Some thoughts and tips how not to alienate the locals. Therefore, i try to explain my responsible travel photography, ethics and values. I start to ask me if Is it ok to take photos of locals without their permission? And so How do local customs dictate what is and isn’t ok? How do I pluck up the courage to ask people if I can shoot their portrait?
I’ve find though that photography when traveling isn’t always easy. Not all cultures view photography in the same way i do, and often it’s the case that it can feel almost exploitative when there’s a visible economic disparity between you and the person you’re photographing.
These shouldn’t be reasons to put you off though. As with responsible travel in general, if you start with some knowledge about the place you’re visiting, travel with an open mind. Also get prepared to put yourself out there and connect with others, photography, like travel, can build bridges and enrich your whole trip.
Below are ten tips that, with experience, I’ve found make photography more rewarding for both me and the person I’m photographing or I want to photograph.
Tips for responsible travel photography
Get to know the place you are visiting
People’s cultures and attitudes toward photography will vary from country to country. Sometimes change even region to region within a country. In fact during my travels, I came across several cultures who really like posing for a shoot like the Indias. Other, instead can thinking you take the photo to stealing their soul. This is something i assure you that you don’t want on your conscience. So, before you arrive, research the place you are visiting and then you have a sense for how people feel about having their picture taken.
Would you do this at your country?
For having a nice responsible travel photography just answer to the question above. Indeed, you need to remember that people everywhere deserve the same respect and so if there’s a photo you wouldn’t feel comfortable taking at home, then there’s every likelihood that you probably shouldn’t take it elsewhere either. Think naked kids, people without toilets using public spaces—you get the idea!
The key is the confidence!
All of my greatest photography interactions with locals have happened when I’ve had a smile on my face and an open attitude. People generally give back what you put in; so if you put out genuine warmth and a smile, then this will come back to you in the interactions and experiences you have and the photos you capture. Equally, if you come across as insecure or uncomfortable about either the environment you’re in or the fact that you’re taking pictures, people are more likely to be wary of you—and this too will be reflected in the photos you get back.
Language is no barrier.
When photographing people, unless it’s a broader street scene, it’s really important to get consent. If someone says no to a photo, it’s an absolute must that you respect it, even if it pains you inside to lose the shot.
So if you’re in a country where the language is unfamiliar, try learning a few words to help you to do this. Even if you don’t say it well, the effort will be appreciated. If spoken languages are not your strong point, body language also works exceptionally well. The body language as non verbal communication is really important. In fact a simple gesture is usually all you need to communicate that you’d like to take a photo.
Interact before shooting
While it’s not always possible, some of the greatest photos I’ve taken and experiences I’ve had traveling generally have come after I’ve seen something I want to photograph.
Instead of taking the photo immediately, I’ll try and engage the people I’m seeing and, if possible, get involved in what they’re doing. So, take breath and don’t be impetuous. By building that connection, they are likely to then feel more comfortable and will come across as more natural when you take pictures later. You may also end up getting an insight into something that you might not have experienced as more of an outsider.
No need to hide your camera
Similar to before, people feel more at ease if they immediately know your intentions. So if your purpose is to get out there and take pictures, then let them know, talk to them or make your camera visible. Have a good conversation bring confidence.
Also, if you’re in an environment where you feel it’s too showy or not safe to wear your camera, don ‘t do it. Easy.
Deliver what you promise
In the past I’ve had a few occasions during my trips when I’ve taken a image and then the person has asked for me to send it to them. Most of the time they won’t have email but just only an address.So find a way to keep your promise if that’s what you committed to. It’s important!
Remember that photography is also an exchange. In fact, you’re required to fulfill your end of the bargain. By not doing so, you’re also jeopardizing other photographers’ opportunities to shoot in the future.
Handle the money issue
This is a issue that can be a little bit more controversy. Many of us have probably been in this situation happen at some stage. You see someone who really want to photograph. So you do the right thing and ask for their consent, only to be told it will cost you. And now, what I’m going to do?
If the photography should be an exchange, is correct to paying money or providing things like candy for shooting This can create all manner of problems. Among other ethic issues, it encourages begging, and dramatically alters the relationship between locals and tourists so that genuine interactions. So you have to think carefully in those instances, and, ask yourself if that one image is really worth it. Most of the time is not.
Don’t forget to enjoy the moment, never, when you take the shot.
Photos are a record of a moment in time that, presumably, you want to remember. Anyway memories are made through all of the senses, not just the visuals. So get the shot you want, but then take a moment to really savor what you’re seeing. Enjoy, Enjoy and then Enjoy!!!!