Tips for Travel Photography

Tips for Travel Photography

so as David said you know I'm an editorial photographer I primarily focus on travel travel stories and also I'm doing a lot of cultural documentary work now using finding a way for art to to foster education initiatives and formal curriculum teaching people our culture's that's our solemn editorial work and that's more of their own personal side so I'm working with a lot of nonprofits and government organizations on that so what I'm going to tell you today is a little bit about travel in general because it kind of you know you have to be a master of all trades to shoot travel and then you can in it's almost a starting point and then you can pick and choose as to which one view fancy and you know follow that path so before I start a real quick show of hands as to how many in the in the audience are full-time photographers right great and how many are like you know I would say advanced amateurs of this I don't know how they what's the right term for it great perfect and I assume the rest of you guys are still shooting you have a camera and you shoot primarily when you when you travel that's great so first of all when I say tips and techniques of successful travel photography I don't want it to be a prescriptive thing it is pretty much the whole lectures about what I have learned from the field so I hope it is not something at a textbook learning but more so my experiences so what why what might work for me may not work for you so take it with a grain of salt and if you have any questions feel free to ask so what is travel photography now travel when you see the word travel photography there are certain of images or visions of travel photography the people have you know be the landscape be people so I want to show you some images that I have taken of you know as for assignments or for personal work that kind of covers the genre of travel photography the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of travel photography is what is my perception of the place I'm going to it could be in New York it could be somewhere else so the first image is this image that was shot for a story in Rio and even before I went to Rio I had this vision of being on the beach and the Sun coming and somebody you know basically enjoying the atmosphere so this was a shot for me this was the opener for the story in Rio and this is a typical travel shot it has got a sort of a studious cape and landscape and something about the people that lived there so the reason why I'm kind of going through all these things is for you guys to keep in mind when you are shooting weather professionally or for yourself or even just for fun it I mean I can guarantee you not guarantee I can I can say that these will make your pictures better or make it more personal for you rather than just a picture postcard shot which you can always buy for a quarter or something like that the next thing the next shot is actually I don't know how it's rendering but the next shot is the within Croatia and this is again for a story and it has a element of travel to it when more of a sense of place what was what was my take on Croatia on the you know in McCarthy Island for example gives you a sense of how people live there how people spend the summer this is by the way a picture of a swimming team and I'll talk more about how to photograph people towards the end because it's a very discussed topic and I would be happy to share my experiences yes guy this is afternoon light this is around 4 o'clock actually no actually I had to skip dinner for this my remember so this was 6:30 yeah because dinner was being served at 6:00 I said you know it's important for me to go out and shoot and have dinner so I ended up skipping dinner and I had cookies that night I think oh my god this one is about again travel but as you can see it has an element of nature and us as humans my my work pretty much encompasses taking us telling stories about people in the context of their environments and in and where we live how we live and this for me was the perfect shot exemplifying the glaciers of Patagonia and how they are easily accessible by by most people around the world and most most based on the world you can't just walk to a glacier in Patagonia you can't do that so that was my shot this is in Thailand again the element to this story was a story about coastal life in Thailand the islands and more around the scale more around what it means there you know the the sense of freedom that comes with in a space like that so this has got elements of landscape people life's livelihoods again travels genre moving a little clothes things you always come across his food and food is a very very important part of travel this is actually a shot as part of a nightlife story but for me it was important that I show a culture through food because for me I'm a big foodie you know I live to eat so yeah exactly sometimes but that's that's separate but you know if I would order to get a chance like I mean I'm always shooting food because it to me is that's how I get to meet people my camera lets me get meet people and then food you know sharing food with someone on you know unknown and familiar with you get to know a little bit of their culture and so food is something that really you know shows about travel and you know your experience in general this is another food shot but for another story in Turkey and this was you know if you've went to Turkey chai is a big big part of the culture and this was in a tea in a tea house in Istanbul moving on to different kinds of travel photography this this is a portrait but you can imagine this shot in any kind of context this was shot for a documentary project I did in China which is still ongoing if the government lets me go back there but essentially this is a story about the people in northwest corner of China if you've heard of it called shinjang and how they have a unique culture in that corner of the country and how it's under pressure from assimilation in mainstream Chinese society so this was my opening shot for the show just recently did a show on this so this was my opening shot and again this could be travel us another shot from the same story this is about life style tea houses over there are very important of components of how they live how they communicate how the community gets together so this was you know this was a another travel shot the actually the the funniest part of this travel shot is not here is outside this frame this guy was watching TV and happened to be a Bollywood movie so I'm not a big fan but anyways he thought I just came out of the screen this is for another story and shot in Istanbul again this is a story about life in the city this is on the European side of Istanbul and shows the contrast between the asians side and the more younger european science the younger but you know it's just a different feel feel for the city so this was i had to make the trip twice to find the right light because i'm gonna talk about observing light in the following slides but that's one of the things that make it makes a shot just to see this thing i don't think this picture would have been successful if the light wasn't there talking about more travel stuff which you can keep an eye out for when you're traveling is close-ups which really talk about the essence of any culture for this one this was shot in india it was outside a doorway and just choose but you know it says so much you know shot it would then with a certain idea in my mind but when other people see it they kind of interpret it in very different ways then i always say yeah that could be it so you know be open you know try to I try to you have try to engage the viewer in ways they kind of think of other things that you may not be thinking me because you know what most people are talking from their experiences their perceptions or culture and they nod and that's the fascinating part about photography because it lets me understand and know people a lot more and the last one I'm going to show in this example series is another close-up shot this is in China you know these it's like one of those vendors but he had a very interesting arrangement of these pins and this was like a this was one of my editors favorite shots so it's mine to actually I use it for a promo card and it kind of says a lot about China today I think all right so like I said regardless of what you're shooting or where you're shooting you have to remember to make it your own that's what's gonna make your travel photography different from mine and the person next to you or your friends because at the end of the day you are showing who you are through your camera and your lens and your pictures more importantly and hopefully it gives the viewer a taste of you know what kind of stuff you like to shoot what that person you are what excites you what what is what what you no more so many things that you know what I like to do through my images other than just a snapshot that's what I did for a company no desperate differentiation between a snapshot and a and a picture and an image so talking about a little bit of tips that I can share with you from my from my field you know my field trips and working in the field is like I said you know it doesn't work for you you know all the stuff that I showed is great but you like maybe I don't like to shoot food that's totally fine maybe I don't like to shoot people maybe I'll give you some tips I'll make you better at it but there's always someone everybody as an artist and think of yourself as an artist from today not as photographers only because as an artist you can think of many different things and you can really focus on that and that was gonna make put your signature on this image and you know it's gonna take a long time probably already you have any signature of your work already but if it works for you then there's a way you can stand by the image and talk about it and that's what's gonna make it personal the second one is uh technical details I'm a lover and a hater of this one but I was just talking to David about this but I'm actually gonna be buying a tiny camera to shoot in New York City I'm not gonna be worried about too much about technical details yes I'm gonna shoot Manuel I'm gonna have the aperture right and everything like that but if I'm only thinking about the the technical part of it I've seen blogs and websites where people actually take the time to in in-depth talk about if the lens a certain sharp at five six or is an eight is it at six three I'm like doesn't matter if you don't have the content then who cares you know it could be a perfect picture but if it's boring then I'd only don't care if it's sharp or it's not sharp I mean if you recently been to the cartier-bresson show at at the Met where Scioscia said that sharpness is a bourgeois phenomenon it's a it's a it's a luxury because a lot of these pictures are are not even sharp but look at the content so that's what I kind of mean to say about technical details and then and then again leading into that is aesthetically Craig versus technically correct i i i draw a lot of inspiration from photographers in new york and one of my friends is another photographer new york and he showed me a picture a two pictures one was perfect this is a perfectly shot technically correct sharp but there's no content and the other one there's this guy and a black guy with a security jacket on it and the only thing you can see of him is the jacket so it's like a black figure without any face just wearing a jacket and I think that was fascinating because he just wanted to kind of separate that the men from what he was wearing so if you think about technical details all the shadows were blocked up the blacks were clipped you couldn't see the guy's face but from the content perspective it worked and it really really sent the message you know you know if I really could understand why he took that picture and the way he did and he said if I if I shot it the way it was be technically correct this picture wouldn't be interesting and so that's what I mean by aesthetics and and and being technically correct and again lastly why am I taking this picture especially in this day and age of digital cameras and I have a lot of friends and family you know I see a lot of pictures being taken all the time right I always try to think I also try to ask them but pause like before you click that shutter even if it's digital and by the way I hate post-production so I like to keep my pictures too minimal is why are you taking that picture if there's one good reason you have in your head you can say okay this is the reason why I'm taking this picture take it but if there's a thing you like you know what I might as well take it because I can delete it later then that's not a good reason then you're that picture is not worth it and that's how you kind of do a self edit even before you start editing and that I constantly do that if there if I don't find a good reason why I should take a picture I just don't and it's better off because you don't want to be coming into the you know coming back home and looking at thousands of pictures you're like what did that shoot I only got one picture so and lastly it's is it interesting like I mean this is the most important thing it'd have to be the frame has to be interesting is the content that you're shooting it's not anything else it's not the equipment it's not it's not the technical details it is the light but not only always the light it has to have content so moving on some of my learnings from the field is how maybe you can take from it and I'm gonna show examples of the pictures and you know what I thought made the picture successful first one is the biggest one I think is if you're trying to even make your pictures a little bit better start getting closer to people or closer to your subject don't rely on the telephoto I've seen a lot of people on the streets that who would stand on the other side of the street with those long telephoto lens yes you're gonna get the shot but it's not gonna be as personal it's not gonna be happy that I am there feeling if you were to go up and people are not that intimidating I'll tell you more about it but if you were to just get up a little bit closer to your subject it's gonna have that personal that space between you and the and the subject is gonna be less because you know long telephoto lenses compress the background so it looks a little unreal a little distant but if you come up close then you get stuff like this oops which is a blank screen oops are you are we on are we good Matt okay sorry about that what is that okay sorry about that so this one for example was you know I was I was sitting right here and I would mind with my camera and this shot wouldn't have happened if I weren't shooting right next to my subjects it's almost feel like I'm there and this was done for a story in 95 life in Tokyo so that's what I mean by getting close even shots which really look that you were far away I'm not that far away if I shot with a telephoto on this one you wouldn't get that feeling of being there because there's a lot of stuff around it you know and I could have easily taken a long telephoto and done it but it wouldn't had the same feeling this one for example was shot in Ladakh for a story and I was literally in this corner of this doorway so there was this festival going on outside I really wanted to get the behind-the-scenes shot of this of these monks looking out and I was I was at this guy's at this guy's feet and just shooting up and that wouldn't have happened if I were maybe disconnected from them and they don't even notice after a while you know so the biggest thing I would say is try to get closer I mean even if you get a little bit closer if you want to get just to 50 millimeter lens go out on the street and shoot with that one it can be very frustrating in the beginning I'm telling you but the you're gonna be some hard lessons learned and you're gonna really think wow I'm getting in at the very least maybe you have a couple of conversations with people and it might turn out to be great you know the second one I have is a not to be shooting only when it's nice and sunny outside as much as I love doing that there's a lot of interesting things that happen when the weather is not that great first of all there are fewer photographers second of all you get you get different things happening which normally on a day which is a nice and sunny dry day wouldn't happen for example this shot in Prague of the castle this wouldn't have happened if it didn't rain and I actually thought about this I was like walking by it I said you know what maybe we could just make this place they're gonna just like have some water just in just this idea of this reflection and I didn't know ever the others gonna happen or not but it did and then I waited for the right moment I send my two friends with black suits no I'm just kidding so these guys just happen to be walking there I love I have a fascination in men the men in black suits I don't know no don't ask me why but for just a photography perspective it just looks it gives a sense of scale and more importantly this very commonplace scene can be transformed if the weather is different this is another one I don't know if you can guess which city this is yeah you're right on this is shot from the south from the south side of Empire State Building and I live pretty close by so I actually called I never been to the Empire State Building before like 10 years ago I've been there once maybe 15 20 years but I called him up once and they said you know it's cloudy I'm like perfect he's like why do you want to come up there's nothing here there's no one here and you can't see anything I'm like yeah that's that's exactly what I want and and the guy it was like any there's a cool guy if you ever go up the security guard who works in the evening he's also a photographer and he's got amazing shots so he's like you must be a crazy guy I'm like no this is what I want to shoot is the light of the Empire State Building bouncing off of the cloud creating this unreal effect and then because you're so high up you can actually see underneath the cloud and that's what I wanted to shoot and that's wouldn't have happened on a regular evening you know so keep that in mind when you're shooting any any common any place you go to the third one is a try a different point of view I love shooting up down side instead of just straight on I love straight on too but for example I was recently in California just got back yesterday day before yesterday and this is for a shoot for a magazine over there and I haven't even send these images there but I love this one because you know I've seen you I've seen many many Santa Monica shots many you know even even without being there I'm like okay I know it's gonna be this shot of the ferris wheel it's gonna be lit up it's gonna be slow shutter so it looks like a circle and it's gonna be you know whatever so I just wanted to kind of get the concept of shapes of a ferris wheel but really up close to the bicycle and this also a way of life and Santa Monica Pier people biking all the time so it took me a little while but you know you you place the camera in a different point of view and that's why you know I always see like when kids shoot pictures they're fascinating because they have a different point of view than what you and I do so try that different point of view this story for the same story I showed you in Tokyo this was shot from from the from the hip pretty much and that's what gives you a just a little bit of a different viewpoint that makes the picture that you're almost one of the people walking there I mean if you were to shoot from the eye level I have many shots to from the eye level and this is the famous crossing Shibuya I think Shibuya Ginza Shibuya Shibuya crossing and I've seen many pictures out again I can almost imagine like though you know the pictures I've seen it's like the two crosswalks and people walking so I wanted to make it a little different something that's about me and not about what's been seen before the third one is from a story in Kyoto and this is my one of my favorite shots actually and this is a this actually a shot that's my bike in the corner which you can see the handle off so I was riding a bike in Kyoto and sure that's the best way to shooting hero if you ever if you ever go to Kyoto but this was a coffee shop and I and I was just about to head out and I saw this texture I love textures and I like to shoot through textures and I saw this I'm like I was just standing there and the guys like okay what is this guy doing like he's just standing there then I try to explain to him that I want to shoot something beyond I don't think he understood I was crazy that's okay won't be the first time but you know I was just waiting for the right right content again the right central figure to show up and that was it but I think without the texture again this would be a very very commonplace boring shot so I think the texture would make it and then perfect segue to that is to find a scene and wait a lot of times at least me as a photographer and a painter and a photographer in my mind is different I have a painter friend of mine in the audience so I'm gonna speak on behalf of painters a little bit I think a painter imagines a lot of stuff whereas a photographer takes what's existing and frames it that's what I kind of see like if I want if I know that I'm I found a really good frame I'm thinking in terms of a frame of the camera I just need the elements to be arranged in some shape or form that just jives I don't know what it is but that's how I work and so when I find a frame that is interesting I just want something else to show up in it that's when I do it for this one I found this shot and and believe me this guy was nowhere to be found and I although I pray a lot I actually do pray a lot I'm not religious but I just pray a lot and I'm shooting I pray that something will happen when I was shooting this I said this is a great shot but I need something you know I'm always looking for that connection of humanity and us and the surrounding environment I said I just need something to show me to exemplify the scale because you know without this without the guy without the man on the under meal it would be a great it would be a good shot but it wouldn't give you a sense of how huge these sand hills are right so I was waiting I waited for like a good 15 20 mm maybe a little bit more and I was telling the my you know I was I was telling the true the guy who was without the fixer nice need something and you know I travel a lot with my wife too so I always kind of bounce her I always talking shoot listen you know I just need something to show up to make it you know maybe a guy can watch you like no there's no one here I'm like no it'll happen it'll happen and you know sooner or later this guy showed up and like there is there it is there it is there's my man so you know if you find something interesting wait this wait what's that yeah exactly exactly I actually thought about taking like you know outfits with me so I would just say do you mind I don't know that's another that's another iteration all right so the rules you know I'm not I'm a self-taught photographer and I've learned pretty much from other for the working with other photographers on my own and nowadays learning is easy and great because you can see amazing work on the web so rules are there I understand rules and then I went back to school to learn some more to get you know to learn from the field to get the rules after I learned what I did from the field but one thing I always come back to is you know rules are good to keep in mind because some of the things you know we just don't want to do because it doesn't look good and you know these experts in the field have already done it and so you're like okay great but then it sometimes is okay to break the rules because it sometimes makes a picture for example this one you know never put your subject in the center of the frame and here it is you know here it is I mean if this guy if the little boy were somewhere else in the frame I don't think the picture would have made it I have some some variations of this but this is the one I like and I've had I've had this talk with my fellow photographers my editors and as you know what I like it I'm like yes and again this is a you know example of a rule being broken but it works for the shot then the next one is a you know going back to the viewpoint will be trying two different ways to shoot the same subject again just like the scene when you find a subject that's interesting you know try different things instead of me I wish you try the obvious and then you try something that maybe shows the picture in a some sort of a different context for example in India where in Calcutta where I'm originally from we had this festival that happens once a year I'm actually going back there again this year but this is a scene where this goddess comes in for a homecoming and the whole community just goes out and you know puts the goddess on their shoulders and puts this huge so this is the shot that I like because I wanted to shoot from below up to show her the grant to show the grandness of the goddess again if you want to shoot emphasize importance you probably know this the excuse from the bottom up use emphasize the importance of your subject so that's what I want to do but at the same time I also wanted to see the motion I want to capture the motion from up above so I should did the same thing but instead shot shot the same subject kind of as they were carrying her so you know just to wait different ways to look at the same subject then the next one is my favorite subject one of my favorite subject is football soccer so this is Maracana stadium if you don't know in Rio and this is my dream come true and I actually got to shoot in that Stadium and when I actually stepped foot on the on the turf I said that's it I'm done so me being you know I have a personal fascination connection whatever you call it with with this with this ground but anyways when I went there again speaking of light the light wasn't perfect I said how am I gonna make this into a good shoot if the light is like really bad is bearing but then I walked in there and I saw this you know shapes and circles and I said wow this is this is really amazing but that wasn't it I took that subject I said and I found so many recurring themes and shapes within the same subject it's like I have to keep on shooting it until I find something that's really interesting a little bit more than just a shot of a stadium so what I did was I you know I went back in I shot the stadium as somebody would see it coming up I shot the stadium looking up with all the floodlights so you know again it's like it's it's one subject but I found it interesting enough to vary the angles vary my viewpoint you know just to give it a different sense of it I mean this could be a very this could be a shot it doesn't have to be about maricon yeah but it could be about a stadium it could be about many different things the next one is given the nature of my editorial work I do go to a lot of places that have been overly shot no I I brought you I told you the example about a postcard photography and image making our being artists sometimes I find that if I buy a postcard they ask you that shot is better than what I would do so if that's the case I just buy the postcard and it's not worth it but obviously I can't do that I can just tell matter you're saying you know what this is what I got and I'm not gonna get a job ever ever again so how do I take a location that's been shot millions of times and make it different make it usable and make it a gift because at the end of the day you're giving viewers a different viewpoint into the place and maybe when you're traveling you're trying to do the same so for example the the Blue Mosque in Turkey I'd seen many pictures of the Blue Mosque in Turkey and I said well I have the standard shot you know of course because you have to send the standard shots but how do I make it a little different how do I make it me how do I make that one the fifth shot in the idea that I send saying that oh you know what the first four shots are great but the fifth shot is him I can see him and this is what he took a little bit of her liberty but it's also him so again I shot this through the windows of the Hagia Sophia and you can see right through it and I you know this was like the shapes again reminded me of the film of the old film plane and it's like this voyeuristic look at the end of the day as photographers we're warriors anyways so that's why I shot it the way I did the second one was a little bit too ambitious but it worked thank God because this is actually a picture of the Corcovado Corcovado if I'm saying right the Rio de Janeiro the you know huge statue of Christ overlooking Rio so I went up there and I saw the statue I said oh my god this is so boring I'm like well this I'm gonna tell you this story I want to give it away well I'll tell you what that is so I went up there I said this is really really boring I can't shoot this this is like you know the blue sky above me and again coming back to the picture postcard thing I said I've seen like 10 better shots on what I can do now because I don't have a helicopter if I had a helicopter to shoot up in how the cops here and I would just like shoot up is so boring and then I turn around and you know it was a really cloudy morning and so you can see this like the going up going out to the to the sea to the coast and we were pretty much like what's coming in and you can see the clouds so I looked around so the statue is right here I turn around and I see the scene and I said wow this is actually this is me being there this is what I what I saw and this is this is the experience that you get and this is one of the sugarloaf you know like the mountain as you can see the little top pop out but that was me to be in that place what is it I mean at the end of the day if you're giving your viewers an experience of being there then that's it for me and you can always supplement the standard shots with you know things are out there or whatever it is but the reason why I'll get hired is because of this not for standard shots so that was real third one you know people think that I could go to India and great amazing images because I'm from there but when they see me do places like this like the Taj Mahal which happens to be like the probably one of the most photographed places in the world and happened to be Valentine's Day so I didn't realize so I said as the guy said why are there so many people here he's like oh you don't know as if I was the only one in the millions of people there like I was idiot and I was like it still thousand times daily I'm like oh so what am I supposed to do it's like well there be a lot of people here right okay so you know I walked around and what really was fascinating to me was to shoot the scale of the people against the Taj and you know there are a couple of outtakes from this shoot and it all involves people it all involves that day there's not a single shot which is no people photoshopped out or kicked out or whatever you call it there's always all the pictures from there have people in some shape or form because that's the way I saw it so so then what I do is you know when I'm shooting is when maybe when you're shooting is usually I do the research before I go and sometimes or most of the times you know I think of a things but there are 10 different things I didn't think of a storyline and when I'm shooting I said oh wow this is actually cool cool storyline and then I'm always thinking to do bring up this point is to think of a team when I say that theme I should have put story but it's more around think about stories and it doesn't have to be a all-encompassing you know it doesn't have to be something that you don't relate to it could be about your experience it could just be you in your car and a road trip but has to be a story and when you start doing that for example you know I was in Mongolia and we were shooting for a story there but it ended up being a little different so first of all I was fascinated by the scenery I didn't expect the Gobi Desert to be like this I was expecting sand dunes which I did see sand dunes but this is more than the sand dunes and this is the diversity of the landscape of Mongolia but more importantly again when I try to really really connect to what I see and what I should and who I am I look into people I said what are they doing so this is what I found I found that the traditional Mongolian family the horse is gone replaced by motorbike I said this is it this is my opening shot for the story because as much as technology's affecting us it's affecting everywhere you know it's affecting Mongolia as affecting New York is affecting China so for me this is where I started creating the story and I said you know the reason why I came here was a little different but this is my story I'm gonna shoot this so this was a story this ended up being a story about technology and the changing nature of technology in in modern Mongolia the second one is where we were staying the tent it was fascinating because there was I was told there would be no electricity for six seven days so I had to charge all my batteries and all that kind of stuff so I mean I'm expecting like no lightbulb nothing then I walk in this first tent and the guy had like Bob hanging I'm like how did that happen so he's like they're so ingenious because they're there's a car battery that's basically supplying the power to the tent and he's like well you know what else do you want you want you know TV you want this you want that like ya thought he was joking until actually you found this so he was right you know there's satellite there's solar panels and you know here I was trying to tell the guy about green power or whatnot he's like oh we already got that you know in a nice way but it was just funny it was you know when I started seeing image when I started really seeing images around that theme I found a lot more than what I went for so again just to exemplify that what you may think of before even going out try to be open the idea is to be open not to be I mean I've done I made the mistake once where I was really really constrained in one story and I realized after coming back I was like oh I should have explored that in this so being open actually gives you some rewards and then it doesn't have to be a series always but sometimes you can just try telling story with one image even if you're taking that one picture try to get a story out of it try to see why it would be interesting why the why it will elicit questions from a viewer for example this one this is shot in this for story in China and this is in one of those very old villages in the southern province of Ann Hui in China and this was just a regular barber shop you know walking around I I met you know just following people around where they're going and eventually that I don't know if you can see the picture of Mao but anyways in the in the darkness yeah yeah so it was like it was almost out of a kind of unreal and the guys he was telling me and all the hair and there on the chair and I said what's the story and he's like you know so you know he started saying a little bit as much as I can understand but for me not understanding language that well it started creating stories in my head I wonder how many people went to this place I wonder what goes on now why is he still here why is he still you know doing the way things were done like a hundred years ago how did he serve up survived the Cultural Revolution and all that kind of stuff that come to my head and the questions I asked myself so when you're taking a picture like it could be one picture but you know and I'd it has to tell a story I still do I was gonna say that I don't know if National Geographic does that but they used to have a feature on the website maybe you can take a look at it where they would take a picture and dissect it the editor would dissect it and say why this picture made it and why it's and I really find it useful sometimes I used to I just look at a lot and they would pick random pictures I think every couple of weeks or something and posted on their website so if you do a search I'm sure you can find that so generating story ideas I've mentioned a few of them so one is like commonplace on common time you know could be Central Park in given in New York and you know most of the things that you see are you know the stuff you see on the street being shot but you know maybe someday it's foggy and you can go out and shoot and it'll be the same place that has been shot like and you know thousands of times and it looked a lot different and the same place could look different in different times of the day so when I that's what I mean by commonplace on common time the sense of place you know talking about my shots in Croatia in Brazil I try to get I try to take a sense of place from from what I'm shooting so that even if nobody flipped through the rest of the story then we just look at that at that one picture and say oh you know I can kind of get a feel for this place and that's what you want to be as a when you're shooting quote-unquote travel is you want to get a sense of you know a sense of place for what you're shooting the third one is whether the example of you know the shot from the top of the Empire State Building I mean you've seen it many times but just switch the weather on it and it becomes a whole different thing I mean it's said especially when you're traveling and going to places that have been shot many times that's important what I also do is I also look at stories already published it gives me a sense of how another artist might have done it and it's not a question of copying from that person but there's something that happens to you in your shooting there's all these subconscious thing that happened that all these things that happen in subconscious level like I go to a lot of shows at the Met or an MoMA I mean you're looking at paintings and sculpture and there's got nothing to do with photography perhaps but there is that one point when you're shooting and there's that spark of inspiration and said oh my god that light in that painting can see that and so then you find the frame and then like oh what get what else can I fit in here so or I saw that shape in the sculpture that was fascinating oh my god I'm looking at the stairway and it has the same kind of shape so maybe there's something in it so you know all these things I look at stories already published which are editorial or commercial you know I look at ads all that kind of stuff stories in a way but it inspires me to get you know to think differently to look at what what what isn't what has been done and maybe shoot a little bit differently for the workshop you know I I do these now you know I recently did I'm gonna show you some pictures I recently did a workshop in Ecuador where we took people and we did a workshop but more importantly that workshop is now gonna be used to generate to create an educational curriculum if that works out but more importantly as they using art to fund culture to preserve culture so that's what I do now and actually there's be a there's a sign-up sheet somewhere will be passed if you're interested in learning more about learn hearing from me about photo workshops or you know like David said about workflow or portfolio reviews just you know write your name down I'll should you email once in a while I won't spam you so these are some pictures of the of the workshop that we recently did about we just came back about a week and a half ago or two weeks ago from Ecuador a story about the people the indigenous people in Ecuador and the connection to their land and their culture I'm showing some generic images but which is there was another aspect of it which is primarily around the preservation of culture and and the festival of San Juan and Rama de gallo and all these other festivals so this again is you know my way of a voyeuristic way into their society so that's why I shot that the way it did again the connection to the land what the landscape was like which you can expect when you see when you're in the Andes and how magical it could be the third one is about you know just a town in Ecuador and the the life and there's a story behind this I don't want to waste too much time but again it gives you a sense of being there again notice the close closeness how close I am to the to the person on the left and it gives you a sense of you're almost this is maybe you're gonna climb the stairs out this way this is actually a shot from the project which is about the culture who is which is on the decline in Ecuador and our objective is to do these workshops to have appreciation and understanding of the culture so we can actually eventually preserve it I work with my partner and anthropologist in Ecuador and we were very very committed to it so it was a fascinating experience so this was the first year of the festival and again just it was raining it was not a day to go out and shoot but I knew there was gonna be something that you know this this kind of light and this kind of shutter speed wouldn't have happened it was like bright light and I wouldn't have gotten this sense of you know this magical feeling about the place if if it worked for cloudy again aesthetically correct technically correct whatever you may call it I thought his face was not important he didn't know that so unfortunately the guy was smiling I took one picture to show him that this is his picture and then I took the rest of the stuff because this is the way I wanted to see it and lastly getting close to your subjects this was I always tried when I'm shooting a festival or a big event and maybe there's something that you guys can keep in mind is always shoot before and after that's when the magic happens like you know when I should praise for example I go on shooting parades I always love it when people are getting ready for the parade and when people are done because that's when people are loose you know they're like you know doing the only thing but they have the same you know they have their that other persona wearing the costumes or whatever they're wearing and this is just that and I had to stop and just stop the cars that I have to shoot it just waiting to see if no one wakes up because that would just ruin the shot so they were still for a good five minutes which is great so in general I want to move on a little bit and talk about general photo rules you know for example the rules that I just broken mothers shot in Mexico is trying to put the main subject dead center it is actually makes a difference I mean there are exceptions to that rule which I just showed you but in general if you if you take up an image and you put the subject maybe slightly off you'll see the difference you do a before and after comparison as an example have this shot which I have another shot with that obelisk in the center and it just doesn't make it when I move it around then there is some kind of attention underlying tension in the shapes and the way I framed the shot that just makes it so try playing around with it there are some occasions that may not work like I showed you but most of the time I try not to do it as in try not to put the subject in the main in the center like I was telling you I look for shapes and scenes and it could be anything it's inspiration right and the easiest one for you to find when you're photographing is curves and when you include a when you include like curves somehow you know you draw the viewers attention along the entire frame and as Jay Mizell would say you are responsible for every square inch of your frame so there's no there's no excuses I know if he were here you would say that you got a rock in that corner and that's not the way it's supposed to be okay but in general try to use shapes so that your viewers eyes start at one place but then kind of go all over the place you know all around the the frame so you get a sense of where you are and what the place is like again scale using skill to make a point a lot of times if you didn't use scale then the picture would be great but then it would really not give you the entire story I mean my wife tells me I'm a liar is a photographer because I lie all the time what is what it is than what I should but in a way sometimes you have to use scale to make a point for example this one if I didn't have the people in the picture you maybe would have gotten a sense of how big it is but until those people came in again this was another result of my praying they showed up it was only about five minutes after I'm like oh come on please someone show up someone show up and they showed up and and it made the shot because for me when I walked him and I was in their place the first thing that really got to me was like oh my God look at how big it is so scale this is shot in dune Wan China yeah if you ever go there next time I would go there with a permit from the government which would let me go into like many more caves but a since they did not have a permit I had to work with what I got so and I thought this was actually fascinating because it was not worked on it was still in this original state being restored and he kind of had that you know kind of stripped away look to it so and the light was perfect this was probably shot it sees it a four by five yeah so it's a thing it was shot with a 50 it at 50 yeah oh no wait it can be 50 it's 24 yeah 24 yeah I have to know I don't know I don't have to look I don't remember one centre of interest when you have when you especially when you go in in places where there's a lot of activity going on you can take that shot and it's gonna be very very busy but once you isolate all the distractions from a picture and you have one center of interest you're gonna see your pictures show this one is a is a picture with festival in Thailand and there was so much stuff going on there so much and I just had to pick and choose as to what I would focus on and there was stuff going on in front of her behind her obviously can imagine right behind there there were people with different colors and like a like a bright pink would really throw this picture off so I had to isolate that and make her the center of focus and make this kratong I don't have ever been to Thailand but it's a fascinating time to be in November is they float these songs which is kind of this they have wishes and you know so that I'm a whole idea was to capture the essence of the festival by focusing on it and what it really meant I was really intrigued by this woman who I do not know and I said and she was really in her moment of you know doing her makeup whatever and I slowly moved in a little bit you see it was okay moved in you know I don't obviously right go right next to her but so that she's comfortable with my presence and slowly like you know like a like almost like prey I slowly move in no I'm just kidding but more so because she's so that she's comfortable so if any point of time she's not comfortable she's just gonna let me know he's like you know what why are you taking a picture whatever but if you have that and you show that respect and you kind of have this body language I work a lot of a body language and really understanding what the other person is saying even in New York more importantly toughest place to shoot on art this is a this is a thirty five yeah I should with I'll show you the list of what I carry in mine but I shoot with the 5d Canon 5d so you know I started shooting then I looked at the picture I said you know what this is good picture but then there's a lot of distracting things I really don't want to shoot this sign and the other thing is if you have writing in your picture there's the first thing that's gonna you are gonna go to the first thing it tried out shoot a picture without writing and with writing you gonna see the first thing people say oh it says restaurant I'm like no I wanted to show you the picture of the guy on the horse so so anyway so what I did was I really moved in close so the same scene it's exactly the same scene same camera everything I just moved close and you can see how immediately if you see the effect and there's yeah there's a little bit of distraction in the background but not as much your eyes go right to her alright so someone asked me about equipment and stuff so I'm gonna start talking about that right now is what I do before I go out what I do when I'm in the field and more important what I do when I come back so before and this is something that you can take away from too because you know it's universal so before I go out I first I do is I really googled my destination to get I really do there's so much stuff there and there is a lot of people i anonymous people I would like to thank they write a lot of stuff about things and somebody writes this obscure post about oh you know there's a lady that showed up at 3 o'clock she's got these amazing hats and you know she goes knee down like oh wow that's kind of cool maybe I'll email that guy you know or just in general a lot of pictures would show up a lot of articles about it around about story ideas would show up you know so I do that I do quite a bit the second one is a look at stock photography sites I look at Getty a look at I make I'm a contributor of Getty Images so I look at Gary I look at Corvis I look at or just to get a sense of commercially what's been done with a with a destination and more importantly I shoot a lot of concepts not just literals so the stuff I shoot commercially the reason why I get you know my images get user primarily for exemplifying concepts for example the picture I showed you with with the from in Rio from the top over the clouds that was you know that was that was sold for a concept that was a contemplation just to give you a general idea so that's why I try to look at is what has been what has been done on out there and also in general the safe shots or the standard shots just to get a sense of the place even before you go there what you can expect I do try to find the tourist Bureau's tourist bureau site they are usually helpful and they most importantly what they have is you know the happenings in the community and they have something about you know you can know where the tourists are gonna go so you can stay away from it but you know in general it's it's pretty helpful you can get some insider I mean I think most of the sites are not looked at enough but there's a lot of material which a lot of people don't utilize and the government I'm sure spend a lot of money doing that so I look it up and just to get a general sense of you know what's out there and then once like once I'm there this is this list actually changes every time I go someplace and I haven't updated it since the last couple of field trips to Ecuador at California the first thing is not to get trigger-happy the first day when I made a place which is unknown to me and which is exotic quote-unquote and which is something I haven't seen I'm like oh my god look at that that's amazing oh my God look at that that's amazing I did that one one shoot once and I think normally I you know I might i edit out you know a lot but this one I had to edit out like you know maybe 80% it's like oh I should have done that because everything that game is a sign from a cab driver on the street looked really cool and then I saw them again and I saw them again and I see them again I'm like wait a second like it just happens every time it's not that great so that is a big one actually for me even now the first thing I try to do is when I go to a place is just to like relax a little bit and not to take out the camera immediately just to walk around you know I'm a person that likes to walk around and get the connection with with the with the ground with the earth and me so I kind of get a sense of the place without being in a car I just like and never live in LA but uh but any case I try to walk around a little bit get comfortable and then take my camera out the second thing I do is I observe the light I make notes for example there's somebody asked me about Croatia shot when we first got there I knew the light was gonna come at that angle I didn't know he was gonna coincide with the dinner time but I said the lights gonna be there I'm gonna go around I basically was the other side of the island I walked around because that's where our boat was part or a docked so I walked around I went to the other side I know that the light was gonna be there because I I you know I scoped it out and I'm just waiting the right thing to happen and happen to be you know they were swimming and all that kind of stuff but I have another shot which I didn't include but that one is a better story because I actually made the trip three or four times to really get the shot I wanted actually the story the the picture I showed you in Istanbul about the crowd of people walking up the death Street that's another example where I went before and I said this is not it this is not it's there but no cigar you know so it's that's what it is no I wasn't it was actually the entrance to the Red Cross and they were wondering why I'm not taking the picture of their building they're like well I believe I got enough for you I'm like no it's good but something there is happening and it's gonna go away in five minutes so I'll talk to you but no I mean that's the other thing if I could again if I could pray and get a magic ladder sometimes that would be great a ladder is a great point actually to have that if you're doing shoots like given you which are you know which you actually can carry some small equipment ladder is amazing you can get really cool viewpoints of any scene from a little high up yeah I drew the nowadays you can do with your with the Live View screens that you have on the back of the cameras that is I find helpful some time because now you can just do this and Orey what you can get is a right angle finder sometimes you can reverse it and see it from below or there's another camera Canon G Levin has it is that the flip and the scree scree flip the screen that's amazing for shooting from up above from here you know so that kind of stuff over the wall yeah let's see who's paying me more which company no I'm just kidding it was either gonna be a G 11 or a lumix David just told me about the Lumix 4l4 something he's L export yeah he said he'll show me when I when I'm done so I want to carry those two I mean look at those cameras and really carried around on the street you know more so actually because you know these machines that I carry are more like tanks so you really can't shoot with those tanks in the street or somewhere because people like oh wow you know look at that big camera or like you know now I don't want any of that I want to be a tourist you know just take my shots sunrise and sunset times I I practiced the phrase in many different languages when I travel because it's sometimes hard to explain to people that like what you want and the other the funniest thing is when I asked the most sunset time do you think I want to shoot the Sun I'm like no no no I want to be on the other side tell me where the Sun is setting it's like oh you're over there because once I remember where I was it's an Argentina or somewhere the guys sent me to this one place I was amazing sunset but I'm like wait a second I want to show were there he's like what you told me sunset I'm like no I want the light so no the sunrise sunset times lately for my last shoot in LA I tried the sunrise but I stuck in traffic for two and a half hours didn't work out so every shot from LA is from Suns like around the late afternoon so my Matador looks at me like why did you picture like this golden yellow thing in those afternoon shots and like world traffic so and then I do that again revisit location I talk to it I talk a little bit about it these other thing we're saying is arriving early leaving late especially in terms of festivals and when I'm shooting is you know when you arrive before the thing starts there's a lot of magic people are very enthusiastic they are like looking forward to the day you know what's gonna happen and you're there you're kind of thinking I have a couple of really quiet I don't know why I didn't include it but anyways it really helps to get the true essence of you know of the happenings and leaving late in a lot of a lot of times when you're actually shooting when you have other professional photographers maybe from news organizations you see that they will show up at a certain time and once their shots done they leave they just gone you know and that's when I love it it's like oh great and they're like what are you sticking around for like nah nothing you know but then that's when the magic happens when it's like you know even after sunset lately I'm you know I was I was always been a fan of golden light and I'm sure many of you are like the shot in Croatia but more and more I am a fan of light after sunset when the Sun sets and the light is bounced off the sky and depending on the amount of dust or pollution there is and you're in the atmosphere it could be pink it could be violet it could be whatever you know and then that light creates a glow and I talk about this and it's kind of hard to is hokey and kind of hard to explain that you almost feel a light is surrounding you and that's really magical light so that's what I try to do these days but one of the most important things I learned shooting every day almost every day in the field is to download and organize images what I do is you know I have my own workflow that I devised that works pretty much for travel and being shooting in the field because the biggest thing you know I teach it like I said you know I told you about a sign-up sheet but I teach a lot of photographers and the biggest thing their complaint is when they come back to send images either to their editors are there you know some of them are just shooting because they are they're great photographers but it is they just don't want to do it as a profession they come back and they're like oh I have this huge set of images you know oh my god I have to edit all this kind of stuff but there is a really cool workflow that I've worked over the years and I really find it useful for me and most importantly liberating because now I'm you know when I'm on the plane coming back I'm doing captions or maybe many thing the second and third edits and it kind of works out rather than coming back and looking at ten thousand images and in this day and age if you don't if you're not if you're not putting information on your images meta tagging them not extensively but somewhat or putting a catch you're gonna forget that favorite restaurant you went to you're gonna forget that you know that corner where you shot that thing from so these are important lessons while you're shooting in the field and also especially I find with digital photography and with memory cards I literally had to take my memory cards and put stickers on it one side saying full one side not full because otherwise if I'm not doing it every night I forget did I do this card or did I not do this card is it done is it backed up you know I always carry backups with my own images I'm like kind of freaked out with that kind of stuff so I carry two copies preferably three on these little drives I carry and then I have the off side when I come back but to me this day and age is like I always worry about losing my images it's just me so it's important very very important and after you come back is I make another backup copy of them images so I have two copies in my studio and one off-site in Jersey so the reason why is again I just want to again speaking of that is when I shoot with cards I am a big fan of the two gig cards and some people ask me why but I just recently switched you for gift cards and definitely don't want to go over that because again in my mind I'm like if I'm losing something I'll lose two gigs I'm always pessimistic in that sense you know like what's the minimum like minimal a tolerance I have for losing stuff so that's what I do so speaking of backup I always make a backup of my images when I'm done editing if you're doing Lightroom for example you have to write the changes in the file otherwise it's not said if you're not doing it you have to backup the catalog because otherwise it's gone if you're not using any of these but if the software if you're doing a simple simple download from your camera onto the computer just make sure even if it is unedited just back just back up that copy of images because one day when you open up that image and it's gonna say cannot render the file you'd be like oh my god what happened that was my favorite photograph in my workflow I talked about more about backup it's a it's a little it's a topic that you know it's we don't have time to discuss this right now but essentially to have you know there's a lot of systems out there I use the simple one which is using daisy chaining drives and I use a software which is very simple to just just a carbon copy backup I don't do finder backup because that can cause corruption if you delete images on a car that can cause corruption I don't do stuff like that so we can just come in that's a different topic unfortunately sure and again I said caption images is important for me and maybe it's important for you because if you don't have again somebody told me information knowledge without context doesn't mean anything so if you have captions your editors gonna love you your friends are gonna love you without you know just send sending a picture and then it said IMG 0 0 4 – oh I like your IMG 0 0 4 – oh wait not that one I wanted to set for 5 anyways give my mom back captions or images preparing images whoever print that is something I do religiously I you know and I would highly encourage you guys even if you're not a professional photographer to have these edits ready so that you can whenever somebody need if you even if you're putting you on Facebook or whatever you you want to have that set the smaller set instead of sending a thousand images of your vacation to your friends then ten of them but they're killer so they'll think that you only take great pictures and believe it I mean editing is that is that it's a really really good skill I mean you can only send tents and less be doesn't mean they be like wow you're an amazing photographer but haven't ready so that when it's needed you just send it right away and the other thing about getting ready for web having web ready images is I always send pictures back of people I take pictures off so as a minimal courtesy I send them images so as I come back I send it I used to send prints but now it's become very very cumbersome yeah I you know sometimes yeah I mean what I do is I try to keep a like you know like if I'm traveling somewhere I try to keep the map and circle the maps make notes sometimes take pictures of guide book pages just as and then if I'm and this has worked me it worked for me a lot is if you ever forget where you shot that image is google it and chances are it's there You've I found the most obscures of locations that people have said oh this will the southwest corner of like oh my god so you know if all fails try googling it and you probably will find it I put like random key search terms I thought of doing as a business because I can search everything but maybe not but you know I put like the random key term search terms and normally something or the other we show up somebody who's written a paper somebody's putting a one image somewhere it shows up so all right so go into the question what what I carry um and this about what's in the bag it depends on the kind of shoot if I'm shooting local if it's for a job you know this is more about the field kind of shooting for travel I tried to make the bag as small as possible like for my recent shoot in California I carried everything like my carry-on bag that was it I mean I obviously my carryin was super heavy which they didn't need to know and that had an another bag which my laptop and my drives which it didn't need to know but it looked like I was carrying two bags and the guys like why do you have so many cameras so he didn't ask actually it was kind of surprising so I carry two bodies I have a older 5d which I love I've shot it for I mean the only thing I don't like about it is as dust spots and I just hate the spotting when I come back but the mark 2 is it's great the reason why I actually bought the mark 2 I'll tell you is to shoot low light and low light is really really really cool for the mark 2 and for the first time I actually shot video with the mark 2 I wouldn't I consider myself a photographer and I would never move over with your video I thought and not that I want to do this I always see video as a supplementary images or you know it's something that come you know something goes along with my photography I never want to see video only so I shot that for the mark 2 and as far lenses I do have you know I would recommend you don't get zooms but I only have it because it's convenient for me but normally I would I would tell you is for the 70-200 I never shoot in between for the Canon 1735 I probably only shoot at 35 maybe 24 but I make sure that I'm looking and I never do this while I'm composing because in that way I never learned how to compose a scene so I always shooting with the as if I was carrying a fixed focal length lens and that's my point of you know I should shoot a lot with the gist of 50 that really trained my eyes as to how a 50 looks like and try that even with your with your point-and-shoot cameras do not do that zoom back and forth just keep it at one focal length and you be the zoom back and forth you see your officials will improve a lot and you really like to see how the camera sees things that's the most important thing someone was asking about a tripod it was you that's from a tripod I carried and tripod is I call tripod tuition because ninety nine hundred out of ten times when I think I'm gonna use a tripod and I really want to use a tripod that opportunity never happens and I'm kind of that thing so even though it's light it's a carbon fiber tripod which is light the tripod head is a little heavy so it's still about four pounds or five pounds something like that or maybe even six but the thing is the point about the tripod is and then the day I think like you know what I'm not carrying a tripod today and boom maybe like oh my god I need a tripod so I I call a tripod tuition my entire workshop in Ecuador we were there for 10 days I I was so frustrated didn't use the tripod I actually forced myself and another fellow photographers like oh good thing I see using tripod I'm like yeah you know what I carried it like you know thousands of miles I'm gonna use it and it was a worse shot you know it was not it wasn't a tripod shot but I just used it because I felt good so I would say keep the tripod it's um you can you always use a beanbag you can use like a canterna make a beer mug upside-down you can do whatever you want just the stability but I use it primarily for long exposure shots and sometimes for food that food chat I saw with the soup locro is actually on a tripod because the light was low and I wanted to I didn't want to I want to shoot it that focal length and that is so if you're shooting low ISO I'm assuming most of you know what I saw is I shoot at low ISO usually 100 i maximum go to 400 so if i want to shoot at 100 then most of the times my shutter speed is too slow for me to hand hold it and even though I might try to not breathe and hold it still it doesn't happen so I use a tripod but it's so clunky you know it's like so clunky but somebody told me for this I have a new job coming up it's a different kind of work and for that work I have to use a tripod all the time so I'm going to take this month just chewed on a tripod again I'm gonna put myself in a position where I'm not comfortable with that's essentially what I'm asking you to do remote cable release and very important I did this I already did this field research for yourself maybe ever thinking of it buying the wireless one don't it doesn't work I was on a remote Wireless release for a job and the thing wouldn't go off I don't know why don't ask me I had to set it on so if you don't have a cable release and if you don't have a timer and I don't have a wireless thing what you can do is I'm assuming people know what remote cable release is right okay so I'll just real briefly if you want to shoot slow shutter and you even if you're on a tripod and if you click the camera with the shutter button there is camera shake because the mirror is going up right so ideally what you can do so ideally if in order to minimize that shake even if you're with your with your finger is you attach this release like a cable and is essentially remote shutter so you press it here without touching the camera so there's minimal vibration there's another way to actually even reduce that by reducing the most people don't have mirrors in their camera now with the point-and-shoot but at the very least that's what it does so in lieu of the at physical cable I said you know what I'm gonna get the wireless so I can be anywhere and I can shoot and it didn't work and I was really frustrated so what I did if you if that was trying to say is if you don't have either of the two two pieces of equipment you can use the timer button on the camera because a timer you can hit the timer and then you can you know you can walk away from the camera wait 10 seconds and it's going to do just that but you limited to 10 seconds or whatever it is you really can't do a bulb exposure which is keeping the shutter open for a long time but if you want to do that you can use the timer a flash head maybe I took a flash at this time and it's mainly for filling in light and I'm kind of regretting that I should have taken out one more but anyway I didn't have space in my carry-on baggage it did it did his job again there's not a lot of flash in travel photography because it just defeats the purpose but there's a lot of great great photographers we even do street photography with with flash so there's something that I'm constantly struggling with I'm constantly learning constantly growing and that's what it's all about being inspired by someone's way of shooting that you're not familiar with I use flash a lot for portraiture I recently their project in the or Manhattan where we went into stores and we did we set up small lights small flashes with panels but that is flashes were good for that job because it's lighting like this is horrible lighting and you know it was just I'd like to use flash when I cannot see the flash that's my methodology always recreating the window in my mind when I'm shooting with flash so that's my idea of using flash I use this a lot a close-up lens attachment because I don't have space and I don't want to carry the weight of a MacPro macro lens and it kind of works it's like a poor man's way of doing it but most of the time it works you can you know it's pretty cheap at 40 bucks or 50 bucks something like that you can screw on attachments when I have the luxury of carrying that I do carry a macro lens but more and more I'm just carrying a lens attachment I do carry this is very important the cheapest equipment on this page maybe not I don't know but Ziploc bags I carried them a lot because I carry the big ones so when I'm shooting in those situations where it's raining and it's wet and you don't know what you're gonna expect just shouldn't throw them in the bag and carry it around and you can even sometimes I've done I've shot through the bag and it's really cool it gives a it's a it's it gives you a different sense of the place shooting through the bag how we talked about the memory cards I have done this time is actually taking a label maker and labeled not on the memory card but on the plastic case one side for one side not so when I'm putting it back I just have that workflow again when I'm shooting so whenever even if I'm taking the card out I take it out in a certain way I put it back in a certain way so that I don't have to worry about knowing whether I have downloaded this or if I've already seen it or not carry extra battery is very very important charge them all the time pen and paper you know making notes and I carry because of my way of former shooting and carry leases so I have to get people to sign releases and stuff like that so I carry pen and paper cleaning cloth alright the last topic is photographing people which I know isn't him you know is a lot a lot of questions on this one so I thought I'd spend some time as how to how I approach people because it's such an big part of how I shoot and what I shoot so contrary to – you know much you might have heard before I use I always always always ask permission it may not be a verbal permission because sometimes if you asked verbally that moment may be gone but just your presence and the way you carry yourself is permission and if you you will know right away if someone is uncomfortable with having you taking their picture I was recently shooting in Venice Beach and one of the guys I don't know what his background is he just didn't want his picture to be taken and I had to take the shot of these guys playing basketball even though I told him it was gonna be in silhouette you were not gonna see anyone's face I'm essentially shooting a silhouette of these guys playing basketball against a very very white open sky he just didn't want his picture to be taken he's like I don't want my picture to be taken fine I walked away I said that's totally fine and you have to respect that because not only for you not only for the next photographer it's intimidating when I'm being shot you know someone taking a picture of me and I and the one other thing that should try out is have someone take a picture of you if because costly I'm taking pictures and there's a very very intimidating thing to actually be in front of a camera so I respect that and whenever somebody says no I just walk away and I mean there are people that would say you know but it's the rightest public space you know I can't it's not worth it because you know what even if you do get the shot it's not gonna be the one you want it what's the point what's the point and then I said you know I always try to be very very nice to people yeah go ahead yes I did I get releases from very every pretty much everyone I shoot I think it's gonna be worth and I'm gonna tell you about what I give them in return for the release usually a picture usually something else but I never pay anyone I don't if someone asked me for money in terms of even taking a picture I just don't do it because there is a you know there is a it's a debate you know it's it's like a it's a it's an interesting topic because some say well I'm taking that picture is compensating them for their being a model and like well I'm giving them a picture and they don't want it then I don't want to start this culture of having them asking anyone for money I mean if you go to a lot of places that you say they want you know a dollar you know our kids would come up and they just ruined it because you know kids should be in school they shouldn't be running around thinking that they should be making money for tourists taking their pictures and that's what eventually happens and maybe for most people that fara even you know for us it's not a big deal to give a dollar but it's not the amount of money it's just the it's just what is gonna happen that's what is again it's my perspective yeah I actually I actually had that I took it out because I thought it may not be appropriate but since you asked the question I do bottle releases and foreign language is in fact when I was shooting in Mongolia I did there was no Mongolian release so I actually asked a guy at the hotel to transplant she was super nice she actually translated the entire release in Mongolian and I have a copy of it just to keep it just to you know it's pretty fascinating yeah I have a picture of this guy this Mongolian hardier signing a release it's like it's really cool it's really cool but you know most of the time the thing is the nature of it is most of the time I probably won't need it but there would be one time I need it and then that's it you know then I want that picture I can't use it yeah if I'm lucky enough to find a guide and when I say a guide is like in the past professional guides actually haven't worked out that well there's the people who are not guides are not guys in the center I like to find the person who has the most connections in the community I don't care what he or she does you know too as an example there's a guy who is changing sheets of the hotel and he seems to talk to everyone and he was like really energetic and really like and the guy said you know what do you want me to show the your community neighbor had one shoot the story and the next morning he shows up not only shows up early he shows up in his Sunday best and I'm like t-shirt and he's got this hat I'm like oh my god she was really happy you know but then there are other things where you wanna if you're looking for a guide which I look at sometimes lights talkers you want to look for someone who's worked with photographers before because us photographers can be a very very annoying bunch because we don't want to leave we want to like really we you know shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and then if someone's not used to that kind of stuff then they get you know restless very soon so I have some stuff about that I think again Tommy is you know what she just said I learned to read body language you know I don't move in right away moving slowly that that picture in Thailand for example like you know I just took step step-step steps sometimes in New York I do that a lot you know and it's easier to do I mean it here's the thing though if you're shooting people in crowded places chances are is easier to shoot because nobody really notice your presence right but if you're under if you want if you're the one guy on the street and there's the other person and you're like oh my god that guy look look the way he's like smoking that cigar oh my god went to your picture of him I mean yeah chances are he's gonna look at you and he's gonna be like what are you doing versus is better sometimes say you know what I wanna take a picture and just imagine them out here I do that all the time and it works sometimes sometimes it looks posed sometimes it doesn't work and so it really depends but I try to especially in foreign cultures I actually kind of prefer when I don't understand the language that we don't realize what they're talking about me but uh but no I try to respect that a lot the body language you know and again I I walk away I've walked away so many times like the best shots I remember this one woman in in a temple in Taiwan I wanted to shoot and you know she just didn't want her picture to be taken and I said you know I was very respectful I said this is exactly what I'm doing this is my business card I'm an artist I come here for a story there's a story we're shooting today no I was like you know what he would have made a great mom you know subject this would be really the story she's like no all right finally she was nice about it so I said okay fine so walked away and then something happened to her and then two hours later is walking by and she's very I'm like oh so I say Jake oh you want to take a picture of me like oh you know so that walking away even like now in California is shooting these uh this this father-daughter you know how sensitive it is to shoot kids and I'm very very aware of that it's especially in the States so I walk up to the guy I said hey you do you mind because he had an amazing car and you're surfers he's like like no I don't want him like do you mind if I showed you your car he's like no no problem and ended up you know starting a conversation with four other people at the beach and the guy he's worked with someone he's I thought you'd be great so you know we start talking and this Beach was a social affair for me after Hafner I'm like wait a second my light I'm gonna lose my light and then after this half an hour of talking to five different people and he really got convinced that I was not some kind of a creepy guy a boy or whatever he's like you know what a portrait would be nice and you know not only that I ended up going to shopping and what he does as custom cars great friends now and he's like you know I'm going back and December to do a shoot he's like I love for you to come and do another shoot you know I'm gonna you know so that's the way it is it is you have to sometimes learn to walk away and then again this is another one since they are not models if you were to hire a model it's different then you can ask the model to be in front of the camera for you for half an hour you know sit down do this jump up you know whatever you want but again these are real you know these are just people like you and me and they're not professional models so once you start treating them like a model then it becames I've seen photographers that I work with me and they're just a little too much it's like you know I'm like you know what you really really are not understanding the social contract that exists between a photographer and and and the subject because after a while especially since you're not living with them for six months that's different after you live with someone for six months you're almost non-existent you can shoot everything you've seen a lot of work you know the Magnum photographers and very very well-known photographers but when you're doing it when you go into a place for only a short period of time you have to respect that you have to kind of figure out that this person is getting kind of like you know edgy or okay are you done enough you know are you done kind of thing and just don't keep on doing it because it's not only not good for you then the next guy who comes after you he's gonna be like oh my god no no you know just make it a fun experience that's what I you know it works and usually it's the first shot that works for me when I take all the takes its issues the first shot or the last shot nothing between of it's a rare occasion and then I you know like I said I send prints I have sent prints all over the world I've sent prints to places where there's no address there's seriously there's like one place we sent a print to and the guys like just send it to so and so's house Pio bah I don't know if it got there I sent it and come back so and the whole village gets you know prints from there so and I haven't I've made friends that way you know I've made friends which I've sent JPEGs to and they've contact me later I said all we'd love to you know keep this file you know my facebook they easier either like my Facebook page or they follow me or Twitter just to you know I have good friends new guys doing a shoot deer followed up with me after the World Cup I was like talking to them he's like hey man remember I was far in shooting so you know yeah you never know what it's gonna get you might get you some friends around different parts of the world and that's the coolest thing you know beyond the picture I don't be a spy you know that's the other thing and I'm that's when I talk about being shooting with the telephoto yes I do shoot with a telephoto in fact that picture I showed you in Ecuador the first portrait shot through that it is actually a telephoto but you know how far I was I was actually where he is and where I am a shot with the telephoto the reason why because it was shot to a BBQ grill and I couldn't get the out-of-focus effect on a normal lens so I had to shoot with them with a telephoto so it would give that effect in front of the subject so I do sugar telephoto but not usually when I'm here and there's a friend of mine who kind of believes this this worse for him maybe it does but I always see that disconnect when I know I know someone who's shot at from across the street and just shooting versus somebody who actually went up there and shot so that for me is works the other thing is is an important one cuz being aware and being knowing your photo equipment really really well one thing that really shows up because most of the time of the I'm like I'm a stranger showing off trying to shoot and if you act like a professional even if you're not if you know what you're doing what your purpose is there chances are there's people going to open up to you instead of you know taking out a camera taking a snapshot you know just oh you're not looking let me because instead of doing that just be confidence now yes I make how opponent shoot but I am trying to capture this image from a lot my perspective which is the way I see the world and even like wow you actually talk to this you know and people are fascinated and you know when I show up you know I try not to fiddle with my equipment I try not to use it I try not to try new things in front of them I tried somewhere else even though you might make fun of me for reading manuals I do read my camera manual when I you know there are certain functions that I forget you know like how to keep the mirror locked and how do you set it back sometimes those Canon menus have weird functions zero what does zero to mean okay so I do you know I don't do that in front of people and then someone asked me about translating but I do pick up a face book you know just that initial thing you know even if you speak horribly like really bad all you can they can say that oh man he tried you know and it really is like oh man you know my Croatian is really bad you know but you know and then you know I've made friends by showing my language ooh they're like oh my god let me see what's in here that's fascinating Oh would you like to go out to dinner tonight I'm like okay so you know like stuff like that you know it's it's just a conversate conversation starter and most of the time I'm I'm shooting when I have the conversation going I try not to be a stranger to people and it shows when I'm a stranger um so a language Brooke is really really useful reading science and you know like I said just talking to people so putting it all together what I talked about is have a story idea idea in mind if this the one thing you can do before you go out and shoot is to think of what you're gonna shoot about one aspect of it maybe it's a story of people maybe a story of a culture maybe it's a story of a place maybe it's your story maybe it's your viewpoint whatever it may be just have an idea in mind again be open to ideas as well have that before you go and once you reach you might come up with ten different stories because they were just in front of you passion you've got to have passion you've got to have passion I can't I can't stress this enough if I didn't have passion I wouldn't be doing what I do today because you know it show it'll show in your pictures I find my way of using the camera and what my philosophy of shooting is that's the only way I get to get to I get to get closer to people who'd normally I'm a fairy I'm not a outgoing person in general I wasn't ever but once I started shooting I I've done I've been in places where I could never imagine I could I have sat down with people I could never imagine without my camera I'm no one and once I have that I you know I shoot because this is what I want to capture it shows and even stuff like a shot over a cliff like I have a fear of heights in general so I was once I was shooting in Peru and I was sure I was singing to my camera and look great I look great and then my wife was with me and there was another guy and you're like and they're like freaking out I'm like what happened and then I put my camera down I'm like oh my god I'm so close to the edge and normally without the camera I wouldn't be but you know at the same time you have to be careful as to where you're going but again when I pick up the when I pick up the camera the point is you know I I let my passion flow through it and I this infectious because once once you start talking about what you love doing your sub just gonna react to that you know when you pick up in whatever camera you have you have to tell people it's not the camera it's how you see things practice you know I shot a lot of projects one project I shot in New York was to shoot New York everyday it was a very very challenging project because I had to be creative on my street every day every day and that was part of the contract even if I liked it or not and it taught me a lot of road rules it was boot camp 101 so the reason why I'm buying someone ask me about the small cameras is because I you know as much as I like to shoot in New York if I don't have the right camera with me then it's not gonna happen and I'm constantly shooting because it's for me but again it's maybe I'll try out something new maybe I'll see some and most of the times when I'm not carrying it I'm carrying a camera is when I see the shot you know I mean and in New York there's so many cultures are so many ethnicities there's so much going on it's like you never know it's a it's a some days are rewarding you come back with ten shots you're proud of and some days there's nothing it's feast or famine and lastly like I said don't forget to have fun I always have a blast when I'm shooting that's the I mean when I'm not you know I'm you know if I were to just want to make myself happy I just take my camera up and go out and shoot and it just puts me in a great mood and when you are in a happy fun mood your sub just gonna react that way your your landscapes gonna speak that way it's your mood eventually like I'm not a person who shoots stories about you know depressing topics or whatever it is because that's the way I am if I were to shoot that that would be different and that just I'm not you know belittling that a lot because there's a lot of work and there's amazing photographers that you know and I know they do amazing work but and they're having fun in their own way don't get me wrong but my way of having fun is different and you have your own different ways and use the camera as a tool so that's what I had this is my website my email if you have any queries but find me on Facebook on Twitter you know there's a like I said with the Ecuador project I'm doing a lot of stuff and going forward so if you want to follow that be part of it or in general find me on on the web and if you have any questions feel free to email me all right great thank you very much [Applause] you

About the author


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this presentation. Ashok presents well and the two things I learned: every picture should tell a story – yes a cliche but how many do? Second, a picture should reflect who you are. So many photography presentations focus on the technical side: exposure, editing, noise, etc, but this guy talks more about the content and that is what makes this video worth viewing.

  2. Good presentation but not so exciting images. I cant rate a single image which was outstanding
    To be a successful photographer you have to be a good presenter
    I know many excellent photographers who click amazing images but they dont have the ability to market their stuff coz of poor communication. Most top photographers are either good communicators or good bloggers..If i had to hire a good photographer I would simply go on and hire kids who shoot with iphone and still get great images.

  3. photographer and soccer fan – Yes ! – very nice video – and an instructor that has many good tips along with showing his work – thanks well done and thanks B&H for presenting him – He should be invited again for other classes – very helpful – so enjoyable presentation but also very practical

  4. Ashok Sinha, Love your approach and passion! Friendly, asks permission, a lot of great food for thought! I really appreciate your expertise..

  5. i dig this guy! i was really inspired, i had opportunities to travel and at the same time loved photography and now i think i've picked up a lot of info on travel photography…make it you own 🙂 thank you for this video.

  6. I've been following various photography blogs and forums for the last 3 years, and this video was one of the very best.
    Ashok Sinha is very inspiring individual.
    Lots of great info provided.
    Thank you for sharing with us!

  7. this is fantastic!! i understood everything he said cause of the way he explained it, it sounded like he was in my head, one of the best tutorials i have ever seen by far!!

  8. Great video. B&H You always pick the right and best person for your videos. Thank you for sharing it. Great guy Ashok Sinha and great images too. Specially the ones taken in Ecuador.

  9. WOW! Thanks a lot for this inspiring and informative video! This is THE best "tutorial" about travel photography I ever have viewed! Keep up the good work!

  10. Thanks for great ideas and a great presentation.
    As for the comment below: when people can consistently get shots like yours, then they can yawn. Not before. That's the way I see it.

  11. this is one of the better videos on B&H ..
    I look for theory first…and then commenting on photos and why they are pleasing.

  12. @Lepewhi
    I had bought a Canon G11 but ended up selling it.
    Now I'm testing the new Sony RX-100 and like what I see so far, but the jury is still out.

    Hope this is helpful – Ashok Sinha”

  13. I really enjoyed this presentation. I travel mostly around Europe, but this gave me good tips on photographing people. I am interested to know what small camera you bought in the end.

  14. @BillBinns , @arash107 , @alishamif , @crispiebone , @mrsebwallace Thank you so much for watching the B&H Photo YouTube Channel and for your participation. We are very pleased that you derive value from and find our presentations useful and informative.

  15. Thanks a lot to Mr Sinha and to B&H for this video. I have often encountered the problem of trying to get an interseting photo of something I have already seen many thousands of photos of. I really got a lot out of this video. Thanks again.

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