After spending three weeks in Cuba I share some tips for photographing Havana, the old buildings, the American cars and the people of Cuba!
Cuba Photography DO NOTs:
- Never photo the police in uniform
- Don’t photo all white dressed people
Don’t be rude and stick your camera in people’s faces. You are visiting their home not a zoo.
Cuba Photography DOs:
Strike up a conversation before asking if you may take a photo.
Puebo toma una photo.
If you know a little more Spanish you could strike up a conversation with people and ask if you can see or visit their home. As I said I was invited into multiple homes and I feel it’s pretty special to be treated so generously. Feel free to offer something in exchange.
Another way to make friends is to bring gifts. Stickers for the kids, candy too. Pens are highly valued by the people at the market and is a nice gesture if you spend a few minutes with a camera in their face. And on our McKay trips a few people brought the Insta print cameras and those were a huge hit with the young and the old, it’s very nice to share the images with the people you are capturing.
Watch your step. Holes, poop, slippery marble and more.
SUGGESTED CUBA PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR:
I shot for most of the trip with a full frame camera and a 50mm lens. Great combination.
If I saw an interesting person I would have my camera ready before I asked for permission. You get a more natural look if you are ready to snap the photo right after you ask. The longer you take the less likely you are to get a genuine expression.
Wide angle lenses can be fun with all of the curves of the car. Crop: Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
Telephoto for sneakier street photography – Suggested 70-200 F/4
Locations for shooting.
There is no shortage of photo ops in Havana no matter where you explore but for the most authentic Havana experience I would stay near Central Park
Prado Ave Also listed on maps as Paseo de Marti separates central Havana from the old city. Fantastic photo opportunities on the broad Ave and central park has a great collection of old American cars for hire and photography. If you want the less shiny American cars, just head down any back street, they really are everywhere.
Wander a few blocks left or right off Prado and you will quickly find the colors, the crumbling walls and more to photograph, really you even get that on Prado though they are trying to restore the buildings along the Avenue.
Another morning walk with local Havana photographers. These opportunities are awesome, we wander the back streets of Havana into homes, Barber shops and markets exploring, smiling and saying Hola, gracias and un poquito Español 🙂 Captured with the #Sony #A7RII and #sigma50 #gxrealitytours @globalexchange
Fountain square, Cathedral square and arms square give you a taste of restored and historic Havana. Obispo Avenue is a car free Avenue that runs from arms square to central park. This is a more touristy stretch but offers lots to see and places to eat. Again I encourage you to venture off onto the side streets, I did this day and night and felt safe at all times.
Sunrise and sunset from Malecón, Havana, Cuba(sea wall) and the fort is great for sunset and city skyline plus the Cannon shot ceremony at 9pm every night. You pay to get in but consider paying 1 cuc more to get up on the roof which comes with a free drink, best view of the ceremony and a good view of the city. If you only want the city view stay down below on the fort walls.
Marti theater, across from Central Park is lit beautifully at night. And the capital currently being restored will be beautiful.
It will be interesting to see what happens to Cuba and especially havana over the next few years as tourism increases. McKay Photography is making plans to return, Email David Here I’m interested in Cuba next year!
Want to travel with me to some place other than Cuba? Maybe Croatia? Vietname? Iceland? More information and more locations listed at Photorec.tv/Travel.
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