Fun Travel Photography Tip – Group Photos of People You Meet


Group, portrait, teenage, Turkish, Muslim, girls, young, dressed. local, Amazon, smiling, happy, fun, 16 to 18 years, 18 to 20 years, youth, exuberant, excited, dancing, travel, tourism, local, culture, ethnic, portrait, costume, Photographers and Travel Writers, David, Anna Smith, Interface Images, demonstration, photo, Interface Images, Blog, Sinop, Turkey, Amazon, Girls, Sinop, Turkey, 010 Group portrait of teenage Turkish girls dressed in local Amazon costume in a circle while looking down on the camera. Photographers and Travel Writers David and Anna Smith of Interface Images are in the top right hand corner of the image. A demonstration photo of David
Group portrait of teenage Turkish girls dressed in local Amazon costume in a circle while looking down on the camera. Photographers and Travel Writers David and Anna Smith of Interface Images are in the top right hand corner of the image. Location is Sinop, Turkey

Cool Photographer Tip – Dave’s ‘Smile Circle Group’

As a former Vancouver BC based wedding photographer, I created a fun and creative photo technique to capture the bridal party. It became my signature wedding image for all my weddings. I would lie on the dance floor with my camera pointed up, flash on and make sure all of the bridal party were positioned above me looking down and smiling while touching heads. Here are a few examples from my wedding shoots. :






Well I modified this technique to be used in our travel photography adventures so BOTH the photographer and the subjects can be in the shot. This works with BOTH Point and Shoot and SLR cameras and works indoors or outdoors. You can capture up to 10 people with this technique (depends on the camera lens and zoom out setting). Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Set the camera timer to about a 10 second duration. Look for the clock/timer symbol.
  2. Force the flash on to lighten up the faces with the typical strong back lighting from the sky or overhead lights. Look for the lightning bolt symbol or pull up the popup flash (or use an external dedicated strobe flash set at ETL/ATL).
  3. Set the cameras focus method to multiple point or face detection. If left on the default center spot focus setting the camera will not focus on the faces but on the sky or background
  4. Set the lens to the maximum wide angle possible to fit all people in the shot
  5. Remove the lens hood, if any, as the wide angle lens setting will cause a shadow in the lower half of the image created by the light of the popup flash hitting the lens hood
  6. Turn off image stabilization (don’t forget to turn it on afterwards!) to avoid blurring the image when the camera is stable on the ground
  7. Place the camera on the floor/ground pointing up.
  8. Ask your subjects to gather round the camera facing down so their heads form a ring of faces over the camera. Ask them to touch heads. This always invokes laughter and merriment.
  9. Press the shutter button, and if you want to be in the photo yourself, join the ring and encourage the group to smile, laugh, making funny faces, etc. Remember the timer is set to 8 or 10 seconds, don’t have people laugh/giggle until just before the shutter goes.

Notes: By placing the camera on the floor/ground you have an opportunity to get more people in the shot as it us further away from the subjects versus holding the camera while you lie down. 10 seconds later you will have created a memorable photograph. Take several shots to select a best one

Send us your best shots by email using this technique. The best ones will be featured in our next Images newsletter and ALL entries will awarded complimentary access  to both  David’s online Udemy Travel Photography courses

Travel Photography – Amazing Tips and Techniques or Easy Photography Tips for Cruise Ships and Ports


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Life Lessons from a Camera in New York City

A visit to New York’s Times Square always gives us unique photo ops.  Times Square is the World’s stage for just about anyone – promotors, actors performing, buskers and people with a message.  An actor dressed in costume handed out off Broadway play brochures and willing posed for a photo with a leg up.The city has placed  hundreds of red metal chair and tables throughout the pedestrian sections of the square – a great place to sit and  people watch,  awe at the huge electronic billboards or sip a coffee.  We wanted to capture this mood by doing a selfie with the red chairs and signage in the background.  The subject of selfies, photobombs and photo apps was covered here in a recent Blog post.

Selfie: Anna and David in Times Sqaure

Selfie: Anna and David in Times Sqaure

Suddenly  we were  approached by two  mostly naked but wonderfully US patriotic body painted girls who surrounded David to pose for a photo.  “Well if you insist, this is my lucky day!” said David eagerly as he handed a few dollars to the girls.  Anna laughed and happily snapped away.   If you look at the photo carefully (in the background!!!) you can see were also photo bombed by a thumbs-up kind of guy.

Dave with Patriot Girls in Times Square

Dave with Patriot Girls in Times Square

We spotted some mounted New York City policemen, chatted with them and they willing offered to photograph us in front of mounted officers.  Beside the their cool Bronx accents we chuckled as they has had missed us with the patriotic women just a few moments before.

David and Anna with NYC mounted police

David and Anna with NYC mounted police

 Central Park 

Rachael’s Birthday

Have some birthday cake

On another visit to New York, we were offered cake in Central Park. Traveling with your camera helps make friends fast!  We were strolling New York’s vast Central Park at 9am on a sunny October Friday and paused at the majestic Bethesda fountain to savour the view and brisk air.

Anna spotted a young couple sporting a cute little black and white paper bag shouting  “Happy F**king Birthday”  in bold letters.  She asked if she could photograph the bag to add to our “funny signs of the World” collection and they said yes.

“It’s Rachael’s birthday today and she is my best friend” smiled a handsome young man named Allison “ have some birthday cake!”

Anna and David with Rachael in Central Park

From the naughty bag came a partially eaten fancy cake topped with burnt out candles,  and napkins, plastic forks and a knife. We were suddenly gorging on double chocolate with creamy icing.  Yummy!!  We quickly shared taking photos of each other with our cameras while others around us laughed at the impromptu celebration in the park.

We love photographing people we don’t  know, a subject covered in   a recent Blog post.

We learned they are both Brazilian – he from Sao Paulo living in Boston and arrived just an hour ago to spend just a few hours that day with Rachael a native of Salvador de Bahia and living in New York City.   They were clearly not “just friends” but were willing to share their joy with a crazy outgoing couple  at least 35 years their senior. (but act much younger?)

We strolled along and chatted together for while and when they learned we had visited and  loved Salvador de Bahia just a year or so ago they immediately invited us to stay with them on our next trip there and we reciprocated and exchanged email addresses with glee.  The two couples parted ways with big smiles and affectionate hugs and we pondered how this could all happen in just 30 minutes without a camera to create such an instant bond between strangers – another life lesson from a camera.

About the Authors. David and Anna Smith are World travel & fine art photographers, Bloggers, photography and fabric arts workshop leaders, key note speakers and cruise ship guest lecturers, Their world image archive: Interface Images and Celebrate the World fine art gallery.  David has just published a brand new series of online travel and general photography courses, visit their blog Travel Photography Tips & Adventures for more