Talented Australian photographer Alex Schoelcher spent time photographing Sri Lanka in 2015, taking pictures for his World Portrait Archive project. Here, he shares six tips for fellow photographers planning a trip to the island. NB You can follow Alex on his travels on Instagram…
Photo by Alex Schoelcher
1. Learn how to say ‘hello’
‘Ayubowan!’ Sri Lankans are naturally incredibly friendly, but a simple smile and ‘hello’ can make all the difference in the world!
Photos by Alex Schoelcher
2. Ask first
Sri Lanka is made up of a wide variety of belief systems and creeds, each with its own set of rules and customs. Whether someone is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or something else, the safe approach with photographing locals is to ask first.
3. Stay hydrated
Sri Lanka is hot. Very hot. However, because it’s an island nation, the cool coastal winds can sometimes make you forget that you might not be as hydrated as you think. Be smart and drink a lot of water.
4. Be curious
Sometimes, just a quick look down an alleyway, or a glance into what appears to be an empty restaurant or café can take you into a whole new world. Just make sure you don’t barge into someone’s living room!
5. Keep your gear safe
Although by global standards, Sri Lanka is a very safe place, many people live below the poverty line. Try to be discreet with your camera gear and, wherever possible, keep it on your person, preferably with a strap.
6. Get up early
The Sri Lankan sun can really beat down from about 10am–11am onwards, and the harshness of the light can make it incredibly difficult to get a well-exposed shot.