10 places to photograph people

Scroll down to get to #1and don't forget to read the copy for an explanation and a few tips.

#10   Costumed event - Carnival of Venice

Shhh Don't Tell

You don't have to go to Venice, Italy to find a costumed event. They are all over the place. It doesn't even have to be an event. What about a play, practice, or a ballet school? If fact those are perfect places to practice before you spend big money on a trip.

Interesting fact on the Carnival of Venice - The majority of the models are costume designers from other countries.  And most of them are over 40. The Carnival of Venice lasts for 10 days and is usually the same time as Mardi Gras.

10 cultural portrait.jpg

#9  Faces of character or history by Randall Tomaras

No one said it was easy

This was the first capture I took of this guy. When he saw me, he turned away. I flashed him a twenty and we got together. I showed him the image and said I have a twenty if he would sign a release because I did not want to use his image without permission. He signed the release and I asked if I could take just a few more. No problem, but none of them had the look in the eyes that the first one did.

Treat people with respect. You will be amazed at how much you learn. If you are fortunate, do not take advantage of others who aren't. 

9 cultural portrait.jpg

# 8  Shadows and reflections are portraits by Randall Tomaras

Hold our hands

Sometimes we come in too close, when the better image might include shadows and/or reflections. We often fail to see the whole scene when we have a telephoto lens on the camera.  I make it a general rule to back my eye away from the view finder every few images. Sometimes to check the histogram or view what I have taken. Those that do 'live view' are already in position to see the whole scene.

In this case the parents were taking their child to Disneyland. A perfect reason for the title "Hold our hands. 

8 cultural portrait.jpg

# 7  Events celebrating heritage - Pow Wow 

Nespelem Sheriff

  This image was taken at a Seattle Seafair Pow Wow that celebrated Native American heritage.

   But there are a lot of cultures in many cities and towns that celebrate their heritage. They tend to dress up in their historic costumes and perform.

   It does not even need to be an event. Find someone who has a costume and have them pose for you.  Then you can control the light and background. You might even learn something about another culture or even your own.

   In this case, I had to get a low camera angle to control what would have been a busy background. It also created a dominance as if we were at war.

7 cultural portrait.jpg

# 6  People at work - Amish community by Randall Tomaras

Raking Pebbles

Sherry and I were in the Pennsylvania countryside chasing a hot air balloon, when we passed this Amish lady raking the pebbles in the driveway. I immediately slammed on the brakes and backed up to a wide spot in the road. Jumped out of the car with an 80 to 400mm. Took a few images and off down the road. The lesson here is that when you see good light and a unique subject, STOP and take it. The other thing I recommend is that when you are flying down the road, keep a long lens  on your  camera rather than a wide-angle.

6 cultural portrait.jpg

# 5  The Market Place - Hanoi Vietnam by Randall Tomaras

5 cultural portrait.jpg

Oranges for sale

   This image was taken from my hotel window in Hanoi, Vietnam. Picking the right hotel room is important. If I am at a Professional Photographer Convention, I am going to choose the official hotel because it will put me in the thick of all the talks and could have meetings in my hotel room without leaving the venue.

   In Vietnam, I was trying to photograph culture and the way people live. So I am not going to pick the fancy expensive hotel. I want to be closer to where local people gather. It gives me  the opportunity to look out the window and see what is going on. This was taken from my hotel window. I talked to her later and she walks 7 miles to the city with no shoes every day with 65 pounds of fruit or vegetables to sell. 

#4   Parades of all types - Seattle Pride Parade 

4 cultural portrait.jpg

It's hot in there

   I have news for you. The best time to photograph a parade is not the actual parade, but the time before (getting ready) and the time after (when there is exhaustion). That's when you can capture true emotions. Once the performance starts you have scripted emotions. Kind of like a mother getting a child ready for a photograph.

   So with the image to the right the person is getting ready for the Seattle Pride Parade. He was hydrating before the big march. When he saw me he put on a big dragon helmet. I took a shot but it was not an image worth keeping. It didn't show feeling.

# 3  Multi-day events - Mardi Gras by Randall Tomaras

Fuel for a King

   I thought Mardi Gras was a one day parade on a Tuesday in New Orleans. So about two weeks before, I called one of my friends who is on a float every year. He said you better get down here it starts tomorrow.  Can't remember how many parades there were, but it seems like it was over 20. And when I do a parade I like to walk with the participants so I do not have the same background.

   Well this image was the last official parade on Tuesday. I was liking the skin contrast with the Pink outfit and then he reached down and pulled out his yellow bag of potato chips. Thank you hunger pains.

   I said official above because there are some unofficial parades worth photographing too. 

3 cultural portrait.jpg

#2  Expressions of love - Yunnan China by Randall Tomaras

103 and 3

   Sherry and I were in the backroads of China setting up scenes and models in the farmlands for the next year. You know, something that most photographers or tourists don't see any more.   Well I got thirsty, so I asked my assistant if there was any place to get a bottle of water. She lead me to a store that was in the side room of a house. I am drinking water and I asked the older ma and pa if they had any grandchildren. They said two, and I pulled out two Red Noses for them. They did not know what they were, so I put one on my nose. They laughed then they put them on their noses. We all laughed and I took a picture (see Paintings - portraits) 

   Before I knew it, they had called the entire  family to meet us.  We were having fun and I turned around and saw the great great grandpa with his Great great grand daughter.turned around and saw the great great grandpa with his Great great grand daughter.

2 cultural portrait.jpg

#1 Difference in lifestyle - rural Ryazan, RU by Randall Tomaras

1 cultural portrait.jpg

Water in the Winter

We all have a different lifestyle. The image to the right is a remote town in the boondocks of Russia in the middle of Winter. The town only had 12 houses and they looked like ornate Hansel and Gretel houses. While the houses were amazing the people were even more amazing.  I was the very first American in their town. They were taught not to trust Americans. When I left we were friends and we changed each other's lives.  This will be the first post on my blog and well worth watching. 

There can be differences in your own town, you just have to expand your viewpoint.