3) Tell a story through objects
On a shoot in Todos Santos, Mexico, I discovered a colorful game called Loteria,which is Mexican Bingo. I knew I wanted to use that in a photo so, at lunch one day, I fell in love with the surface of the table where we were eating and added my room key, Polaroids I had snapped, and a margarita—capturing the feeling of Mexico in a less expected way.
Portraits of local people can often tell more about a place than a landscape. It’s so important to be respectful and take the time to make your subject relax before taking a photo. Once, when shooting in a monastery in Cambodia, I met a monk I wanted to photograph, but did not feel it respectful or professional to just rush up and ask him for a shot. I decided to spend some time there first; I removed my shoes, received a water blessing, and gave an offering before asking the monk if he would mind if I took his photo. His face and compassionate eyes told of a deep and complicated history of life in Cambodia. The people of Belize are incredibly warm and friendly. After shooting a sailing trip through the islands there I gathered our captains for this photo, who were very proud to show the lobsters they had just speared. I’m glad I waited until a few days into our trip to do their portrait, because by then we had a nice rapport.