Blog Gallery: People Of Ethiopia - May 2020

In January 2018 I took my first ever photography workshop and travelled to Ethiopia with the amazing Bryan Peterson along with a small group of students. We travelled through the Omo River Valley, in the south of the country, primarily photographing the incredible people of Ethiopia. I was able to learn a lot about photography and see another awesome part of the world at the same time! If you like portrait photography and images of African tribes, read on.


Note my favorite images are for sale as luxury fine art prints (sublimated aluminum metal and Lumachrome acrylic wall art) in my online photography gallery that you can access here.

You can also purchase directly from this page by clicking the 'Prints Available' link under the available images.


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa, roadside market, locals, background, African market, photo

african market

Heading south from Addis Ababa, we stopped at a roadside market to mingle with the locals. Lots of people of Ethiopia, especially kids, ask you to take their picture. I obliged these guys and got the market in the background.

man, Ethiopia, Africa, Arba Minch, market, Ethiopian flag, colors, Ethiopian man, photo

Ethiopian man

Ethiopian man at the market. He was using a scarf in the colors of the Ethiopian flag to protect himself from the hot sun.

Ethiopia, Africa, sunrise, sunset, Paradise Lodge Hotel, landscape, starburst, mountain, Arba Minch, mountain sunrise, photo

mountain sunrise

My first sunrise picture from Ethiopia and what a scene from the Paradise Lodge Hotel in Arba Minch! The view of the mountain landscape was amazing, and I was able to capture the starburst just as the sun peaked over the mountain.

Lake Chamo, Arba Minch, Ethiopia, Africa, fishing, boat tour, Ethiopian boys, photo

Ethiopia Boys

We took a boat tour of Lake Chamo, near Arba Minch to look for hippos and crocs. However, some of the locals showed up looking for fish! These young Ethiopian men were looking for some fresh fish!

fisherman, Lake Chamo, Ethiopia,  Africa, point of view, big sky, negative space, landscape photography, Ethiopia man, photo

Ethiopia Boat Man

Another Ethiopian man fishing on Lake Chamo. I used a low point of view to get a big sky, creating a negative space. This can work well in landscape and other types of photography.

Ethiopia, Africa, beautiful girl, Arba Minch, store, small shops, Ethiopian girl, photo

Ethiopia Girl in Shop

The starting point of our trip through the south of Ethiopia was a town called Arba Minch. It is a decent sized city with quite a few restaurants and small shops. This beautiful Ethiopian girl was kind enough to let me take her picture inside her small store.

Africa, Ethiopia, road, landscape, Ethiopian landscape, photo

Ethiopia Landscape

Snapshot of one of the cars in our caravan driving down the road with the Ethiopian landscape in the background.

Ethiopia, Africa, donkey, village, landscape, photo

Ethiopia Donkey

There are a tremendous number of donkeys in Ethiopia. The people use them for all kinds of activities like pulling carts and carrying water. This is a typical Ethiopian roadside landscape scene.

Dorze, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa, woman, picture, Dorze woman, photo

Dorze Woman

We visited one tribe, called the Dorze, that live in the highlands in the south of the country. This Ethiopian woman had a kind face and allowed me to take her picture. They did a song and dance number to entertain the tourists.

woman, Ethiopia, Africa, yellow scarf, Ethiopia woman, photo

Ethiopia Woman Yellow Scarf

At another roadside stop I found this Ethiopian woman with her yellow scarf. Colors can make or break a photograph.

small town, road, picture opportunities smiling woman, Ethiopia, Africa, red door, clean background, portrait photography, photography tip, Ethiopia woman, smiling woman, photo

Ethiopia Woman on Red

We stopped for lunch at a small town along the road. After eating, we walked around looking for picture opportunities. I found this smiling Ethiopian woman and asked her to move in front of the red door to get a clean background. Photography tip - background is critical for portrait photography.

small town, southern Ethiopia, Africa, girl, doorway, red shirt, color, creating images, Ethiopian girl, photography tip, compelling images, photo

Ethiopia girl and door

In the same town, I saw this Ethiopian girl stepping out of her house. I asked her if I could take her picture, then recreated the moment I first saw her stepping out of the doorway. The red shirt was a nice touch. Photography tip - color is important to creating compelling images.

Mursi tribe, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia, Africa, woman, rifle, baby, breastfeeding, Ethiopian woman, photo

Ethiopian woman breastfeeding

Next we travelled to spend a day visiting one village of the Mursi Tribe in the Omo River Valley. This Ethiopian woman had a rifle and a baby that was breastfeeding, which I found to be great imagery for how women have to nurture and protect at the same time, being both soft and fierce.

mursi tribe, omg river valley, Ethiopia, Africa, woman, lip plate, photographers, tourists, village, Ethiopian woman, photo

Ethiopian woman lip plate

Another Ethiopian woman from the Mursi tribe. This one was wearing the famous lip plate, which is part of what attracts tourists and photographers from all over the world to their tiny village.

man, mursi tribe, omo river valley, Ethiopia, Africa, costumes, Mursi man, photo

Mursi Man

Although the women have the most interesting costumes, the Ethiopian men can also dress up. Here is one man from the Mursi tribe.

Omo River, Ethiopia, Africa, camping, Karo tribe, boy, flips, point of view, wide angle lens, lens choice, shutter speed, photography tip, photo

Omo River Jump

From the Mursi tribe, we made our way down to the Omo River and spent three days camping with the Karo tribe. The local boys enjoyed entertaining us by doing flips on the sand near the river. Here, using a low point of view, high shutter speed, and wide angle lens, it looks like this boy will flip into the river! Photography tip - lens choice is critical for creating compelling images.

early morning, Karo tribe, boy, tree, Omo River, Ethiopia, Africa, ambient light, camera, flash, drama, image, boy in tree, photography tip, photo

Boy in Tree

This is an early morning shot of a Karo tribe boy in a tree next to the Omo River. Photography tip - stopping down the ambient light on the camera and using the flash adds drama to the image.

schoolhouse, Karo tribe, Omg River, Ethiopia, Africa, girl, painted face, village, Ethiopia girl, photo

Ethiopia Girl Schoolhouse

We visited the schoolhouse of the Karo tribe. This young Ethiopian girl had painted her face for the tourists, and she enjoyed walking us around through her village. Most tourists only stay 1 hour, but we stayed 3 days, so we got to know them and their village better than most.

woman, Karo tribe, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia, Africa, green eyes, background, image, portrait photography, photography tip, photo

Ethiopia Green Eyes

I was drawn to this Karo woman because of her green eyes and used a distant green tree in the background to help put the image together.

Ethiopia, Africa, Omo River Valley, Karo tribe, silhouette, sunset picture, photo

Ethiopia Sunset Picture

This sunset picture with a silhouette was taken of some Karo tribe members next to the banks of the Omo River. I was on the ground to get this point of view. We camped with this tribe for 2 nights in order to spend more time with them. Sunset pictures with silhouettes are some of my favorite!

shop keeper, portrait, Turmi, Ethiopia, Africa , Ethiopian man, photo

Ethiopia Man in store

This shop keeper, an Ethiopian man named Prince, was very friendly. I bought a cold drink and sat with him in the shade to avoid the hot sun. He let me take his portrait inside his store. This was taken in Turmi.

Key Afer, Ethiopia, Africa, barbershop, barber, portrait, sense of place, National Geographic, Ethiopian man, photo

Ethiopian Man in Barbershop

While walking around the small town of Key Afer, we came upon this small barbershop. The barber, a young Ethiopian man, was relaxing waiting for customers and allowed us to take his portrait inside his workplace. Taking a portrait like this gives a sense of place and is the technique used frequently by National Geographic photographers.

bush, camp, Hamer tribe, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia, Africa, boy, sunset, sunrise, silhouette, colors, sunset picture, Ethiopian boy, photo

Hamer Sunset Picture

We once again went into the bush to camp with a local tribe, this time with the Hamer in the Omo River Valley. Here a lone Ethiopian boy watches the sunset. I love capturing the colors of sunset and sunrise with objects silhouetted in front. This type of sunset picture really stands out, in my opinion.

girl, dilapidated schoolhouse, Hamer village, camping, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia, Africa, village children, room, Ethiopian girl, photo

Ethiopian girl schoolhouse 2

Here a young Ethiopian girl poses inside a dilapidated schoolhouse in the Hamer village where we camped for 3 nights. The village children learned their basics in this room. Note there is no wall where I am standing.

beautiful women, Ethiopia, Africa, Hamer tribe, Hamer village, Vogue Magazine, model, Ethiopian woman, photo

Ethiopian woman

There were many beautiful women in Ethiopia, especially among the Hamer tribe. We joked that this one Ethiopian women could easily be on the cover of Vogue magazine. Where you are born plays a tremendous role in how your life develops. This was taken in a Hamer village in the Omo River Valley.

hamer men, hair, Jimi Hendrix, makeshift studio, schoolhouse, black background, flash, amber gel, portrait, equipment, Ethiopian man, photo

Ethiopian man hair

The Hamer men often braid their hair in cornrows. This Ethiopian man had undone his hair and left it out. We instantly grabbed him and brought him into our makeshift studio set up in the schoolhouse, nicknaming him Jimi Hendrix. With a black background (someone's sweater), and a flash with an amber gel behind, we took some amazing portraits. There is also a flash on a stand next to the camera. It is amazing what you can do in the bush without a lot of fancy equipment!

old man, Hamer village, cataracts, unusual eyes, portrait, makeshift studio, schoolhouse, omo river valley, Ethiopia, Africa, Ethiopian man, photo

old Ethiopian man

This old Ethiopian man in the Hamer village had cataracts, which gives him unusual eyes for a portrait. This was taken in our makeshift studio in the schoolhouse.

Hamer tribe, wooden fences, girl, portrait, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia, Africa, Ethiopian girl, photo

Ethiopian girl on fence

The Hamer build wooden fences around their houses to corral their goats at night. This young Ethiopian girl posed for us on the fence, which made for a nice portrait.

image, sunset, Omo River Valley, Ethiopia, sky, color, silhouette image, calming, luxury fine art, sunset picture, photo

Ethiopia sunset picture

This sunset picture was taken just after sunset from our hotel in the Omo River Valley, Ethiopia. The sky is often the best just after the sun sets, showing all the color without the bright orange ball in the middle. This type of silhouette image is calming.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa, colorful, Muslim, village, road, painted houses, bright colors, red, blue, impactful portrait, Ethiopian girl, photography tip, photo

muslim Ethiopian girl

On the way back to Addis Ababa, we stopped at a colorful muslim village next to the road. The houses were all painted, and the people, like this Ethiopian girl, wore bright colors. The red scarf and the blue wall make this portrait more impactful, which is why keeping your eyes open for color is an important photography tip.

woman, muslim, village, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa, shadow, black background, shadow pocket, portrait, focus, subject, Ethiopian woman, photography tip, photo

Ethiopian woman green

Another Ethiopian woman at the muslim village. This one stood in the entrance to her house, so that the shadow of the inside turned to black in the image. Photography tip - finding a black background, including shadow pockets like this, is a great way to make a portrait where the focus is fully on the subject.

Habesha woman, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa, dress, hair, coffee, picture, Ethiopian woman, photo

Ethiopia woman Addis

This is a typical Ethiopian Habesha woman in Addis Ababa. Note she is dressed differently and has her hair different from the tribes in the south. This woman was selling coffee, and I had a small cup before asking to take her picture.

Thanks for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed the photos of the people of Ethiopia, including many remote tribes.


Note my favorite images are for sale as fine art luxury prints (sublimated aluminum metal and Lumachrome acrylic wall art) in my online photography gallery that you can access here.

You can also purchase directly from this page by clicking the 'Prints Available' link under the available images.


Posted in Travel, Africa, People.

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