HOW TO CREATE AMAZING TRAVEL IMAGES
TIPS#1 CONNECT YOURSELF WITH THE LOCAL PEOPLE
Article and Images : Tania Chatterjee
Sharing my personal travel experiences, which might help you to improve your travel photography skills. Try to connect yourself with the local people before taking their images; making people comfortable is most important. Local people are the soul of a particular place; people should feel comfortable with you and the camera. This is a personal skill and nothing to do with camera, its settings, light condition etc. Being connected means, you are engaging yourself with the subject, asking the right questions and making yourself as well as your subject comfortable with each other. Let me explain it with few images.
During my Bhutan trip (2016), while travelling to Paro from Thimpu I heard drumbeats in a quiet hamlet. My instincts tingled and slowly went to the house. I started interacting with this wonderful lady. She invited me to her home and I spend almost one hour with her family talking about the importance of the ritual. She allowed me to take her portrait as well as images of the ritual. Connecting with the subjects provides more satisfying and memorable images.
During my same visit to a monastery in Bhutan I was quite fascinated by the education system. I spent considerable amount of time watching them, then started discussion about the education process from a senior monk and few novice monks. It is always good to start with neutral questions like, how old is this monastery or how many children are studying here. Once the connection and comfortability with the subject is fostered, the images gets a new life of its own.
Almost same things happened with me during my visit to Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, Myanmar (2018). Due to rain, I was stuck there for half a day and got sufficient time to spent with the little monks and got some amazing soul satisfy images. You can experience them in the pictures below.
While trekking in a small village of Uttarey, Sikkim ( 2017), I met a Nepali family and could spend some quality time with them. I interacted about the children ‘s studies, the corn, the weather , livelihood etc. with the family members and kids. Once the level of comfort is set, they happily posed and gifted me the following images.
While travelling focus on QUALITY and not on QUANTITY of pictures. Connect yourself with the place, create the memories, these are equally important to become a travel photographer. Here are few tips, what I usually follow to connect myself with local people.
SMILE AND MAINTAIN POSITIVE GESTURES: You have to cross the language barrier with smile and positive gestures. Don’t be shy to communicate. Usually local people are equally curious about you. So break the ice with your positive intension and start asking open ended questions. Take help of a mediator to cross the language barrier. Once your subject gains some confidence on you, then take a few simple snaps. Show the picture to the subject and other people around, this builds confidence and comfort with the camera and the photographer.
ASK QUESTIONS : Try to gain some knowledge about local people’s daily life, their culture, livelihood etc. These will help to start the communication process and break the barrier. Travel photography is not only about taking good images, it is also about gaining knowledge about that place.
SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF : Let them know about you too. Tell them about your place, profession, photography etc and your objective of taking travel images.
We all want to return back home with some excellent images. And for that don’t jump to a place and start clicking. Try to get the real essence of that place and make yourself comfortable. As a people/ documentary travel photographer connecting yourself with some local souls is important. Your good intension and travel experiences will teach you, how well you connect yourself with local people. This quality of your personality may be directly not related with photography, but it’s an essential skill to become a travel and documentary photographer.
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