Photographing people you meet on motorcycle trips

The people we meet on our rides are a huge part of the experience. But photographing the folks we come across seems to cause more anxiety to the photographer than the subject!
Photographing people is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding aspects of the art.
I want to give you some quick tips that you can work with right away. Let’s take a look at the basics here.
Several of the techniques covered in Motojournalism - Book One apply here: Get close to your subject, keep the photo simple, look for a good background and arrange the photo with the rule of thirds in mind.
Like many things you’ve just got to get out there and practice. You will feel more comfortable with each press of the shutter. But the excitement never really goes away. This is a good thing.

Give your subject a space to look into. Coco’s Corner, Baja Mexico

Posing people in front of the camera is the easy way out, but it doesn’t always capture the personality of our subjects. You know how you stiffen-up when the camera is pointed at you. Say cheese! You will find that people are most comfortable and “themselves” when they are involved in some sort of activity. Get them talking and laughing, have them explain what they are doing or where they are going.

Don’t make a big deal of having your camera out. Just play it cool and take your shots.

SeƱor Benjamin, chatting with the ladies. He wasn’t paying much attention to me! Antigua, Guatemala

Get your subject talking or involved in an activity

If you feel uncomfortable photographing people, an excellent place to practice is at working museums or historical reenactments. These people are quite used to having their photograph taken, and will happily go about their business as you snap away.
You do have to break away from the group of standing tourists though. I found the best results were obtained by chatting one-on-one with the museum interpreters after the tour group had moved on.

It’s all about the expression and pose when you are taking photos of people. This works best while they are involved in an activity, not paying much attention to the camera. You’ve got to be quick on the shutter in situations like this. Take many shots in a row, there will always be a frame with just the right look on their face.

Sometimes a posed photo will turn out great. There’s no reason you can’t try both a candid, and a posed frame.
Los hermanos Juarez, beaming with pride in their ironworks - Antigua, Guatemala

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