Photo of the Week: Djallon Girl

On my hike in the Fouta Djallon of Guinea, I was struck by the friendliness of the people I met along the way.  It seemed that each village was ready to welcome us with wide open arms and friendly smiles.  The villages were dominated by children, and most of them were not only willing to pose for photos, but many begged to have their photo taken.  The girl in this photograph came up to me while I was playing with my camera on a bench and sweetly asked if I could take her photo.  She was the absolute perfect subject for a photo, as you can see.

Fouta Djallon Girl

How I Got this Photo

Well, as I mentioned above,  since asking for a photo – which is often the most difficult part of photographing people - wasn’t necessary taking this photo was simple.  The truth is that as much as I would love to take the rest of the credit for the image I can’t.  This was just one of those situations where the conditions were all perfect so I didn’t really have to do anything special.  There was a nice soft light coming through some clouds, a simple backdrop and a beautiful subject.  At this point all you really have to do is choose a focal length that provides the depth of field that you want, focus on the eyes, and keep the camera steady.

I shot this image on a 50mm lens (which on my Canon 60d means an actual focal length of 75mm) so based on the distance I was from the subject I shot the image at f/2.8 in order to separate the subject from the background while still providing a deep enough depth of field that her whole face was in focus.  The shutter speed was 1/160, and the ISO at 100.


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: Brendan van Son is a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. He has visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than he has the desire to count. Check out his profile on . for a little bit more about him.

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1 Comment

  1. Brendan, this photo is great. She appears a little shy, but also meets the camera with pride. Can’t wait to see more!

    -Lauren

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