A group of men posing in Sylhet Bangladesh


When taking photos of people in a dynamic environment (and here I am talking about South East Asia in general), it is very important to try and keep the photo as simple as possible. Capturing something too messy, unless it is composed in a very smart way, will catch the viewer’s attention away from the main subject, and story to be told.


When taking photos in a very busy place, like a busy market, or event, or festival, things can very easily look messy and confusing. People are scattered all over the frame, and do not help direct the attention to a particular subject. Mostly, the problem comes when different people, or subjects, are hiding each other by being juxtaposed. If one person is partly hiding another one, it gives a feeling that the photo was not very well thought, and not taken at the right moment.


These are examples of badly juxtaposed people (taken over the last few weeks while I had this article in mind. Also, taken over my whole photography career, as it is not an easy thing to do to organize people in Asia!). Needless to say, complete failures!







You can tell there was an idea behind the composition, but the fact that the people are “on” each other does not help create simplicity in it. Plus, you would see that it is often a matter of milli seconds to get the right shot. But, as we are now (most of us) using digital, we can afford to “clic clic clic”.


Getting the composition right when shooting a busy scene requires a lot of anticipation and the right timing. It means that there is no time for camera settings (they should be ready, refer to my article about the process to take a photo to know more about it).

Also, and as people tend to move fast, often in an unpredictable way, it is necessary to have a “heavy” finger and take a lot of frames. This will increase the chances of getting it right.

Now, here are some better examples of busy scenes where the different subjects to not hide each other:


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Founder of Pics of Asia, Etienne is a teacher with a photography habit.


  1. Victoria Sheehy on December 20, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks Etienne. Love your free tutorials.

  2. […] tried to compose with several women and the water spraying trying not to juxtapose them. As the sun was half hidden behind the clouds I could get a perfect exposure but I easily […]

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