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Last weekend I went on a National Holiday, or to be more specific a Mystery Tour, where the passengers don’t find out where they are going until they arrive. Our client, National Holidays, set me the challenge of capturing the excitement of the weekend break. I got my ticket and was ready to be a fly on the wall, documenting the real experience of the Mystery Tour. Only problem was I had a big camera and gimbal in my hand and was on a coach full of holidaymakers, so basically I stood out like a saw thumb. But I still needed to get candid footage full of real reactions, expressions and human interactions.

It can be quite easy to sit down with a long lens and peep round corners to capture footage. If I’m honest I did that, its actually great to capture small details such as hand gestures. But what you end up with is a collection of clips of backs of heads and boring compositions that don’t work unless they are paired with intimate moments that really show the people and the experience. So be unafraid, I say! I got up and went and talked to the people on the coach, became their friend not because I needed to get that one good close up of someone smiling and enjoying themselves, but because I owed the subjects that much, I was ramming a camera into their personal space on their holiday!

The benefits I saw from really getting involved and talking to people was that I went from being the videographer to just being Will. I was a friend and what this meant is that I didn’t have to hide away to get the candid fly on the wall shots; instead I relaxed and enjoyed my time on the Mystery Tour and got access to the little moments that the passengers shared, the laughs, the gestures and the surprised faces when they all found out where they were going. I knew where we were going the whole time but managed to not spill it and ruin the surprise.

It’s hard to escape the safe bubble of ‘hiding’ behind a camera. But when you do, you realise that the best thing about being a photographer and a videographer is the amazing people you meet along the way and the stories you bring back from your shoots.

If you need help capturing a story, let’s get the conversation started.