Mongolia- The Shamans

If you read my last email, you saw how much we did and photographed on our first day.  Also part of our first day was a very special surprise that our guide and good friend Oso from Nomadic Tours Asia was able to set up exclusively for us. 

Not only was this opportunity very special for us, but the Shamans themselves had never been photographed professionally and had never seen themselves in their own traditional dress like this. 

As we started the session, it was very much just a bit of trying to figure out what would work and what was appropriate for us to ask of them. At first, we started with just some simple posing as below. 

As we each grew more comfortable with the situation, I directed our new Shaman friends to start posing as if they were doing a traditional chant and prayer. 

Photo Tip – Brave the Elements

As we gathered to photograph, it became cold, a bit wet, and dreary. It is difficult sometimes to encourage our clients in these conditions that it can make for striking images! 

In these images, because the sky was dark and ominous, it created the perfect drama for story-telling elements.  As we photographed, I had to keep letting our clients know that there was much more light on hand than they realized and to keep with it and shooting! 

Below is the original image prior to editing. It doesn’t take much with today’s powerful software to “work” an image. 


Photo Tip – Get a different Perspective

In this image, I used a wide-angle (15mm) lens. I asked the Shaman to lean over towards me.  I am only about 2 feet from them here. In doing so, the perspective is not actually correct. They appear larger but that creates a powerful statement. Looking up at them also creates a very different perspective than some of the other images. 

When photographing, I am always trying to do something that will create more impact. By giving the viewer a different perspective, the impact of an image can be powerfully changed.  

After we were all comfortable, I asked the Shaman if they would go into their prayers and chants. I found out later that they did ask their ancestral spirits to take over and none of what you see next was “performed”.