The focus of my teaching is often about telling a story with photographs. One of the most effective ways to do this is with an environmental portrait. This style of portrait places the subject in context with their surroundings, telling a story of who they are, what they are doing and also their location.
Typically I love to work with a 35mm lens, often considered too wide for a portrait, but I think perfect to capture both subject and atmosphere. Many people opt for a longer lens when photographing people they don’t know, allowing themselves some distance makes them more comfortable. Don’t be shy! I love to get closer with a wider lens and relate to my subject, (even if I do not speak their language I can still communicate with eye contact and body language.) The results are more intimate images with greater feeling.
Chiang Mai Photography Tours workshops usually take in one or two markets which provide fabulous opportunities for environmental travel portraits. Northern Thai locals are generally happy to be photographed, but it’s always important to be polite and respectful, especially if people are working. I never hide my camera, preferring for people to be able to see what I am doing. This just means it may take a little longer to get the un-posed, candid shots that I like. And, when I do, it’s always fun to show people the portrait I have just made of them.