5 Tips For Capturing Luang Prabang On Camera
Luang Prabang maybe be a slow-moving town but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to catch on camera. Lazy boat trips down the Mekong, lines of saffron-clad monks and sparkling gold temples – it can be hard to do them justice! Time and practice are needed to capture the unique atmosphere and laid-back pace of this ancient World Heritage Site.
Luckily for you though, the VIF team has come up with a few photography tips to help you make the most of Luang Prabang.
Use contrasting colours
Luang Prabang is full of bright colours. One of the first things you’ll notice, if you’re around at the right time of day, is hundreds of monks dressed in tangerine. On top of that, there’s also plenty of bright green foliage, eye-catching golden temples and mist-covered grey mountains.
One of the best ways to capture these shades is by contrasting them with their surroundings. Framing these bright colours against dark or pale backdrops can really make them pop.
Photo focus: Composition. A vibrant setting can be both a blessing and a challenge. Here at VIF, we teach you how to compose subjects with a colourful background.
Don’t be afraid to go for portraits
Although Luang Prabang is known for its incredible scenery, the town wouldn’t be the same without its cheerful residents. The people of Luang Prabang are friendly and care-free, and have a great sense of humour. That means there’s plenty of beautiful smiles and laughs to be captured.
In general, the locals of Luang Prabang are happy to chat to travellers, share a bit about themselves and pose for a photo. So, don’t be afraid to brush up on your portraiture skills while visiting this famed town.
Photo Focus: Interaction. It’s not just what you do with the camera that creates a great shot, how you interact with your subject can greatly change the portrait you end up with. We help photographers use their people skills to get the best possible portraits.
Picking the right time to shoot can be difficult at the best of times. In Luang Prabang, there are certain times that tourists flock to well-known spots.
You’ll find crowds of people taking to the streets at around 6am to see the local almsgiving tradition. And a few hours later, most of those same tourists will be visiting Kuang Si Waterfalls.
However, picking the right time to visit hot spots can make all the difference. What might have been a shot full of sunburnt shoulders and splashing can become a peaceful, serene shot.
Photo focus: Positioning. Where you stand and when you take a picture is very important – and waiting is a big part of this process. The VIF team will show you how to set your picture up as well as get that all important “decisive moment”.
Get on the water
Luang Prabang is full of rivers and waterways. In fact, the town itself is built at the confluence of the mighty Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers.
Although these are beautiful from a distance, you get an entirely different perspective by hopping in a boat. Not only will you see a side of Laos that others won’t, you can also incorporate reflections and bounced lighting into your photography.
Photo Focus: Creativity. Pairing photography with water not only comes with artistic results, it’s also great fun! Our photography guides show you how to use water in a creative way for both portraits and landscapes.
Don't forget about the small details
Luang Prabang may be full of impressive scenery and landscapes, but the small details shouldn’t be missed. Everything from local Lao cuisine, such as buffalo hot pot, to delicately carved architecture, found on both family homes and temples, is worth a close up.
One of the best places to capture small details is at Luang Prabang’s night market. Pay a visit to the market where you can capture close ups of a variety of colours, textures, art and handicrafts.
Photo Focus: Observation. Capturing small details can be the difference between a nice shot and an amazing shot. We can help you compose these elements using colour, sharpness and form so that your photos reflect a world of their own.