Some of the most interesting and exciting subjects for travel photography are the tribal people of the world. While they often live in remote areas, making the effort to get them in front of your lens can result in some incredible photographic opportunities. As they are often so distinctive, it can be tempting to take the traditional portrait approach – head and shoulders, waist up or 3/4 length – and this can certainly produce good images. However, a bit of creativity can yield much more rewarding results.
“For this shot I wanted to use natural elements from the man’s environment, and I wanted to be creative. So I used the tree to hide part of his face, and a very narrow depth of field to emphasise the eye. I think the resulting image is original, powerful, and a little sinister with the way his gaze is so direct and yet half hidden…”
“Unusual angles and perspectives can help to bring an image to life and give it more impact. Here I got down really low and used a fisheye lens to exaggerate the circle of dancers. This also helped me to get more context in the image – the palm trees and the audience can be seen, but they do not interfere with the main subject.”
“The slow shutter speed I used in this one causes motion-blur and implies movement in the scene. I felt that this was an important element to capture, as it was one of the key aspects of what was unfolding before me. It also makes for a much more interesting and creative image than if I had used faster shutter speed, which would have frozen the scene and made it feel much more static. It was important to get the shutter speed just right so that some elements remained sharp.”
“Simplifying a photo by focusing on what’s most important can be really effective. With this tribesman in Papua New Guinea, I felt that the headdress was the star of the show and wanted the picture to be about that. Keeping the tribesman’s eyes in the frame retains the human element and makes the image more interesting, especially as his gaze is so arresting. His eyes also convey his emotion – you can sense that he is happy and smiling without seeing the whole of his face.”