Selfies with Strangers: Morocco (Part I of Series)

Three Muslim Girls of Touroug, Morocco

Welcome to the first installment of my new blog series, “Selfies with Strangers.” I’m sharing my best tip for taking portraits of locals who may be reluctant or uncomfortable being photographed by a stranger. My advice? Take a picture with them first, in the form of the selfie.

Selfie with Moroccan Muslim Girls

Taking the first shot with the camera turned on myself too is a simple gesture that speaks volumes.

* It means asking permission – something many travelers hesitate to do when photographing strangers. Break the ice, talk to them, share photos on your cellphone or ipad and turn the camera on both of you so they too can see what they look like.  A must to do after the shot, of course. But try starting with it.

Selfie with Berber villager near Skoura

Portrait of Moroccan Berber wearing traditional Djellaba

* It relaxes my subject from striking stiff uncomfortable poses.

Selfie with Moroccan Berber Villager

Portrait of Moroccan Berber of Asni Village in the Atlas Mountains.

The resulting cellphone shot for instant sharing on instagram, twitter or facebook will be impressive – unposed, relaxed, and candid:


* It shows that I am willing to be subject to the same experience of being photographed, and that it is easy and fun.

Selfie with the piano player at Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca

* It releases a more genuine facial expression and smile. It keeps my subject from forcing a fake smile because they think it’s what I want, or they have become used to tourists with cameras telling them to smile. The last thing I ever ask my subject to do is “smile”, if it comes naturally, great, but otherwise I don’t want it.


I just love this selfie I took with my Moroccan guide, Hicham – we’d been working hard for our group and finally had everyone settled and happy and just sat down together for lunch. He’s a fabulous guide, by the way, Morocco’s best, never mind how handsome he is too!

* It shows that I wouldn’t ask of my subject something I’m not willing to do myself. Some cultures believe that a camera takes a part of one’s soul, thus, I too am sharing my soul. This is particularly true in other parts of Africa, which I will share in an upcoming episode of the series.

* It brings us together, regardless of race, religion, or politics – we are all just people sharing the same planet.  We may be strangers, but in the frozen moment of the selfie, we are a family.

Selfies with Strangers: Cuba (Part II)

Morocco Gallery of Images

Made In Morocco
Morocco – A Journey in Pictures (multimedia)
Kids Around the World – Photo Friday, Morocco

This post was contributed to the Instagram Travel Thursday community.  Be sure check out the other #IGTravelThursday features linked below.


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