Last week, at the Destinations Travel Show at Olympia, the Sauce Travel team was lucky enough to be part of Steve Davey’s Shooting Travel Portraits Masterclass. Steve Davey is a renowned travel photographer, whose images have graced the front covers of publications such as Wanderlust. Armed with iphones, the travel team learnt a huge amount on how to take interesting and beautiful images of people while on holiday – see below for the top tips we picked up:


Firstly, decide between the two different strategies for photographing people: approaching the subject and engaging with them, or candid street photography when the subject doesn’t know you’re watching. Here is how to do each:


Engaging with People:

  • When you’ve found someone you would like to photograph, stop and think for a moment. Ask yourself what it is that is remarkable about that person: is their face remarkable (take a close up or head shot), are they wearing something remarkable (shoot full length), are they doing something remarkable (take an action shot), are they somewhere remarkable (take an environmental portrait).


  • Previsualise your portrait and work out how you want the end product to be. Think about the angle from which you are photographing, and therefore the viewpoint, think about the distance from which you want to shoot, the orientation of the image and finally the crop.


  • Prepare your camera. If, like us at Sauce, we tend to use our phone cameras, this step is easy. If using an SLR, ensure you have the right lens on and you’ve tested the exposure.


  • You are then ready to engage! If you don’t share a language, just look them in the eye and smile. Try to get down on their level and engage. Still talk to them even if you don’t share a language and motion with your hands. If they have a great face – tell them. If they are wearing or doing something interesting tell them, and ask if you can try what they are doing. This will help to break down the boundaries between you.


  • Whilst you are taking pictures, don’t keep the camera over your face for more than a few seconds. You should drop it out of eye contact, interact, then lift it up again to take a few more pictures.


  • Quickly review your image, but don’t spend ages looking at the camera – engagement is key, and it will look very rude if you don’t continue to converse with them. Smile at the subject, show them the image.


Candid Street Photography

  • Be moral – don’t take pictures if you know someone doesn’t want to be photographed and also don’t intrude on people or offend them.


  • Work unobtrusively – don’t hide, but try not to stand out. Move slowly, don’t stand for long with the camera over your eye and move away promptly.


  • Try to capture interactions – people interacting with one another make lovely images, and they will also be less likely to notice you and object! Interactions can be caught well at public events or in processions


  • Point the camera elsewhere – include the subject at the edge of the frame, and it won’t seem like you’re photographing them. This can also make an interesting composition, especially if the surrounding environment is beautiful.


  • You can always also stakeout a view. If you’re feeling slightly tired, just sit in a nice spot and wait for someone photogenic walk into frame. This will happen… eventually!


  • Finally, be prepared to be confronted – if someone sees you, smile at them. If you have to walk up to them and charm them, then show them the picture you have shot, and apologise if you have to.