Photographing colorful and exotic markets

Markets are hives of activity, customers, traders and tourists all bustling around. Everything is full of life and color, giving you some chances to capture not only the daily live of locals but as well to practice your architectural, portrait, street and food photography in a lively atmosphere. Here are some thoughts which I find helpful!

First and most obvious you should check when the market is open. Weather is another checkpoint ? if you?re choosing an open-air market. It will be far quieter on a rainy day. But even if it's raining, go along. Umbrellas can be good subjects, as are wet dripping stall canopies, drenched shoppers and alike. Just keep in mind to to keep your equipment and yourself protected. You will dry out, your equipment might not.

You don?t need to have any specific gear ? any camera will do, but there are a few things to bear in mind. I found that an ideally lens is about 20-35 mm wide. You can use as well a zoom lens and a portrait lens comes handy once in a while, but as action happens quickly at a market and most of the time everything is rather narrow and stalls are busy and cramped you can get a lot with a wide lens and capture on the fly some unexpected surprises and going in quite close to the action rather than using a long lens you?ll get a much better feel for composition and textures as you?re part of the action as well.

One very important point when photographing in a setting such as a market is to be aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you. A lot of things might be new and exciting, let your attention draw you in, but don?t spend your time only in one place ? keep exploring. Try and capture the essence of the place and the people that occupy it.

Depending on where you are in the world, you may see fruit, vegetables, seafood, flower stalls and so on which makes our job as photographers so much easier. You can go for different patterns to aid your composition, complimentary colors, different shades, tones and a variety of textures come in my mind. Photographic wonderland!

The dream or nightmare can be the light. Most of the time you can?t predict it in advance. The important thing to remember is to be aware of the light around you and try to use it to your advantage. Take your time and observe people; are there certain people with defining features to highlight, or a particular character that it?s worth getting on your image? Keep shooting, but be patient at the same time wait for that little movement or action to bring the shot to life.

Try to be creative ? look out for opportunities to try different techniques, like motion blur in a confined area. Change your viewpoint. Shoot from the ground or from a high vantage point. Even try just your auto settings and hold your camera low down or up high above your head You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Try not to get in anyone?s way. It can be easy to become unaware of what?s going on around you when you?ve got a camera stuck up to your face, so remember that these people are trying to make a living.

Know when to stop! If anyone objects of beeing photographed - just stop. They will have more friends there than you will and you want to get home in one piece.

One thing comes again to my mind which photographers sometimes lack ? be patient. Wait for a shot to happen. Observe your surroundings. Wait and see. Photography isn't simply about recording what's out there, its also about making it happen.

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