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In the last post, I told you about that very first (terrifying) time I talked myself into approaching a stranger and asking if I could take his photograph. Today I want to share a few practical tips to help you get out there and take authentic travel photos.

There are a couple of ways to photograph people while you travel, and which approach you use depends on what you’re trying to create.

Street Photography

The first is street photography. We’ve all seen photographs that capture interesting street scenes from around the world. Whether shot on black and white film, a dSLR, or a smartphone, the most compelling photographs draw the viewer into a sliver of time that is captured in a single photo.

The perspective in street photography is that of an observer. The photographer watches the movement and colors and shapes, and looks for an interesting juxtaposition, interaction, or unusual perspective.

What does it feel like to be on a street in Antigua, Guatemala, versus Havana, Cuba? Is it bustling and chaotic, or peaceful and laid-back? What does it sound and smell like? What are the details that you notice?

This approach doesn’t usually involve building a connection with the people you’re photographing. It would be impossible to introduce yourself to everyone in most of these situations, right? But the thing that many of us are nervous about is that people will notice that we’re photographing them. It’s a balancing act to shoot intentionally, be respectful, and be discreet in street photography.

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