Travel Portraits

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1. Posted by gregtphoto (Budding Member 4 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

Many trips involve visiting festivals. During these festivals, some of the most memorable photos we get are of people. How to get the best? Since we are visitors, and not journalists, my attitude is to introduce myself and ask to make the photo. If we don't speak the same language, I'll point to my camera and smile. The message is obvious. We have already affected the scene by being there. Since that's the case, I strive to get a memorable photo. I don't sneak a photo. On the contrary, I often get in my subject's face and make an intimate picture. Don't treat people like animals in the zoo! Instead, show them they interest you. Hopefully, this advice will help others get some photos they will cherish for years. What is your method for photographing people on your travels?

2. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 359 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

What is your method for photographing people on your travels?

Quite the opposite from your method! Candid shots (sneaking photos?) involving large groups of people, I.E. street scenes, busy markets, public transport or the festivals you mentioned, are the best in my opinion - I feel like I am snapping a photo that is capturing a moment full of people rather than an individual - no poses.

I guess in my case the subject of the photo goes beyond the people, but still involves them in a minor way. The people become just as significant (or not) as everything else around them. I never feel as if I'm photographing specimens at a zoo, though.

I was raised near many Amish folks and they are very sensitive to "being the subject" of a photo. That carries over elsewhere to - often more a cultural thing than a personal preference. Of course, asking is the polite thing to do if you choose to make ANYONE the sole subject of your photo. It also helps to know when not to bother even asking!:

If only my photos were any good...

3. Posted by gregtphoto (Budding Member 4 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

The candid method is how many great street photogs have made their bones. I guess my background as a headshot and commercial photographer make me almost need some eye contact. A street scene with one person looking back at the camera would work as a candid for me.

4. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 359 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

I miss shooting film as we travel. It seems such an archaic way to snap a photo; digital has made the whole thing too simple - your next "exposure" comes from an infinite source and is ready to be viewed at the push of a button. They are handy, though...

We are wicked early risers, so getting out and about as a city or town wakes up and folks start opening up shop is a always a great time to get to know a place and take a few photos.

I never travel with my film SLR, opting to save space and weight, but I still love the look and feel of my Canon T60 whenever I get a chance to shoot it. Even sending the film out to get it developed - I love that anticipation. Oh, the - ahem - good old days!

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Mar-2019, at 18:43 by road to roam ]

5. Posted by gregtphoto (Budding Member 4 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

Now that you mention it, I miss the feel of my F100. However, it sure is nice not traveling with film, and the savings in not processing is great! Getting up as the city wakes is the best way to get acquainted. Now the travel bug is back...

6. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1033 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

I like to do a mix of candid street photography and asking for a portrait, as both have their merits. With the former I can capture people in a more active way, doing something more than posing for my camera. But you can often capture a person's character better when they engage with you and your lens. So if I go to a busy market, for instance (and I love to visit markets wherever I travel because of the photo opps) I will try to take some candid shots of people buying and selling but also ask a few stallholders if they would pose. That way I capture two things in one visit - the daily life of the market and some sense of the people whose lives revolve around it.

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8. Posted by gregtphoto (Budding Member 4 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

The candid along with posed approach is one I often do. However, I find the posed, or at least shots with eye contact, are the ones I enjoy seeing the most later. Obviously, one technique doesn't work for everyone, or all situations, and flexibility is important.

9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1240 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

I don't take many pictures of people and when I do, it's usually someone I know or it's a crowd scene.

10. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 791 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

When I take pictures of people it is usually a crowd setting but I do have preference of pictures that show people just living their lives rather than posed photo ops. For me it is more trying to capture a sense of what life is like in the place I am visiting but also I doubt I am a good enough photographer to capture a sense of a person;). It would probably just come off looking fake.