An Engagement Photo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Portrait at the Botanical Gardens in Kandy

As I wandered through the green expanse of Kandy’s Botanical Garden, I came across this lovely couple out for a shoot with their hired Sri Lankan wedding photographer.

I asked if I could take their picture. They obliged and everyone, including their photographer, seemed happy with the request; their photographer took a picture of me taking a picture of them. My guess is that I am now in their wedding album. The observer being observed. Sounds kind of quantum, doesn’t it?

I am posting this photo for two reasons: I like the composition, the colour, the bamboo background and their expressions and, for those interested in the art of photography, it’s a good example of how to interact with people to get a strong shot.

I was talking to a friend about the how-to of street-portraiture just the other day. First off, for a formal street-portrait like this, you need to be forward enough to ask your intended subject(s) if they would be willing to have their picture taken. Magically, most people say, yes, largely because I think everyone likes the idea of being witnessed. And by asking, somehow you add more importance to the act and consequently people treat the moment with more attention and respect. Another key point is to make solid eye contact when you make the request. Eye contact adds a compelling weight to a request that adds to its sincerity. And voila. Set your camera to the right settings and there you have it. Easy. The world constantly throws up situations like this all the time. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. You just have to get past your fear of asking. If they say, no, fine; no one got hurt. But, really, people rarely say no.

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