Travel portrait photography might seem difficult – but with the right approach, it’s surprisingly easy.
I’ve taken portraits while traveling all around the world, and in this short article, I explain everything you need to know for stunning travel portraiture, including:
- The best ways to approach locals
- A simple trick to create your subjects at ease
- How to choose the right equipment
- How to find the best locations
- Much more!
If you want to become a travel photography master, then let’s jump right in, starting with our first tip:
1 . Be ready for beautiful occasions
If you’re serious about capturing top-notch take a trip portraits, then you should be prepared to fire the camera shutter at all times .
Travel portraiture is all about shooting the brief times – the glimpses into a person’s life that are not replicable. You’re not doing landscape photography, where you (often) have plenty of time to select the lens, set up your tripod, and choose your configurations; instead, you’re doing travel portraits , which require a fast shutter finger and intense psychological focus.
That’s why you should constantly check the environment, looking for potential candid subjects. And even once you have found a subject, watch them carefully for a memorable split-second expression.
Furthermore, make sure you take your lens cover off, switch your digital camera on, adjust your travel settings in advance, and be prepared to shoot!
2 . Get close to your own subject
Do you feel your travel portraits seem boring? It’s probably since you are beyond the boundary away .
I know seems awkward to get close to someone you don’t know, particularly in a foreign country. It seems so much easier to shoot from the distance and capture a more environmental vacation portrait , or to break away that telephoto lens , zoom within, and click away.
Unfortunately, in my experience, this just won’t work.
If you want to catch crisp, sharp, extraordinary images that tell a story plus leave your audience stunned, you must overcome your shyness. A close perspective will certainly add more details to your subject’s face; it will also simplify the particular
How can you get up close without feeling uncomfortable? That’s what I explain in my following few tips:
3. Practice approaching people
It’s the biggest challenge in journey portrait photography: How do you obtain close to people without bothering them? How do you talk to strangers and ask for permission to consider pictures?
Begin by practicing .
Think about whatever you might say to a person. Create a script (or three) if you have to. Then practice this in the mirror. Practice cheerful, practice gesturing to your camera, and practice saying the script repeatedly until it is automatic.
Sure, you might feel a bit silly – but when it comes time to actually approach an individual, it’ll be so much simpler!
When you’re approaching a person for real, it’s all about your attitude. So make contact, seem upbeat, talk, and – most importantly! – smile.
Bottom line: Do not be shy, adapt to the local culture, get to know people, make friends, and you will take great pictures.
4. Learn the fundamentals of the local language
You may be wondering:
If I do not know the local language, after that how can I approach people and interact successfully?
It’s simple: Simply learn a few basic terms. These won’t take a lot effort, but they’ll proceed a long way to helping you approach people. In my experience, these are the six most important phrases you need to learn before traveling to a new country:
- Hello, how are you?
- My name is …?
- I am from …?
- What is your title?
- Thank you!
Practice the key phrases on bus rides, and ask your hotel receptionist, taxi driver, or local friends how to pronounce words. Do not be afraid to make mistakes!
Then, when you’re out shooting, go up to the people with your camera and use the phrases. Once you’ve become acquainted, gesture to your camera – and if you get the particular nod of approval, take their photo!
5. Smile a lot!
I stated it before, but it is so important that it deserves its section:
Anything you do, when you’re approaching strangers, make sure to smile. The smile can go such a long way . If you are grumpy and angry because you’re not getting the photos you want, it’ll put people off. No one will want to move near you, and people definitely won’t want to get their picture used by you.
If you do it right, once you come home from a photo walk, you’ll have lots of pictures. As well as your cheeks should hurt from all the smiling!
6. Take your time
Once you’ve made contact with a potential subject, and you’ve established a good feel, it’s time to take a picture. But don’t rush; that will make your subject uncomfortable, and it won’t make for a good result.
Rather, take advantage of all the “work” you’ve put in and take your time. Become calm, think about the light, think about what you want to emphasize (the eye, the hands, or the individual itself), and think about the history. Take a deep breath and try a few shots. Maybe switch sides and test out different compositions.
As you work, your subject will also become more relaxed and get used to the camera. Once again, there is no need to rush. In my opinion, a slow portrait is nearly always better than a fast one!
seven. Don’t be afraid to move
Reality can be quite uninteresting, and while there are plenty of great topics, not all compositions work – so don’t get stuck capturing the same obvious, typical shots.
Instead, when you approach a new issue, then about all the different vegetation and angles you might make use of. Envision a strong image in your mind. Then move to make it take place!
In particular, pay attention to your subject’s position within the scene and how they relate to elements in the foreground and the background. You don’t need trees or signs appearing out of your subject’s head, and you also don’t want any strong splashes of color that will distract the viewer, possibly.
Thankfully, just by taking a few procedure for the right or left, you can often eliminate distractions and/or include additional beautiful components.
Don’t be lazy! And don’t just rely on your lens’s zoom features. For the best shots, move all those feet!
8. Get a 50mm lens
I know, I realize: You can take great travel pictures with any lens (and any camera, for that matter). However , certain lenses are ideal for particular types of photography, and if you need stunning travel portrait photos, I highly recommend you buy a 50mm lens.
What makes a 50mm lens so special?
For one, the perspective is very natural and therefore great for pictures. You’ll be able to capture detailed shots without standing too close to your subject, yet you’ll also be able to backup for a wider field associated with view in case you want to take some environmental images.
Plus, a 50mm prime lens will power you to really think about your own compositions. You won’t be able to zoom in on your topics; if you want to get a tight photo, you’ll need to make the planned decision to move closer.
Bonus: 50mm lenses are super portable, which means you can carry one all day long and you won’t notice the bodyweight.
9. Start by shooting kids and individuals in action
If you’re still feeling a bit uncomfortable about approaching people plus asking for a shot, then begin easy:
With kids, and with people for.
You see, children are so easy to photograph. They usually love getting their picture taken; they’ll pose designed for long minutes and never get bored! Of course , be mindful of boundaries, and often ask the parents before shooting their child.
As for recording people in action:
I’m talking about people who are doing something. For instance, you’ll have an easy time photographing a person playing a musical instrument, whereas a person doing nothing will surely notice your approach. Do you observe what I mean? People who are busy with tasks won’t care about a person taking pictures, so they’re a great beginner’s subject!
Pro tip: Look for conventional workshops or handicraft businesses. They usually make for great vacation portrait opportunities!
10. Get out of the touristy areas
Travel portrait photography is about capturing authentic images that actually tell the story of an area.
And you won’t find that story in touristy hubs.
You see, tourist attractions are (usually) far from a country’s reality. Sure, take a couple of images in the tourist traps, but then move farther afield. Note that getting off the beaten track isn’t as difficult as you might think; the idea takes just 15 minutes to get yourself in a small, local community.
So that as a photographer, that is to want to be. You’ll meet actual people who aren’t out to sell things. You will have more probabilities to interact, practice your newly acquired language abilities, and take more genuine photographs.
Plus, it’ll make for a much better travel experience than the “Lonely Planet path. ”
Travel family portrait photography: final words
Capturing great journey portraits takes a little exercise.
Yet it’s worth it.
So don’t be shy; instead, get out that digital camera, make friends with the locals, and capture some great photos! Spend some time, open up, get close, plus don’t forget to smile.
Now over to you:
Which usually of these travel portrait ideas do you plan to use on your own next trip? Share your ideas in the comments below!