There are many tips and tricks that I share to my travelers in my photo tours and workshops, but in this article I will summarize what I consider to be the most important in order to enjoy a photographic journey through Cuba and to return home with great photographs.
1.- Try not to use lenses larger than 50 mm, so you are forced to get closer and feel the action closer to you, plus the camera will not be so heavy for you to enjoy more hours with it on your shoulder.
2.- Do not hide behind a camera, sunglasses, or a hat. My students sometimes forget to put themselves in the shoes of the people we photograph; it is impossible to get people to appear relaxed when we hide behind a large camera, or if we wear sunglasses and a hat. People need to see other people's eyes in order to identify and come to know them, besides, our smile is almost as important as a good photographic lens.
3.- Use some sort of semiautomatic feature on your camera and do not turn it off until you get home at the end of the day. You never know when an opportunity may arise to photograph something beautiful, magical, unique, etc.
4.- "Dance" around what you are interested in shooting, move, look for different views and especially risk a little. Think of the picture that anyone would take and try to reach beyond that and discover new perspectives of your photographic look that you might show a new line of work.
5.- Tells a simple story every day and a great finale at the end of your trip.
Choose each day a minimum of 3 pictures that are related to each other and to tell a story, taken consciously or not, but in my workshops, I give more importance to the story than the photo.
Great photographers have great stories and almost anyone can take a great photograph.
Photos of the first american cruise in Cuba (after more than 50 years)
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6.- Search for spontaneity in your photographs, if someone posed for your picture, and you feel that the picture seems artificial, go back 5 seconds after saying goodbye and take the photo again when he/she has already forgotten about you.
7.- Make portraits with neutral backgrounds.
Sometimes the photographic excitement at the prospect of a good portrait prevents us from focusing on the portrait, composed not only by the individual but also by the background.
If you find a person who strikes you to make a good portrait, quickly find a good background with good light and ask him/her to help you make a good portrait.
8.- Do not look at the screen of your camera every minute, with digital photography results are immediate and now almost everyone wants to review his/her photos immediately. It is best not to do so and stay focused on your photography, the composition, in the magic of the moment.
Sometimes, I block my traveler's camera's screens for a special purpose. During the first few minutes, they feel uncomfortable but after that, their concentration, as well as the quality of their photographs, improve.
9.- Keep your camera always active; it is best to take 3 batteries to keep your camera active than to lose a great photograph.
10.- Distinguish between a photographic moment from a tourist attraction. Sometimes I notice that my students are in "tourist mode," that does not matter. Cuba is wonderful and you need to enjoy it, have fun, make videos, etc.. I like to say that what matters is to know whether we are in Photo mode or tourism mode and enjoy any of them without complexes