Culture Magazine

Travel Portraits – Candid Or Posed?

By Flemmingbo

Different school of thoughts on travel photography and portraits exists. Some feel that a portrait or street scene must be captured candidly and offer natural expressions. Others prefer a more arty approach posing people in the scene, perhaps with controlled lighting, thereby directing and sculpturing the scene. Personally I will happily capture both styles. A good candid portrait or scene can offer a glimpse into the world with a genuineness that a posed image can lack. A posed image with controlled lighting can result in stunning dramatic emotional portraits with a strong artistic expression. It can also be the only way to get a certain style image. Most of my images from Cambodia featuring monks at Angkor are posed and the image could never have been shot candidly. In this example, we placed our friend Purt in a beautiful doorway right in a beam of light. The pose was his own invention. This particular image could never be captured in a candid way. While it is perhaps not a candid glimpse into the everyday life of a monk at Angkor, it is a great expression of the stunning look of a monk at Angkor.


Captured with my guide Nathan Horton and our monk friend and model Purt at Angkor in Cambodia. Purt was a good model, but his fun and cheeky nature meant he loved hamming it up for the camera. He is almost overdoing it here, so I darkened and desaturated the image greatly to change the mood of his beautiful but slightly contrived pose. It is a very posed shot, one that I quite like. What is your opinion on posing a model and this image?

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