TRAVEL HACK: HOW TO TAKE BETTER PHOTOS OF PEOPLE ON YOUR TRAVELS
Photos from our travels have the ability to take us back to that very moment in a split second. It’s like looking through a window; they are inspiring, informative and evoke many memories. So it’s no surprise that photography plays such a large part on Mister Weekender. I’m no professional but I have, over the last few years, taken the time to learn how to use an SLR camera by asking friends and photographers for tips, as well as researching tutorials online. I have learned a lot from trial and error. I also recently revealed my top tips for travel photography – these are the very things I have learned along the way. And trust me, I still have a long way to go!
But last year when I attended a Travel Writing Course, something really resonated with me. I was taught the power of photographing people on my travels. And I’m not talking of photos of me globetrotting. I’m talking about locals, the real people who I meet on my travels. With that in mind, below are my tips on how to take better photos of people on your travels. And note, all photos in this post were taken on my recent trip to Peru - enjoy!
ALWAYS ASK The first rule for taking photos of people is asking the person/people whom you want in your photograph. I’ve travelled to many destinations around the world – Marrakech, Lima, Hong Kong, Berlin, Tokyo, Noumea – and universally people prefer photographers to ask them first before taking a photo. Plucking up the courage and confidence to ask can be daunting to say the least, but the worst they can do is to say no. It also pays to learn some key phrases if you’re visiting a country that doesn’t speak your language. I always buy Lonely Planet phrase books and really get into speaking another language – it’s so fun! Plus the locals love you for trying.
CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND When I am photographing peoples on my travels, I like to use a busy background with lots of texture as much as I like using a plain, classic background. The choice is yours!
GO FOR NATURAL SHOTS Posed shots can work really well if you’re shooting a portrait, close up photo of a face. However I am not overly experienced with this, and sometimes posed shots can lack a certain authenticity. My best advice for a novice photographer is to shoot your subject doing something from their normal daily life. Crossing the street, in a marketplace, with their friends or family are great places to start.
PHOTOGRAPH A VARIETY OF PEOPLE Photograph people dressed in national costume as well as locals handpicking fruit in a market – mix it up between men and women, children and older people to get a variety of photos.
INTERACT AND SHOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS Interact with the person/people you are photographing. Ask them questions, make them laugh, watch them go about their day. And remember to show them your photos. Trust me, they love this! And if possible, get their email address so you can share the photos with them when you get home.
This post is in collaboration with Southern Cross Travel Insurance. All thoughts are my own.