I love photographing people when we travel.
A good portrait should give the viewer a sense of who your subject is. They should get a feeling of what it is like to be there with you in moment.
Here are a few simple techniques and tips I use to capture my subjects personalities in their true forms .
1. Fill the Frame: This is important. You can accomplish this in one of two ways. Get close and personal or use a zoom lense. For me I like to get close. It lets me talk and get to know the person that I am photographing. Filling the frame draws the viewer in and makes a connection. That is not to say that I have not used my zoom lens. Walking in a market or on the street is a great time to zoom in on a subject.
2. The Eyes: They are known as “the window to the soul” for a reason. There is something to be said for those candid shots you can snap with your zoom lens, but nothing comes close to capturing the true personality of a subject than the eyes. So when you photograph people, wait for the moment that they look at you. Capture the eyes and you capture a connection.
3. The Background: I have seen so many photographs of people ruined by background distractions. Even if it is out of focus you must pay attention to what is behind the subject. A color or object sticking out of the top of ones head is something I see often. It is usually just a matter of adjusting your shooting angle and it can be avoided. Also try and relate what is in the background with the subject in the frame, it will add context to the photograph .So before you press the shutter button, look past the subject and into the background. Your viewers will appreciate it.
4. Choose the right lens: When I am photographing people I tend to keep the focal length between 35mm and 135mm. When shooting with the wider angle make sure to use a large aperture. This will help to ensure the background is out of focus and create separation allowing your subject to stand out from his/her surroundings. When using 85-135mm focal length you can benefit from the shallower depth of field allowing the background to be more out of focus.
5.The Right Light: Soft light is what you want when photographing people. That cloudy day or diffused light coming through the window is flattering when shooting a portrait. Hard light is, well, too harsh. It usually accentuates unwanted features. Try to avoid shooting at high noon as the light is very “toppy” causing unflattering shadows. Wait until later in the afternoon or get up early in the morning to catch the best light. Train yourself to look for the best lighting conditions and remember, when the clouds roll in don’t put away your camera, this is the perfect time to photograph some people.
So there you have it. My top 5 tips and tricks for getting the best photos of people while you travel.