When photographing people in their local context there are a number of techniques that I try to use (not all of them in every shot as some are mutually exclusive). Keep in mind the principles of treating people with respect mentioned in our last post:
- Choose your Background - I’ve already talked about making shots contextual but one great way to do this is to think about what’s in the background behind the people you’re photographing. Ideally you want something that’s not too distracting but that adds to the context of the place you’re shooting in. Another technique for shooting shots of people that ignores the ‘contextual’ rule is to find a brightly lit position with a dark background. This can really help the face you’re shooting to pop out and capture the viewer’s attention.
- Fill your Frame - Some of the best shots I’ve taken of people while traveling have been where I’ve tightly frames people’s faces. This means either getting in nice and close to the person or having and using a good zoom lens.
- Go for natural (un-posed shots) - While sometimes the posed shots can work quite well they can also lack a certain authenticity. Photograph your subject doing something from their normal daily life. At work, in a marketplace, at home, feeding their child, crossing the street etc.
- Add another subject - Most of the shots I’ve taken of people over the years while traveling have been of single subjects alone in the shot. This is partly just my style (and is a good technique in and of itself ) but is something I’ve become quite aware of in the last few months. Adding a second person into an image takes a photo into a different place. No long is the shot just about a person and their environment but it somehow becomes relational. The viewer of the photo begins to wonder about the relationship and a new layer is added to your shot.
- Photograph a variety of people - Quite often it’s the shots of people dressed in national costume that tend to attract photographers when traveling. While these shots can be very effective I wonder if they are always really representative of a culture. Quite often these people have dressed up especially for a show or tourist attraction and the majority of people in that country look quite different. Mix up the types, gender and ages of people that you take photos of and you can end up with a very effective collage of faces of a country.
- Arrange an extended photo shoot - This goes against the nature of most travel photography which is usually very fast and spontaneous - but on one or two occasions when I’ve traveled I’ve had opportunity to sit with a person for a longer period of time and photograph them in a more extended manner. This enables your photographs to take a on a story telling nature and can lead to some wonderful sequences of shots using different photographic techniques, lenses and situations to shoot in.
- Get Candid - keep your camera to the eye for taking those spontaneous shots between the more posed ones. It’s amazing what images that you can find when the person isn’t ‘ready’ for you to shoot (or just after you’ve taken a shot). These shots often include people interacting with others or expressing true emotion. I find setting my camera to continuous shooting mode (where it will shoot burts of frames quickly) often leads to some wonderful candid shots.
- Lens Choice - I’m a big believer in that virtually any lens can take a good portrait shot if you work to it’s strengths. Having said that, some lenses do tend to lend themselves to great portraits. I find that a focal length between 50mm and 135mm is a good range to work with. Going for wide angle lenses can also produce interesting shots but you will often find that they do distort your subject’s face a little (sometimes this is very effective). Choosing a longer focal length can be useful for putting your subjects a little more at ease.
1. Use a Polarising Filter
The saturation of colours that you get with one of these is fantastic. It is particularly useful in getting lovely blue skies but you’ll find that it decreases some of the haze that you often get at this time of year also.
2. Shoot in the Golden Hours
While you can get great results at any time of the day - I love shooting Autumn colours at the end of the day just before sunset when the light is golden. This accentuates the reds and golds even more than normal.
3. Don’t ignore the Overcast Days
Some people keep their cameras in their bags on days where the sun isn’t shining - but they can actually be the best days. I like overcast days because they help create a mood that you can’t get on a sunny day - plus the images are nice generally nice and rich.
4. Look for Contrasts
One way to accentuate the colours in your shots is to think about framing your shots in such a way that the different colours contrast with one another. Golden leaves on a blue sky - a red leaf on a lush green grass etc.
Every on-location portraitist is faced with the challenge of paying attention to the details regarding his or her subject, such as posing, lighting, composition etc. Perhaps the greatest mistake made by amateur on-location portrait photographers is the lack of emphasis placed on a portrait’s background surroundings.
Photographers who do not closely examine the surroundings within the frame of their image are those who come away with images that have great distractions. No high school senior or bride will purchase a portrait in which a tree limb is sticking out of her head. Such distracting elements take emphasis off the subject, and are detrimental to the portraitist’s sales. There is nothing more painful for a portraitist than taking a portrait that is beautifully posed, gorgeously lit, and absolutely unusable … simply because no attention was given to background composition!
Posing and lighting both play enormous roles in the creation of a dynamic portrait. However, background composition is a forgotten component that requires an equal amount of time and thought.
Some things to consider when creating a perfectly composed portrait:
1. Fill the frame with your subject :
A portrait is about the person, so don’t be afraid to zoom in close! Remember that zooming in does not mean capturing only face shots. You can also capture “tight”, close up shots of your subject sitting on a stool or leaning into a tree.
Hu3..Cite dh lame but baru skrg nk update..ek3
X pedulik nk cite jgk..hu3
3rd raye aku die serang sakit perut yg tahan gaban..x brenti2 ulang alik “bank”..
Lemah rase bdn2 nie..smp rase xmo g knduri kwn uppa..tp ppa said xpe g ptg2 sket..hu3..dh pas mnum ubat yg ABE bg..dh ok sket..so nie few pic mase kat knduri tu..ho3
Uppa X-School mate..
Hu3..2nd syawal..xde ape2 actvty sgt..kami just dok kat umah & mkn & ptg dlm pkol 5pm we all g new Giant & Parkson kat KB..hu3..Saje jln2..that time hujan sket..but tu x menghalang kami tuk g round bandar KB yg dh mula sibok..Mgkn Sibok dgn warga klate sndiri OR dgn warga lua klate yg membeli tuk bwk blk..temasokla kami..ehehehheh..
KB view with pose by Sajeeda..hu3
Kiteorg kene park kene jauh sket sbb xde parking..hu3..tp xpe asal dpt g tmpt d tuju..hik3
Uppa jd bby sitter jab time nie..hu3
Hu3..As per last entry..aku dok cite ttg pertama raya..
(entry kali nie sgt panjang berjela berserta pic yg mcm2)
Skrg aku nk share dgn sume our 1st memory beraya as mrs.Uppa..hu3
MALAM RAYA >>
Hu3..PAs aje berbuka kami & uppa niece..nephew g kat 1 tmpt khas Ba buat tuk anak cucu menantu main mercun/bunga api / sbagainyer..ek3..we call it kebun bersimen..ekekek..so nie few pic yg smpt kami captured as kenangan..hu3
Hu3..Yie main mercun yg ade 30 das..Uppa look like dancing guy..ek3
There is uppa niece & nephew..at back..my FIL..Hu3..Sume dok ralit tgk uppa bakar mercun..
Smpt jgk posing..Pic sblh show our few mercun & bunga api..hu3..Aku pon ade bwk jgk dr kg..bli dgn k.yong..dpt diskaun sket..ek3
Acik..Haikal..Hayyin & me..
Pas settle main bunga api& mercun kami samb. bakar sate..my MIL peram sndiri daging tu..Last pic is my BIL..we call him ABE..ek3
1 SYAWAL >>
Di pagi raya..Pas smyng raya we all mkn dulu..Hu3..Then baru slm2..& sesi penyampaian Hadiah berupa “DUIT RAYA”..hu3
Nie sume time dh settle..Sajeeda yg sgt suke berposing..Kakak & Adik g konon2..tgh deco choc moise..hu3..Sedap cake nie..k.nik yg bikin..ek3
Our 1st memory..Same Ala2 pink to maroonkaler gitu..Np x pkai tudung??Time ni rambut x kering lg..hu3..(Ade aku Kesah)???
Uppa & Our Goodies bag..Dh mcm tradisi..every yer aku bg duit raya & goodies bag..saje suke2..ek3
K.Pah & abe’s turn to give a DUIT RAYA..hu3
Me…K.nik & k.cik yg aku x tau time nie die tgk ape ntah..hu3