the shot, up to now, were stronger than the wish to get the picture.
So far so good, I am a failure in the genre street, it seems, due to a lack of courage.
However, I found a way around this problem. If someone addresses you, this person took the initiative to make contact. Although such a person might not feel to happy about you taking a photo, adverse feelings can't be shown either (motto: I got you!). Yep, that would be mean... and therefore, I do not suggest this technique.
However, once someone addressed you, you have a chance to react! Crack a joke or at least, say something weird or funny. This will create a contact between you and your "subject". Such a contact will directly lead to eye contact. Keep this eye contact, twinkle if necessary and take a hop shot with you camera. A person laughing out loud (hence the joke), will not able to hear the sound created by your camera's shutter.
As long as you keep eye-contact, in order to distract from the camera, keep making noise as to disguise the shutter's noise.
Here is an example (mind you, I am new to this and a such cannot point my camera well; neither of the photos is cropped).
|This lady addressed me about something, I had time to estimate the frame (hip shot)|
|I said something which made her laugh... and messed up the framing...|
Right... that sort of worked... some cropping and post-pro and I will actually be able to deliver something.
Earlier that day, I tried a very similar thing, and really spoiled. Yep, this went totally wrong! It went so wrong, that I even cannot be bothered to process those files. I messed up! I messed up in my acting and in my photo-skillz... framing sucks too!
Lets have a look at a failure!
I was addressed by a young lady... although I understand Dutch pretty well, I could not follow her immediately. (Oh, that's a chance!) ... Wadd 'dya say? Ey doun understain'!
|"I am a tourist, I am here to take photos, see.... click!" Well, it's a photo!|
Realizing my mistake, I came up with some more acting to adjust my focus, which worked for her, but made the surrounding spectators quite suspicious. And, in the flow of acting, I got my framing totally wrong!
|Look at the ladies in the reflection of the window...|
What did I learn today? Keep eye contact, don't fiddle with the camera... if the settings are not right, just forgot about the shot.
I also learned that people like to have a laugh, say something nice and light... you may not got a photo, but you potentially will be remembered as a short anonymous amusement.