We’ve all been there! You’re about to shoot an engagement session downtown on a beautiful Friday evening… only to find out you’re not the only one who decided today was a great day to go downtown! The good news is, it’s ok!! You can still have your session and it turn out wonderful!
First, check to be sure there aren’t any big events that evening, and avoid shooting in busier spots on weekends! That’s one reason I love having engagement sessions on weekday evenings instead! But sometimes you can’t avoid the crowd even on a weekday, or a weekend might be the only time that works for your couples. Here’s a few tips to avoid those large crowds showing up in your photos!
- Shoot in an area where people can’t get to the background. This sounds really simple, but if there’s a large plot of grass before a lake, shoot really close to the lake so no one can be between you and your couple, or between your couple and the lake! Or if there’s a pretty wall like at the Biltmore, shooting closer to the wall will allow for less people to walk in front of you! Here’s a couple examples: With Emily & Jordan, if I had shot down the battery there would have been people walking in the background! So instead we shot with the water in the back for this shot!
- Shoot with a wide aperture. I normally am shooting around f/2.8-4 with couples! And using a longer lens will even help more! This way, even if people are way back there, they won’t be clear! In both the shots below, having people in the back was unavoidable. But because they were so far back and out of focus, they don’t take away from the couples at all!
- Be patient! Sometimes you have to wait out people passing you every now and then. And that’s ok! Thankfully I live in the south where people are pretty considerate to notice and move by quick, or wait for me to finish! But every now and then the waiting game takes a little longer. Just be ready to snap quickly and pose your couple ahead of time so you can get the shots quick once there’s an opening! If I’m shooting in a street and we’re waiting for that short block of time to run out, get the photo, and run back, I’ll tell them before even stepping into the street what pose we’re doing so we can get it done quick during that specific window we patiently waited for!
- Have multiple spots in mind that are away from people just standing around. If you’re shooting at the Biltmore Estate, you don’t have to shoot the entire session on the front lawn! Why? Everyone else is there too! There’s great spots up against the house, or in the lines of trees around that people don’t normally hang out and busses aren’t passing! Same goes for any other busy place you may be shooting! When I’m shooting in downtown Greenville, I’m rarely going onto the big bridge! If a couple requests it that’s no problem and I do it, but I like going to other spots around where other people aren’t just hanging out at! The one on the left is in the line of trees at Biltmore, and the one on the right is a little area off of Rainbow Row in Charleston we had all to ourselves!This one is by a wall at Biltmore!
Liz and Vince were in downtown Boston, and we managed to find this great spot where we’d only have to wait for a few people to pass every now and then!
- Shoot tight if the crowd is simply unavoidable at a certain time! Get some wide ones when you can using the tips above, but if you’re waiting for people to walk by, maybe focus on getting some tight ones that don’t require an empty background!
I hope this was helpful for your next session where it might be a little crowded!! As always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!