Shooting Street Photography in The Dominican Republic

 

Our two and a half months here in the Dominican are almost over. What does that mean? On to our next destination! But not before I show you some travel street photography. I’ve seen lot of streets in the past two months and I just love exploring every new city.

Travel photography by Joris Hermans: Somewhere in the Dominican Republic.

Being able to capture daily life on the streets is one of my favorite things to do as a travel photographer and street photography is an essential part of my photography wherever I go. I already told you how important it is for a travel photographer to shoot street photography so I can’t stress it enough: No matter what style of photographer you are, shoot street photography.

Street Photography in the Dominican Republic

We’ve been staying in Santo Domingo, with Joanna’s parents and it’s the perfect city to shoot some good old street photography. It’s always busy, there’s lots to see and in the evening, the light is more beautiful than ever. If you ever decide to come to the DR, don’t forget your camera!

Santo Domingo.

Santo Domingo.

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I take my camera almost every time we go out, no matter where we go. I always see so many awesome scenes that I could’ve captured when I don’t take my camera that I don’t even think about not taking it anymore.

Here are a few things you should know about shooting street photography in the Dominican Republic…

Street Photography by Joris Hermans.

The People

It’s always busy and you’ll see people everywhere at any time of the day. Usually, they don’t mind being photographed. Just use your most important feature as a (street) photographer: Your smile! It’s one of the best tips I can give you. Don’t just shoot and turn your head and walk away. You’re photographing people so treat them like people. Shoot, smile and make a friendly hand gesture. 99% of the time you’ll get a smile back.

Oh, you can of course also just ask to take someone’s picture but don’t expect a casual and natural pose. You’ll normally get some weird pose or hand gesture when taking the shot.

Street photography with the Caribbean Sea in the Background!

Street photography with the Caribbean Sea in the Background!

Keeping your camera safe

Like in any big city, there are parts to avoid with an expensive camera. We’ve been staying in a nice area so walking around here is no problem but if you find yourself taking photos in Santo Domingo, make sure you know where you are. Especially after dark, I don’t recommend walking around with a camera.

Related • How Safe to Travel is the Dominican Republic? [A Dominican Girl's Perspective]

But there’s a solution, even if you are in an unsafe area: I’ve been shooting a lot from the back of a car. Yup, that’s right. Street photography from the back of a car. Whenever we go out, it’s usually by car because it’s a big ass city and because we’re always with someone else, I don’t have to drive… Well, let’s make it clear: I don’t WANT to drive in the Dominican Republic. Traffic is crazy and super dangerous. There are traffic rules but no one follows them. People only stop for traffic lights when they feel like it and they don’t call some of the small buses ‘Voladoras’ for nothing. You might want to look that up…

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Street photography from the back of a car

So yeah, I’m always sitting comfortably in the back of the car being driven by one of Joanna’s family members. The thing is, there’s one advantage of that crazy traffic. A lot of times, it’s stuck. That means it’s possible to shoot street photography from the car.

Here’s a video of me shooting my medium format camera from the back of a car. Check out my Patreon page if you want to see the full clip:

 

Taking photos from the back of the car in the Dominican Republic.

 

I’ve been taking photos a lot like that and it’s difficult in the beginning but it improves your camera and anticipation skills. Especially with a big and bulky camera like mine. If you do it a lot, you can even set your focus manually before you take a shot. You should really try it sometimes. It also mixes up the look of your shots because of the different angles and approach.

Related • Street Photography with a Digital Medium Format Camera

This proves again that you learn so many things as a travel photographer without even noticing it. Photography is all about practicing and learning from other photographers. Take a lot of photos and look at other people’s work. You will get better…

By the way, do you want to show me your work and talk about it? Join the community on Patreon and get access to behind-the-scenes information about my work and advice and tips on photography… I’d love to hear from you!