I chose Marrakech as my photography topic this week. I recently spent 5 days in Marrakech and have so many photos from the red city! I’m still sorting through them all and editing my favourites. Here are some of my favourite photos from my first two days in Marrakech:
Since I was traveling solo in Marrakech, I decided to book a couple of photography workshops with local photographers. The first one is called Learn to See Differently: A creative photo walk in Marrakech by photographers Marc Van Vaek and Veronique Schotte. The second workshop was a Marrakech Photo Experience with photographer Suzanne Porter.
These workshops were fantastic for several reasons:
- Marrakech can be overwhelming and it can be very easy to get lost in the medina! Plus I had heard that local men often harass women traveling solo. So traveling with another photographer or two made this less likely. Plus they also knew where they were going!
- They were able to help me interact with the locals and get pictures in areas I would never have gone on my own. Whether it was portrait sessions with a local charcoal worker, photos in a local bakery, or night photography at the Jemaa el fna night market – I found that I experienced much more of Marrakech with them than I would have on my own.
- People in Marrakech often do not want their photos taken. I imagine it would be frustrating to constantly have your picture taken by tourists without your permission, especially by professional photographers who might make money off of the photos. But the photographers I took the workshops with had established relationships with several locals, which enabled us to get mini portrait sessions with many of them.
- They also explained how to approach locals that you don’t have a relationship with yet to get pictures of them and/or their wares. Greeting them in Arabic and asking for permission to take photos went a long way with many of the locals. While some would not give me permission to take pictures that included their faces, they often allowed me to take pictures of their wares in their shop or their hands while they were creating a product.
- I also learned to tip many people for allowing me to take pictures of them, or to buy something small from their shop as a thank you. Veronique often bought some of the products we were photographing and gave them away to other people she was trying to establish a relationship with for future photography sessions. Suzanne also bought food products in the souks so that I could take pictures of the shops and their towering piles of nuts, olives and other foods.
- The workshops also included great photography tips on composition, camera settings, and metering, etc. I had a major breakthrough with camera metering and learned how to nail the exposure of my shot on the first try when there were areas of the photo that were very bright and areas which were very dark. A big thanks to Veronique and Marc for that 🙂
- The workshops also gave me ideas for various photography themes. I really liked Veronique’s idea of photo collages with one colour which ties the photos together. And Suzanne’s idea of shooting for a travel story was really enjoyable too. It made me pay more attention to what was going on around me, and whether there was something to photograph that would add to a story on leather making, textiles or other travel writing topics that I had chosen.
If you ever have a chance to get to Marrakech, I highly recommend both of those workshops!