The Himba People really stands out, they wear little clothing, the women are famous for covering themselves with otijze, a mixture of butter fat and ochre, possibly to protect themselves from the sun. The mixture gives their skins a reddish tinge. This symbolizes earth’s rich red color and the blood that symbolizes life, and is consistent with the Himba ideal of beauty. You can read about the Himba People here.
To photograph people is a skill and it is very much about beeing at the same level as the people and to gain their trust. If you just pop a big camera in their face and treat them like an alien you wont be successful in getting their genuine smile or reactions. For the interested photographer it is good to let the camera rest for a while before you start photographing. You have to show them that you have a genuine interest in what, how and why they do the things that they do. The stories you´ll get explains the images and can be useful to understand the culture and what is most significant for them. I always try to give them some food afterwards to show my appreciation instead of money because then I know what I support.
My first photography tip is to plan your photography session according to the daylight. This makes it much easier to get soft even light, mornings and evenings are preferable. You can use flashes and reflectors and other equipment but that might be mood-changing for the ones you´re about to photograph. Sometimes a small camera and a humble attitude gets the best pictures. Quality of a portrait photo is in my opinion less technical than emotional. A technically perfect photo that doesn´t have any emotions is less interesting than a photo taken with an Iphone with some emotional stuff. I think that´s the reason why some prefer vintage image styles these days, they´re nostalgic and have lots of emotional moments from looking through their old polaroids. It actually makes the image quality worse but the emotional gain is way higher.
Second I try to get close to people, this makes the pictures more intimate when photographing portraits. You can use a wideangle lens to get the landscape in the background and the people up close. Even if you have a telelens, don´t use it. If things are in the way that you doesn´t want to include in the picture I rarely remove them, but I try to recompose the picture. The reason is quite obvious, the people will maybe feel insulted if that thing you remove is their most treasured belonging.
Third thing might be the most important one, keep moving, this is a general advice in photography, the more you move the more varied the pictures will be. By moving I mean move your camera, up and down, sideways and take a quick walk around the scene to choose the angle that you think is best.
These pictures where taken in a small Himba Village situated in Purros in northwestern Namibia.
1. Plan your photography according to the daylight. Mornings and evenings are great for soft even light.
2. Get close, get intimate portraits.
3. Keep moving, discover new camera angles.