Street Photography in Bangkok Chinatown

train station photography session bangkok2

Street Photography in Bangkok’s Chinatown.


Do you enjoy photography? Do you like new experiences? Street photography is very satisfying because you get to combine both every time you go out. Unlike studio photography, there are a lot more variables to contend with. This can be to your advantage if you learn how to deal with the unexpected. In this article I’ll describe a photo experience with a girl whom I never met before in a place where nothing stands still. Let’s go for a photo walk through Bangkok’s Chinatown.

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Meet the model

I met Afiqah online while shopping for a new computer. I saw an ad from a girl looking for a new laptop but what I noticed most was her face and her glasses. Both very beautiful and interesting. I wrote her a message telling her just that and invited her to go for a walk at night with a stranger to take some photos in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Naturally she agreed which in turn made me a little nervous. Fortunately my suspicion was not justfied as a pretty, friendly, smiling girl showed up at our meeting place, the Hua Lampong train station near Chinatown.

Street photography Chinatown Afiqah 3Street photography Chinatown Afiqah 3



Train Station

We started with some shots at the train station to capture the warm light of the setting sun. At 6pm the light in Bangkok is beautiful and soft. After getting some nice shots we headed to Chinatown. By the time we arrived it was evening and we finally located the main street which is a like a neon oasis in the otherwise dark neighborhood.



Do you like Noodles?

If you haven’t been to Bangkok’s Chinatown, it’s the world’s largest Chinatown outside of China which tells you a lot. It’s a busy place. There are shops selling noodles next to shops selling gold next to shops selling noodles. On the sidewalks there are carts selling roasted chestnuts and noodles. Basically if you’re not into night photography or noodles you need to come in the daytime. At night it’s an open air restaurant. People from all over Bangkok travel to Chinatown to eat noodles.

Street photography Chinatown Afiqah 2

Let’s shoot!

Well, Afiqah and I didn’t come for noodles and soon we got to work. Thanks to all the cooking and roasting Chinatown is constantly filled with a haze back-lit by neon making it a photographer’s paradise. We walked around looking for perfect locations to light our model. Since I was shooting with existing light only I looked for a location with a nice bright lights that shine into the street. This generally provides a nice balance with the neon background and in some shots it’s hard to tell it’s a night shot. A nice trick I use is to look at the people coming towards me. When I see someone well lit I stop and put my model there.


Our session finished and satisfied we got a lot of good shots we decided to call it a night. I was very happy with this session and Afiqah did a great job modelling. She’s not a model by profession but you can’t tell from the images. Thank you Afiqah and Chinatown. If you’re into street photography or noodles now you know where to go.

Street photography Chinatown Afiqah 6


Shoot details:

  • Check out the gallery below by clicking on thumbnails.
  • Camera data: Canon 5d, 24-70
  • Most exposure are at ISO 3200, f2.8 and shutter 1/30 to 1/180







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