Photographing People While On a Trip

Travel photography guidelines and approaches for best people shots. Find out how to approach locals and how to take amazing portraits.

Just the idea of taking photos of people on your journeys is plenty of to send chills down the back of many a photographer. Coming up to total strangers and asking if they mind getting photographed can take some boldness. Naturally, it’s the people that make a place, and several well made local portraits will boost your photo album.

1. Be culturally informed

Be informed of any social behavior to photography. In some countries people can be scared of long lenses and then in others, shooting photos of women is disapproved. Some country guides have a place on photography that may flag up any major concerns. An oversight can result in you being embarrassed or on some cases even arrested.

2. How to make contact with people

Most persons you meet when traveling will be delighted to help when you get your camera out – they could be happy to have their photo taken if it’s at a location that hasn’t been over-visited to photographers. It may be that all it takes is a friendly gesture and a smile to get the reaction you wish for, and in countries where there’s a language barrier this is probably the only option.

Always be polite, don’t just go and walk up and point your camera at strangers. Start a dialogue first if possible, ask about their country, how beautiful it is, the weather, ask their name and so forth. Tell them about yourself and where you are coming from. This can break the ice and allow your probable subject the chance to say no to getting their photo taken. Some don’t like getting photographed for religious or cultural grounds, you have honor this.eos-photo.jpg

3. Make sure your camera is ready

When you’re at the position of photographing, you don’t want to be messing around in the camera menus and settings. You have to be prepared to grab a photo very quickly.

Make sure you have the right lens fitted. A shorter telephoto zoom with a focal length with 85-135mm is the ideal lens for the head and shoulders portraits. Just set a wider aperture – f/4, for instance – to put away any obvious backgrounds out of focus.

Use a lower ISO and set the lens aperture opened wide, is going to provide a quick, hand holdable shutter speed. Change the camera’s auto-focus to individual focus mode and attach the focus on the person’s eyes.

Sure all this has to go quickly, but do take the time to get the specifics right. A lot of photographers screw up here. About 60 seconds put in setting up the shot will certainly result in a better photo.

4. Should you pay your subject?

In many countries the local people know that they can make money off posing for tourists, and in poorer countries it's an important income in some cases. Regardless if you feel it’s suitable to pay for photos is an individual choice, but don’t take any pictures if you have no plan to pay.

5. Photographing children

Children are the same everywhere, they’re curious, lively and can be excellent subjects. Get down to their eye level and grab several shots to get them accustomed to having their photograph taken. No matter what's your subject’s age, always approach your subject with respect.african-children.jpg

6. Candid portrait photography

If you feel that asking strangers to pose for you is just too nerve-wrecking, your only alternative is to shoot candidly. In populated places, such as malls, squares or during events, this can provide an excellent chance to grab good pictures, and people are always relaxed when they’re not conscious of you and the camera.

Use a longer telezoom – around 200-300mm at the top ending should be perfect, allowing you to take frame-filling shots from a reasonable distance. Shooting at a highest, wide-open aperture will offer a shallow level of field that will place any unpleasant backgrounds out of focus.

7. Choose lighting

Try the smooth warm light in the morning or late evening when photographing people, and have a small fold-able reflector with you so that you can bounce light onto your subject.

If you’re photographing people in sunny locations during mid-day, you can result your shootings with badly looking images with low-contrast, but only if you let the sun shine all over the front of the lens. Fit a lens cover on top or use your hand to guard the front element to decrease the sun and get the best from your camera lens.


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