WHAT: Capitaland Building People 2011 Photo Events
WHERE: STI Auditorium & ION Station
WHEN: Friday, August 05, 2011 from 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
I had an opportunity to join this event by Capitaland in cooperation with National Geographic. This was the first time that I attended a Photography Seminar hosted by Nat Geo photographer Catherine Karnow. The topic was more about travel photography which is also my kind of interest aside from landscape.
Today, I will be sharing some few tips on how to capture a good photos and making your travel photography timeless and meaningful. What are those points that I was referring to? Here they are:
2) Gear Preparation
3) Pleasing People
4) Shooting Icons
It is important that before you go somewhere else that you are not familiar with, either local or abroad, you have to consider doing some research before you go there. Given that you already know the location of your hotel, nearby food place and nearest stations, it is also important to know the right spot and time where you can capture the place and people at its best. Reading forums and feedback from other travelers is a very useful way of gathering information about the place because all the given details were based on their own experience that you also might encounter when you get there. Printing a map is also a good idea especially when your GPS only works in your own country. If you are taking a package tour, it is recommended to book your schedule ahead via online booking to avoid hassle when you reached the place. Find a reputable and trusted websites in getting a package tour. Read a few feedback from other people to give you an idea of their service standards.
From my own experience on traveling to different countries in Asia, it is always money that matters. Creating your own itinerary will make your life easier. That is why researching is the key to optimize your time and save your money.
This is the common thing that we do before we go for photo shoot. But this time, it is a “MUST” to check all your gears before you leave, because there is no turning back once you flew. Just carry the ones you will be needing for photo shooting. Make sure the camera battery is fully charged and the memory card is all cleared out for maximum space available. Do not forget to bring charger, USB cable, and adapter. Do bring laptops/notebooks if you have for backup. Make sure your lenses and camera are well cleaned. For a tripod that is perfect for traveling, I would recommend Sirui T-1204X. For travel bags, I find backpacks more suitable because it doesn’t give me an uncomfortable feeling while walking and shooting. Another advantage of backpack is you are able to move and bend your body without letting your bag slip from your shoulder. It also avoid having severe shoulder pain after a couple of hours traveling compared to a sling bag/shoulder bag since you are carrying your things on balance and not just one shoulder that holds the total weight of your bag.
This is the most interesting topic that I have learned from the photography seminar since I am not that good at portraiture. Pleasing people is not easy to achieve especially on strangers wherein your camera is like a gun pointing at their faces and I agree that this is the most challenging part in travel photography. Let me give you some tips on how you will please people of taking their portraits without threatening and intimidating them.
One of the techniques on pleasing people is “Observation”. You need to observe the place and how the people interact. Being said that “Researching” is important in travel photography, you should know their culture and religion so you have a better idea on do’s and don’ts. When you go to a place that has a lot of people, try to look around if there are other photographers taking photos. This will give you the safe feeling of getting your camera out from your bag and start shooting. Likewise, if you are the only person holding a DSLR Camera and most of them are staring at you, try to do some extra activity like sitting on a chair and do petty stuffs or pretending you are up to something that has nothing to do with their interests. Just take your time because it will take a while before they start to forget about your existence. Putting yourself on the mood of the crowd is also important in taking photos of the place and people. If the crowd is noisy and full of energy, just smile and let the people think that you are a harmless person and doesn’t have bad intentions.
Another technique is “Communication”
Communicating with them will make them feel safe. Although these people who does not fluently speak English or totally don’t speak English at all will be a little tougher for you to communicate. Sometimes, you see people who looks serious and unapproachable-kind that makes you hesitant to take his/her photo. If you are unsure about it, communicate is the key. Talk to the person you want to take a photo with. If he/she is selling something, just simply ask the price of the items, what is it made of, is it durable or whatever questions that comes to your mind. Try to convince them that you are interested on what they are selling. Buy one if you think it is worth buying as a token of taking photos. If the person is just nobody hanging around selling nothing and you wanted to take a portrait of him/her, try to do some trick like “this and that” kind of conversation. For example, asking for help to locate a place that you obviously know. In 20 secs. of talking, you already got an idea when to insert the magic word. You should also have better understanding on the situation when communicating to people because they might be in a hurry and just giving their precious time talking to you when all you want is to take photos. Giving them the impression of a pleasant personality gives you a higher chance of getting what you always wanted.
Different countries have different icons such as Statue of Liberty in America, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Merlion in Singapore, The Sydney Opera House in Australia, Great Wall of China, and many more. These are the icons you wouldn’t want to miss shooting whenever you visit other countries. Apart from these popular ones, that’s not the end of the story. Whenever you travel to other countries, it is important to capture the 3 other icons that some photographers do missed. What are those?
Religion - In what sense you can capture a country´s religion? You´re right! By visiting their holy place such as temple or church.
Culture - Culture is something that you can obviously see all over the place. By capturing their daily life activities, signature transportation vehicle, clothes they wear, food they eat, and what they do for a living are essentially enough to portray a country´s culture.
People - As discussed on our previous topic, shooting people has never been easier especially when you are stepping on their mainland and you feel like the world will crush down on you when you started to click your shutter button. Try to capture as much people as you can with different emotions, activities and ambiance.
These are some of the photos from the seminar held at STI Auditorium located at Capital Tower, Singapore.
Nat Geo photographer Catherine Karnow
These are the photos of the Photo Exhibition at ION Station, Orchard Road, Singapore.
Me and Ms. Catherine Karnow
Got some freebies from Capitaland
Last but not the least, my Certificate of Participation in the Photography Contest. It was really an honor for me to have this certificate even though I was not the one who won the contest. It is truly a great experience to participate in a photography contest to share and appreciate other photos.
Have a fun and safe travel!
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