The photo here is obviously someone mugging for the camera. What makes this a great photograph is that the person in the background is reacting to what is happening and is included on the photo. By being very aware of your background you can take a good photo of someone mugging for the camera into a great, memorable photograph that everyone can relate to and understand. Had I only shot or cropped in on Doug and not included the person in the background, this would be an okay and average photograph. Wait those few seconds before pressing that shutter and always notice the background people and their actions or reactions.
I was standing at the other end of the pool table watching this interaction happen and captured a natural and unexpected mixture of high school humor with adult reunion banter. I used a telephoto zoom (70-200mm F4 IS) and isolated these three friends as they continued the good-natured banter and antics. This photo has received many comments from those who have seen it, as they were not aware I was in the room or had my camera ready.
When you are indoors capturing a high school reunion I have several useful suggestions. Be sure you have your camera ready with a good telephoto zoom lens and stand a fair distance away from small groups. Sit at a table and listen to the discussions happening, as often there may be a former teacher present or someone who did not attend the last reunion. Be aware of who in the reunion is a professional and may not want there photos on your website or social media pages (Facebook, blog, Twitter, or other). Do not look for or take any photographs that would cause someone personal or professional discomfort. You don’t want to be known as “that kind” of photographer.
How often do you include people in the backgrounds of your photographs? What are your thoughts and feelings about people mugging for your camera? Do you always prefer the natural and non-posed photographs over those that appear to be posed or staged? What approach do you use or will you use to capture candid moments the next time you are asked to photograph an event such as a class reunion or other gathering?