Photographing Friends, Bali

Two young boys, very much enjoying a moment of mirth, at a local band practice near Ubud, Bali.

I met these two beautiful boys in a village in Bali. They were dressed up for a celebration in which they participated as members in a traditional band.

Are You Confident Photographing Kids? 

They were buddies and I wanted to record the close nature of their friendship.

Being a child at heart, I have no problem relating to kids. Hopefully that shows in their relaxed and candid response to my jibes.

Roadside Shrine, Bali, Indonesia

About To Travel?


What You Exclude Can Be As Important As What You Include

While I did make photos that focused attention on individual kids within the larger group, this particular photo required a quite different approach.

As the photo at the top of this post was about their relationship I decided to move in nice and close and frame out what would otherwise have been a distracting background.

A group of    young boys    playing up for the camera at a local band practice near    Ubud    in    Bali   .

A group of young boys playing up for the camera at a local band practice near Ubud in Bali.

Good Timing Defines The Moment In time

In the case of the candid group image good timing was required to record the exact moment when gesture and expression came together to produce an interesting result.

Naturally it's essential to get your exposure, focus and composition set before you do or say what's required to obtain the expression you're looking for.

Can you imagine missing such a moment in time simply because you'd elicited the ideal response prior to getting your camera set correctly? Yikes! 

I was really grateful for the few minutes I had with these young lads, during a break in their rehearsals.

As you can see I did my best to make both candid and more formal portraits.

Portrait of a young boy, in local costume, during a break at band practice near Ubud, Bali.

Aim For Variety In The Photos You Make

Adding variety in the way you go about making photos can be a great way to add extra life to your images in a visually dynamic way. Some examples of which include the following:

  • Color and black-and-white

  • Portrait and landscape orientation

  • Telephoto and wide-angle focal lengths

  • Formal, candid and environmental portraits

  • Photographing from your normal eye view as well as from a higher and lower angle of view


Black and white portrait of a young boy in a village near Ubud, Bali.

How I Photographed This Pensive Boy

While not a part of the musical group this young boy made for a great subject. With his permission, and that of an adult guardian, I made a few quick photos.

The exposure details are simple. The image was made, without a tripod, at 1/20 second with an aperture of f/4 and at ISO 400.

I employed a Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS lens at 105 mm, on my then Canon 5D Mark II camera, to isolate the young lad from his surroundings and to draw his face in a flattering manner.

Notice how careful focus and a shallow Depth Of Field has rendered his eyes sharp while blurring his shirt and ears.

When processing the image I decided that a black and white rendering was appropriate. Somehow this quieter result seemed the right choice given the more pensive expression on the child’s face.

Balinese people are wonderful. I’ve found them to be friendly, easy to get along with and very accommodating. But, as a generalization I think it’s fair to say that they’re also quite shy.

It’s just not appropriate to barge your way into a private gathering and start snapping photos. My policy is to be aware of cultural sensitivities and to ask permission prior to photographing people.

Why I Love Travel Photography

One of the things I enjoy most about travel photography is that you never know what opportunities for meeting interesting people and making great photos will appear around the next corner.

That’s exactly what happened on the day I made these photos. I saw this group of young lads, all dressed up in traditional clothing, from the car as I drove into a small village near my base in Ubud, Bali.

It was simply a matter of getting out of the car, introducing myself and asking permission to make the photos. I was back in the car and on the road again within about 5 minutes.

Travel photography is fun and exciting. I really feel alive and that I’m living the life I was meant to live when I’m making photos.

Needless to say it certainly helps, when you’ve travelled so far, to know how to use your camera.

Would you like to get control back from the machine and begin to start making photos that finally begin to realize your creative potential?

If you live in or around Melbourne, Australia and you’d like to catch up for a private 3 hour one-to-one photography course feel free to reach out and I’II tell you what’s involved.