Holiday snaps, come back with some masterpieces!

 Stating the blee**n' obvious, but wonderful nonetheless, as shop in Lisbon, Portugal 

Stating the blee**n' obvious, but wonderful nonetheless, as shop in Lisbon, Portugal 

Whether it’s photographing your children or testing out your portrait skills on the locals, there are a few key things to keep in mind when taking photographs of people on your travels.

The most important advice is to photograph everything, happy and less happy moments.

Imagine you are an alien who has just landed and that everything you see before you is new and novel, fresh eyes are what you need, finding interest in the unremarkable.

 Delhi central station, I could have spent a week there taking pictures!

Delhi central station, I could have spent a week there taking pictures!

So when you are on holiday, you have the perfect opportunity. Approach everybody (within reason), talk to as many people as you can, that point of contact is the most important thing before taking their picture, by talking to them you can also gauge how they will react to having their photos taken; usually it is not a problem.

 I told him he looked like Nehru, he liked that a lot, I got a free Chai!

I told him he looked like Nehru, he liked that a lot, I got a free Chai!


Please don't take loads of pictures of monuments or buildings, you'll never look at those pictures and anyway, some brilliant landscape or architectural photographer has probably been there before and has more than likely produced some extraordinary images that neither of us could better! If I am somewhere with beautiful buildings, I will search out a coffee table book about them. 

But if you must take pictures of buildings try and find a way of including a recognisable local feature, London pictures always have a black cab or a Routemaster bus in them.

 My take on the beautiful boulevards in Lisbon, with a tram of course! 

My take on the beautiful boulevards in Lisbon, with a tram of course! 


It is worth mentioning that taking just one picture will generally not give you the best results, take lots of pictures of each event or situation, you can edit it down to your favourite later, one group picture will inevitably mean one of the group will have their eyes shut so shoot lots!

When photographing your children, while they play, hang back a little and observe them without getting involved, you will be surprised at what beautiful photographs you will get.

When your children are building sand castles on the beach, sit near enough to frame them correctly in the viewfinder and just click away from the same spot, look for a theme or a storyline then look for situations that will fit with your chosen storyline, build a picture story in your mind, you could then end up with a little sequence of your children based around making the sandcastle.

My children's eating habits, when they were little, were a matter for constant documentation, I have a fantastic collection of chocolate/ice cream/ broccoli covered faces, that together make a very entertaining set of pictures, especially considering they are now all grown up.

Don't forget to keep taking pictures even if one of the children loses the plot and has the screaming abdabs. It may seem odd at the time but looking back at these pictures when they are much older is very entertaining, and they will laugh along with you I promise. 

On holiday we all look so good and healthy, the sun on our skin, great food lovely light everywhere, take some portraits of your little ones, the best light for portraits is not direct sunlight, best to search out some shade and do the pictures there.

Early morning and late afternoon light are also lovely times to photograph, be aware of how the human face responds in too much sunlight, our eyes and face scrunch up making for dreadful portraits.


So in short, take loads of pictures and edit later, taking photographs is an act of observing over a period of time, it should never just be one click then move on. Think about the prevailing light and, if you can move your subject into the best light, the shade is better than direct sunlight, talk to people even if you don't speak the same language and take pictures of people, not buildings!

Good luck and happy travels.