Last year I travelled all across South East Asia – a trip which not only expanded my personal horizon, but also helped to immensely improve my photography. At the beginning of my trip, my biggest struggle was taking good portraits. The problem wasn’t the lack of opportunities; I encountered incredible and the utmost photogenic scenes around almost every corner. Instead, it was that I just felt too shy or not confident enough to get close to my subject.
I had lots of excuses which might sound familiar to you: “I don’t want to disturb the moment”, “I don’t want to intrude on people’s privacy” or “It’s just a game of luck and chance anyhow”. It was frustrating and I knew that, despite all of the excuses, this was something I really had to work on. By lots or trial and error, and the help of some amazing photographers I met on the way, I gained some important insights on how to bring my people photography to a whole new level. I want to share these and hopefully help you overcome that awkward feeling and false reservation you have when photographing people.
This is very basic and obvious, but so important. People photography is about brief moments, a glimpse which is normally not replicable. You are not doing landscape photography which leaves you with all the time you need. So have your lens cap off, have your camera switched on, be prepared to adjust settings and BE READY.