If you’ve been hanging around the blog for a while, you might remember THIS post from spring of 2013! Well, today’s post is a follow-up to that one. After spending this past week shooting in DC during one of the most crowded times the city sees all year, I realized there’s a trick I employ during almost every session that I’ve never mentioned before on the blog!
Being a city-lover means I’m used to crowds. With shooting in New York + DC as often as I do, you just have to be comfortable with large groups of people! My palms used to sweat, literally sweat, at the thought of photographing a couple in a location that’s frequently clogged with traffic, but it doesn’t phase me much anymore. Over the past five years I’ve learned a few tricks to take the heat off when my couple wants a location that could be congested with pedestrians. Make sure you check out Part 1 first, since this is a follow-up!
So, here are my secrets to getting those tourist-free shots:
1) Wait. Seriously- that’s the biggest component. Have your camera settings ready, and go ahead and direct your couple where/how to stand, but let them know you’re waiting for tourists to pass so they’re not standing in an intimate embrace for an unspecified amount of time. As soon as the background clears, tell your couple “it’s go time!” and shoot, shoot, shoot!
2) Compose your shot so that the couple’s bodies are blocking tourists/photobombers. Super simple, and all it requires is a bit of shuffling your feet!
This is what it looked like at 6:45am at the Tidal Basin this past weekend. The view from where I stood…
And what was coming and going behind my back.
But THIS was the final product. You’d never know by looking at this image how crowded it was that morning!
Another example of strategic composition. I use this trick all the time in New York!
3) Rise early. If you’re shooting in a location that’s busy 24/7 (like Time Square), it’s not really going to matter what time you get there- it’s perpetually insane over there. But if it’s a place that might be less crazy at sunrise, then shoot at sunrise. That my one condition for cherry blossom shoots- my couple has to be willing to shoot at dawn. I try to schedule my New York City shoots early in the morning as well, but when that’s not possible, I follow steps 1 & 2!
And if all that fails, as Tim Gunn says,
4) Make it work. Make those tourists a part of your story! Sometimes crowds are inevitable, so if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Like this :).
I hope that was helpful! And if you guys have any additional tricks up your sleeve, I want to hear about them!