Is it OK to take photos of locals without their permission? How do local customs dictate what is and isn’t OK? How do I pluck up the courage to ask people if I can shoot their portrait? Professional travel photographer Nicola Bailey explains.
As a child, I was enthralled by my parents’ home slideshows of their travels as backpackers through places like Iran, India, Afghanistan and Timor. My dad was a Photographer and through a single image had the power of communicating volumes. It therefore wasn’t a big surprise to anyone when I developed my own addiction for travel and photography as a young adult.
I’ve discovered though that photography when traveling isn’t always easy. Not all cultures view photography in the same way we do, and often it’s the case that it can feel almost exploitative when there’s a visible economic disparity between you and the person you’re photographing.
These shouldn’t be reasons to put you off though. As with responsible travel in general, if you start with some knowledge about the place you’re visiting, travel with an open mind, and are prepared to put yourself out there and connect with others, photography, like travel, can build bridges and enrich your whole trip.
Below are ten tips that, with experience, I’ve found make photography more rewarding for both me and the person I’m photographing.