One of the most special experiences about traveling is the visual stimulation of seeing people and things unlike anything you have ever seen. Naturally, with the development of cameras, and the social media expectations that need upholding, people feel inclined to get that perfect picture to feed to the masses through their platform of choice. The distribution of the photos is often a simple task where the photographer, no matter how novice, can temporarily feel employed by National Geographic. There are always tourist traps where photos being taken are expected, and an exchange of money is required. In other situations, you find yourself wanting to capture a moment of someone else in everyday life. The following steps and do’s and don’ts, can ensure the photo experience is positive for both parties.
1. Make eye contact: Without being invasive, take a second and see if you can catch their eye. If they are clearly avoiding eye contact, this photo opportunity is a no. Move on, and be assured that there are a thousand other beautiful people and experiences waiting happily for you to capture them.
2. Show camera: Once eye contact is made, hold up and point to the camera. If the subject seems comfortable, which you can easily tell by their universal body language, there is a possible photo opportunity.
3. Ask: This is your opportunity to practice an essential phrase that you learned before starting your trip. “Puedo tomar un photo?” The person being photographed is the decider of whether or not the photo is taken. You can even show some change, making the universal signal for a tip in exchange for the moment.
4. Snap: Snap away, but remember that this is not your model, and you are not Nigel Barker. Quickly find the best lighting and determine your best angle. Do not ask the person to adjust, give you angles, or to change their expression. You aren’t doing them favors, they are doing you one.
5. Show gratitude: After taking pictures show them the images. Practice saying the second important phrase you learned, “Bello!” It’s their likeness you are immortalizing, they should see it. To really be wonderful, go to a local print shop and print the photo if possible. Often times, a mirror is a luxury many people don’t have in rural areas, so a printed photo, maybe even in a frame, is easily a valued treasure.
It is important when capturing images though to not let the temporary, and very arbitrary fame, allow us to forget what is on the other side of the lens. Be it people, objects or animals, there is a certain decorum that should be followed when capturing these moments. Doing so will provide the photographer with the perfect shot and create a positive experience where the “subject” feels respected and admired, and not gawked at.