How to Take a Photo with No One in it and Other Travel Photography Tips with Keira Mason

Creating stunning images isn’t always as easy as your Insta feed likes to make you believe. It can be even harder when you’re on the road, in a location you don’t know well and fighting for primo positioning with hundreds of tourists, many of whom seem to have the innate ability to walk right in front of the camera as you’re taking your shot.

So how to get that perfect photo? To learn some trade secrets we talked to Australian-born and Bali-based photographer, Keira Mason. Here she tells us all about escaping other people, getting kids to take a brilliant photo, some of her favourite locations on the island and more!

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to live in Bali?

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Living my best Bali life in @halcyondaze_swimwear 🌞✨

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I have always been a creative minded person and love to travel. My husband and I came to Bali for the first time in 2017 on our belated honeymoon and fell in love with the island. We were looking for a challenge and a change from our usual 9-5 jobs, so we got home, saved up, sold everything we owned and moved here 9 months later! I spent the better half of the first year figuring out what I was passionate about and learning everything I could about it. I am now working full-time as a photographer, and for the first time, I absolutely LOVE what I do and have the freedom I always craved.

Your portfolio explores everything from fashion and products to beautiful locations and portraits; what do you love most about what you shoot?

Oh, I love this question! I have such a soft spot for shooting families and couples. My favourite thing about photography is finding and sharing in connection with others. It is so powerful to witness peoples vulnerabilities and raw joy all in one session.

Santai Beach House

What are some great ways to ensure you capture a busy location but no people outside of your subjects?

This can be difficult, especially in Bali, where there are so many iconic locations. Lucky for me, I am a natural morning person because sunrise missions are the best way to avoid crowds and catch that beautiful soft morning light. Another quick tip is patience. Lots of people are all there for the same reason as you so its important to share the space, and if you need to, wait until the crowds have started to leave. I have waited hours to get the perfect shot in a few occasions where I knew it would be worth it, and it was.

Is there any good way to take a selfie?

ABSOLUTELY! You don’t need a fancy camera to get a beautiful snap, and I love reminding people of that! A few things to keep in mind are; make sure your camera lens is clean, always aim for the light to be directed onto your face and not coming from behind, and don’t be afraid to ask others if they would mind taking a picture of you. Most of the time they are looking for someone to take a photo of them too, so you both get to help each other out!

How do you get kids to slow down and sit still for a photo that looks incredible?

Haha, I have so many strategies up my sleeve for this one, but it is usually different for each session. At the beginning of each shoot, I take the time to get to know my clients, including the children. Having a relationship with each person allows for more vulnerability and genuine interactions during our time, so I can usually have a few ways I can keep their attention. But honestly, I love it when children run around; it’s all part of the fun and usually makes for the best photos!

You recently stayed at and shot both Villa Manggala and Santai Beach House. How were your stays, and what did you think were the most photogenic parts of the villas?

I absolutely loved both villas and shooting them was a dream. My favourite spot at Santai Beach House was the back yard and garden. It was so stunning in the morning and evening light! My favourite spot at Villa Manggala was the outdoor walkway from the living space to the front door. It is beautifully manicured and colourful with the blossoming tree. The top Joglo room was also really beautiful for shooting!

Villa Manggala

Do you have a spot in Bali for photography? Are there any locations you haven’t yet shot but want to?

Bali has so many stunning locations it is impossible to choose! However, being a coastal girl at heart, I would have to say I have a soft spot for shooting on any of Bali’s beaches. A place I would love to explore more but haven’t had much of an opportunity yet is anywhere around Uluwatu. There are so many beautiful locations I would love to shoot.

You live in paradise, so what to you is a holiday?

A holiday to me is any time I give myself a few days off! Haha. I love ‘holidaying’ in my home town Canggu or anywhere else in Bali we have the opportunity to explore! One of my favourite places to slow down and refresh is in the north of Bali. It is a whole other world up there with so many amazing places to visit, quiet towns and stunning coastline.

Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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