By Norah Aleisa
Saudi travel photographer Khalid Alrawi shares his experiences.
Did you go to school to study photography?
Yes, I studied photography at the International Islamic University Malaysia.
What drew you to focus on travel photography?
While studying in Malaysia, I found myself gravitating towards photographing people in the streets and at the markets just living their lives. However, it wasn’t until I took a workshop with Saudi photographer Abbas Al Khamees that I discovered the amazing world of travel photography and the skills needed for it.
How do you usually approach people to take a photo?
Some cultures are more open than others where you can simply smile and ask. But for example in Ethiopia, you must approach the head of the tribe first and get their approval. When shooting in developing countries, I personally prefer to compensate individuals who allow me to photograph them as appreciation for graciously giving me their time and effort.
What destination do you find yourself constantly returning to?
India. There’s so much life there and so many places I’ve yet to explore. No travel photographer ever gets enough of India and its wide range of rich cultures.
What destination is next on your list?
Who has been your friendliest subject and why?
The first time I’d been to Nepal, one of the people I came across was a wonderful little girl that I had the pleasure of photographing. Three years later I visited the village again and as we were walking through the village I found her running towards me. She even remembered my name.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
I find it to be a crucial tool to enhancing photographs. It aids in adding depth and creating a more polished look. However, it’s very important not to overdo it. I still want my subjects to look like themselves, their emotions to show through and their surroundings to look raw and authentic.
What advice do you have for those aspiring to become travel photographers?
One tip I had to learn the hard way is: be quick! Always make sure your subject knows that you value their time. So, for example, if you need to use two different lenses, then you should consider having them both ready to use on two different cameras.