Often times when flipping through travel magazines, you will turn into pages that show beautiful portrait pictures taken by photographers who visited the countries. The portrait looks so naturally that the subject also reveal the aspects of his or her character, personality and spirit. Portrait are basically, reflective study of a person. Sometimes, you may ever think of how to get closer to your subject and take a quick snap. Isn’t this the main purpose of portrait photography during your travel? In particularly, when time is a constraint in your short visit. The challenge to achieve good portrait photo must not place time as the primary concern. Its a matter of how travelers manage to approach and communicate, in order to capture the attentions of the subject.
Before anything get started, sling up your camera to make it prominent and present yourself relax at first glance. The main purpose is to keep your subject aware of the camera’s presence. It also allow them mentally anticipate with you, as and when the time is ripe to take your first portrait shot. Below I have listed 5 basic skill for travel photographers.
- Always show up yourself with a smiling face and a good eye contact; the first and foremost non-verbal language to initiate a personal communication. Start of and maintain throughout your conversation. It is also the simplest skill set and uses the least effort. Neither do you need to learn a new language, nor to concern about if there are from totally different culture.
- Ask questions in an open and friendly manner. It is by nature that most individual, in someway or other, wants attention to make known to others of what there possess in their surroundings. It is apparently interesting, when you try talking to village children. There are the best attention-seekers to adults. Asking questions like what’s holding in their hands, how he or she do this tricks, what is the names of his/her friends, or you can give them a stick of chewing gums, and start a topic to makes them enjoy. Then show your gadget, as there feels comfortable with you. Take a new snap shots, and remember to give them a glimpse of what appears in your camera’s LCD screen. Believe it of not, there will be amazed when seeing their beautiful portrait taken and even want you to take more shots.
- Show respect to the elders, tribal people performing in a ritual, and village woman. By any chance that you plan for a home-stay with the rural villagers, you will bound onto people within these three categories. Maintaining a smile, eye contact, asking questions and talking to them may help to improve the communication. Yet, not everyone likes to interact with outsiders. First, understand that seniority people who has dwell comfortably in the less-visited village for many years. Thus, its normal to behave unresponsive, ignorance and reserved. Second, some tribal people are convinced that a camera can steal their soul or spirit. Reasons because it is their spiritual belief and religious privacy. To certain extend, there may have concern of who will see their portrait photos. Third, village women are conservative, like those from Muslim countries, who have veils covering their head and faces. Obviously, there don’t want to expose to photographers. And in this countries, males are usually the dominant members in any household. By all means if you able to make them feel comfortable with you. Otherwise, don’t waste time if people not responding to you. An advice: do not transgress into their cultural and religious belief, for due respect to these categories of people. Be shrewd and sensible; be optimistic to engage conversation with other people, instead.
- Ask for their permission politely. It is considered ethical, and is nearly practical, to ask permission before taking someone’s picture. After all your effort to initial a conversation, don’t spoil it by simply take your portrait without asking permission. This will cause deep offense and misunderstanding. Be personal, or with eye contact and smile, give basic sign language while holding your camera. If any response of refusal in gestures or verbal, you should accept with grace. Move on to other people, time is your secondary concern.
- Approach your subject with confidence, as it show the initial steps to manage and control your subject. Do not instruct, but talk casually; always maintain a sense of friendliness. In a quick time, get your first random shot to engage their excitement. Photography models are curious on what was taken, how there have posed, and concern about their look in the picture. Same thoughts applies to your subject as your model. Show your result to your model, compliment to inspire them, and suggest an improvement for second shot you intended. This time, you will get the better pose and composition. The result will look splendid, natural and more spontaneous. The key to achieve this is though courtesy, friendliness, and good humor.