Crowded tourist locations can be the death of a photographer. Too many people, lots of visual distractions and cheap tacky gift stores can ruin what would have been an outstanding photo. If you are looking to grab some great a grat photo in a crowded tourist spot here are my 5 tips.
Isolate Something Interesting
Frame a subject tight and keep the rest of the distractions out of your image. If you are a landscape photographer this can be a challenge when zoom lenses are not your favorite. Stick with it. You’ll get more comfortable framing tight after you’ve got a couple of shutter clicks under your belt.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been walking around where I find the perfect angle but something is wrong. There is a tourist bus in the frame or maybe an abnoxious tour guide with an umbrella. I usually get mad, but then I get zen. Chill out. If you have time wait it out, wait. While it may seem like forever even in busy spots if you just wait 5 or 10 minutes the scene will change and you’ll get something closer to what you had in mind.
Look for the Locals
There it is again, another Hardrock Cafe Paris T-Shirt in your frame. Did you really need that? No of course not. Get out of the tourist spot and look for the locals. Look for people dressed like locals and acting like a locals. It might be a street vendor, or someone by a church, or look for park benches in a European city. Find the person that fits in and test out our street photography skills.
Know the Tourist Schedules
If you are going to a hot bed for cruise ships or tourist bus stops study their schedules ahead of time. Know what time the cruise ship tours come and go. The same goes for big city bus tours that might go to that interesting little place you’ve decided to explore. If you know when the crowds come and go you can plan to focus on photographer just before they come, or after they clear out. Us the busy time of the day to explore the area and find the angles you’ll want to capture later.
Stay Off The Main Street
When you feel like you’ve past the same T-Shirt shop 3 times, you probably have. This is the sure sign that you’re in the tourist district. Plan an escape route and get off the main street. Cut down a side street, find a quiet lane, look for areas that look like homes where the locals live. Wander around and explore. you might find something interesting.