Travel Photography: Laos – Markets

You just can’t go traveling without seeing at least one market. A lot of editorial photography assignments coming to Vietnam and SE Asia have to do with markets and what they sell in them.

In Vientiane , there really wasn’t much of a tourist market, but in Luang Prabang they had a huge night market. As my wife went shopping for gifts for friends and family back home I decided this was a good time to practice my two approaches to tourist sellers.

Tourist sellers or people at a market that get lots of tourists are usually the places assignments will send you. Problem is that most of these vendors are very jaded in having their photo taken. You usually have two ways you can approach market photography, 1) talk to them and make them like you enough to let you do your work. 2) The sneak attack. Wait in a place and take your time waiting for the right moment to lift up your camera to take the 1 or 2 photos before the vendor yells at you.

I prefer number 1 and use it most of the time, but number 2 is sometimes necessary.

Most of the photos below were done using the first approach, but the old woman at in the market looking off into the distance was done using approach number 2.

Either way, after i take a photo I usually show the people and tell them thank you in their local language and shake their hand. If I’m their long enough to print the photos then I usually bring them their photo within a week. Least I can do and it also shows the vendors the difference between tourist photos and a photographer working.

Thanks for looking and for your comments.

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