Dominican Republic - Portrait Breakdown 01
I spend 10 days working for the travel company, TUI, capturing this incredible country. Although I was primarily shooting video, I did get a chance on my days off to get away from most of the touristy places and capture the wonderful people with my stills camera.
Words can't describe the feeling I get when capturing people in their natural environments, but I'll give it a try! Firstly, I always aim to establish and build a genuine friendly relationship between me and the subject - I want them to feel at ease while I'm there. I don't want them to feel anxious in any way! I know it can be daunting for someone to take your portrait, especially if the photographer is a stranger and from another country - you have to rely on body language to communicate. I've always been conscious of the way I approach people. I believe it is key to any good photography (or moving image). I need them to feel as if i'm not imposing on their day-to-day life. However, I do not take photographs silently. I make sure they are aware that I'm shooting them. I want them to feel a connection with me too so I interact with them with a smile and some small chat. I find that if you shoot silently you don't have as long to capture a moment - the subject can end up becoming very shy towards you and the camera. Once I have made that connection I can start capturing.
Once I found who I want to capture, I start moving around them - trying to find a frame - I have to constantly look at the light and where is would be best to have my subjects in order to get the best photograph. For example the photograph above, I was communicating with the subject for about 3/4 mins before I found a suitable place for the photograph. I very subtly moved the two boys over to this position. I've found over the last couple of years shooting people they naturally gravitate to where you point your camera, which always works in my favour as I have already though of this frame in my head. I spotted the mother watching over her children as soon as we arrived and knew this was the kind of shot I wanted to try and capture.
Once I had placed them in the position they naturally took this friendly stance. So then its just a case of hitting the shutter button and hoping I've captured what I envisioned. Thankfully the picture captured exactly what I intended.
A few days later I got the chance to head back to the location and find the mother and her boys - I could finally show them the image I took. For me, this was a very special moment. They gave me such emotion within the photographs and without them there wouldn't be a photograph so I always feel very grateful that they allow me to photograph them. It's a true passion for me and one day my aim is to exhibit all the photographs of people I have taken over the years.