Travel Photography Made Different: Photographing People

Traveling to destinations to photograph people in their native locales can make for exciting, interesting and educational images. There are a few tips to keep in mind, to avoid any embarrassing gaffes or unintentional insults, with the most important ones explained below.

This is the most crucial tip that should be considered the primary rule in travel photography: treat all people with respect at all times. It is important for the photographer to remember the local people are allowing photographs to be taken of them in their home, trusting him or her with their private emotions and environments.

The fact that strangers are allowing another stranger to peek into their private lives should be considered a gift, and treated as such.

Choosing the right background

Consider the subjects that will make up the image, and how the background will play a role in creating more interest in the photograph. An ideal background is something that is not distracting, but adds to the context of the destination being photographed and will give people who view the image greater insight into that place.

If the subject of the photograph is going to be strictly a person's face, an ideal set up would be a brightly lit area with a dark background. This lighting and lack of background props makes the subject's visage "pop" from the photograph.

Filling The Frame

To best shoot a local's face, make sure to fill the frame for the best and most interesting image. This requires the photographer to get up close to the subject or the use of a quality zoom lens.

Consider Unposed Shots

Posed shots can make great photographs in many situations, but in travel photography the posed shots can seem to lack an authenticity that should be prevalent in destination photographs. Instead of posing the subjects, the photographer is better off capturing them in a moment from their normal daily life, be it at work, market or home.

Additional Subjects Make Wonders

Many photographers who travel to find interesting areas to photograph tend to stick with including one subject in their photograph, because it may be the photographer's signature image and most favorable to his or her sensibilities. The photographer wanting to break out of his or her comfort zone might add a second person to a shot, and the photo immediately sends a different message to the viewer.

Instead of the photograph being about a person in their home environment, it now sends a relational message and is more about the subjects than the destination of travel. It still is a relevant travel photograph, it just becomes multi-dimensional, with the addition of an extra, interesting layer.

Consider More Than One Individual For Your Shots

There are many photographs in different locations of people costumed in the native attire of the country being explored. These images are very effective, and show a different type of life, they bring into question their relevancy to the actual culture that they are representative of.

Most often these sujects are in costume for a parade or celebration of some sort, and the true cultural spirit of the local people is not accurately portrayed. A good remedy for this issue is to simply photograph many different types of people, genders and ages. The photographer will end up with an accurate representation of the culture in question.

Extended Photoshoot - Create A Photostory

The nature of travel photography is to be fast and spontaneous, capturing a moment in time of a certain area. If the photographer finds an interesting subject and is able to spend a quality amount of time with him or her, the resulting photographs take on a type of narrative, story-telling quality which will add to their appeal and interest. In addition, the photographer is able to use a variety of techniques, lenses and environments to further enhance the images being captured.

Candid Shots Make The Scene

A good habit for a photographer to get into is to keep the viewfinder to his or her eye after the initial shot that was set up has been taken. There are many true emotions to be photographed when the subject has either just been photographed or is not quite ready to be photographed. Candid shots can be obtained by setting the camera to continuous shooting mode; one never knows when one special moment will occur.

What Equipment To Use

Every lens has its strengths and weaknesses. Most photographers agree that any lens is capable of taking a good portrait if he or she uses the lens properly, playing to its strengths. However, some lenses are just made to work better under certain circumstances. Most professional photographers concede that a lens with a focal length between 50mm and 135mm is a good range to work with.

Wide angle lenses, in addition, can produce fascinating images, but they tend to distort the subject's face; once in a while this can be an effective technique, however. Lastly, if the subject and photographer are virtual strangers, which is likely in travel photography, a longer focal length can work wonders at putting the subject at ease, allowing them their personal space.