Travel Photography: Young People

When traveling to other areas of their own country or even countries, photographers will often encounter new people and experiment with travel photography. And, the difficulty of taking photos of young people will vary by the region and by the children themselves. But, youth pictures can be some of the most interesting and telling of a photographer's travels. Needed equipment includes a good digital SLR camera, preferably one with the ability to shoot video, a monopod and a lot of patience.

Step 1: Getting to Know the Subject

While children are naturally curious about new people and new items, they can also be reluctant to come up to a photographer or even have their picture taken. So, photographers will have to spend a lot of time interacting with their subjects. Photographers should take pictures of other things and allow the children to look at them. Or, photographers can even let the children gently hold the camera or snap their own picture. Or, film them playing, and allow them to watch themselves on the screen.

Besides needing to be patient, photographers also need to consider language barriers. Oftentimes in other countries, youth will not understand the photographer. This is especially true if the photographer is going to remote areas. Always ask permission of parents if they can be found. It would be impolite to do otherwise.

Step 2: Camera Settings

Children are not going to wait around for a photographer to set up a shot. Instead, set the camera to one of the following settings depending on the camera: Continuous Shooting, Sports, Kids and Pets, or Action. This will ramp up the shutter speed and frame rate. Some of these settings will also increase the ISO to assist with low-light situations.

If the camera does not have any of these modes, a photographer will have to manually adjust the settings. Try increasing the ISO to around 400 to 800 and the shutter speed to 1/250 per second. 

Either buy a camera that has some type of optical stabilization, or invest in a monopod. Optical stabilization in cameras and lenses will decrease the chances of blurry or grainy images due to shaking hands. This is especially helpful if a photographer is chasing around a subject. A monopod will work just as well since it can be folded up or left attached to the camera. Monopods allow for quicker setup over tripods.

Step 3: Techniques

Trying to photograph a youth from above probably won't be very effective or interesting. Kneel down on one knee to get to their eye level. Or, try lying down on the ground while looking up at the subject. Another technique is to shoot from the hip, meaning that the camera is at hip level. This way, the subject may not even be aware that they are being photographed.

To get the youth to interact with the camera, photographers should try goofing around with their subject. Make faces at them so they'll do the same to camera. If the photographer is having fun, the children are more likely to do the same.