Much of the travel photography advice culled from the Internet is less-than-reliable. Here at the National Geographic Society, we have the unparalleled advantage of working with some of the world's best photographers. Here—free for the taking—we present you weekly trinkets of travel photography wisdom from our esteemed experts. Happy shooting!
How to Shoot a Portrait
close to people is the best way to get close to a culture. The camera
is a great tool for meeting people. I've found that in every country
there are folks who love to be photographed. But there are secrets,"
says photographer Catherine Karnow, who has been shooting for more than 20 years, including this great shot of a few laughing boys in the Arab Quarter of Marseille and this photo of an exuberantly patriotic family celebrating Australia Day.
Five of Karnow's secrets for shooting portraits include:
- Take the time to develop relationships with people and the land.
- Focus on common experiences—love, family, friends, death, celebration—and appreciate the cultural differences.
- Keep your camera discreet, always ask permission, and photograph people unposed, ideally involved in a typical setting.
- Learn a dozen words of the local language. "Please" and "thank you" are good places to start. And be sure to smile.
- Learn as much as you can about a place before visiting and always respect local customs. If you're not wanted, quietly leave and move along to the next photo opportunity.
MORE PHOTO INFO: For more photography tips from National Geographic Traveler photographers, click here, or sign up for one of our travel photography seminars. Plus, join our Flickr pool, download Traveler's free photo of the week for your computer's wallpaper, and navigate photography websites like a pro.