Travelers’ accounts and travel articles tell you that you should respect local culture, which is one of the essential things you should do when you are in a foreign country. Locals have different ways of looking at things, and while they may be used to tourists, it is still vital to be courteous.
One thing you can initially do is to spend some time doing background research about your destination. It will give you an idea of what to expect and what to look for.
As one tourist shared, while the country appreciates the influx of tourists to their place, most of the locals are not happy. For them, tourists are only there to take (pictures of scenery and people) but not to pay (buy the items they sell).
Most locals are happy to welcome foreign visitors. But you cannot discount that there will always be exceptions. It is vital to have some background knowledge of the place you plan to visit, and do not leave your good manners behind.
Show respect to everyone you meet, whether they are children or adults. You’ll find that such basic courtesy can be the icebreaker you need to engage locals in conversation, build trust, and eventually be of help to you as you seek exciting subjects for your travel photography efforts.
Responsibilities as a travel photographer
One of the golden rules states, “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you”, which is something that you can apply to travel photography. If you keep that in mind, you’ll fare better. It’s always best to be responsible wherever you are.
What should you do first? Here are some valuable ideas from experienced travel photographers and Austin portrait photographers.
- Engage in conversation. Even if you do not know the language, use nonverbal methods such as hand gestures and friendly facial expressions. Do not forget to smile warmly. You can ask for their names, what work they do, or the things they sell. If you were drawn to their jewelry or their clothes, compliment these items.
- Once they become more open to you, be polite in asking their permission to take their photos. Thank them for the time they spent with you even if they don’t agree to your request, SpotOn photographers in Austin recommend.
- Do not offer to pay, unless being photographed by tourists is their source of income. When you pay them to pose for pictures, you may get something that’s fake, since they may dress up in more elaborate costumes and accessories that are created only for show and not the real representation of their culture. Children should not be given toys or cash because it encourages begging and staying out of school.
Being courteous while trying to take photos of people you meet during your travels is being a responsible tourist. It does not cost anything, says SpotOnPhotographers.com but it will give you valuable memories and photographs that you can share with many people.