During mini-sessions season, some of the best locations tend to get super crowded. It can be overwhelming to shoot around so many other people. Constantly changing your angle to try to avoid a stranger in the background, removing people in photoshop when they can’t be avoided, it never ends!
I’ve shot at my fair share of crowded locations, and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to make it less stressful and way easier when it comes time to edit.
Whenever you get to your location and see that your spot is taken or is crowded, the first thing you should do is communicate with the other photographers that are shooting there. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out conversation (and shouldn’t be because they probably have clients). But something as simple as, “Can we shoot next to you?” goes a long way!
I always check with the other photographers to make sure I’m not in their shot. If I’m there first and I see another photographer approaching, I’ll offer for them to shoot next to us as long as they aren’t in my shot. Spots are typically big enough to share with at least a couple of shooters!
If there just isn’t enough space to share, ask and see if you can take turns. Now fair warning, not everyone will be kind and considerate. But it’s worth asking! (And please, always be the kind one. Share if someone asks. Community over competition, people!)
If there’s no way to avoid people in the background (like in a wildflower field or a pumpkin patch), you can get a little creative with the way you frame your shot. I do this a lot during my Bluebonnet Minis every year. (I’m a Texas girl, so Bluebonnet minis are huge here.) In a field of bluebonnets it’s almost impossible to shoot straight on without having other photographers in the background. When this happens, I’ll either turn my clients to face a different way so there’s a clear background, or I’ll shoot from a slightly elevated angle so the background is more of the ground and less of the sky and space behind my clients.
Take this shot for example. This photo was shot straight on since no one was in my background:
Then this photo was shot at the same location, but at a much more crowded time of day. To avoid seeing other photographers in the background, I stepped up on my step stool so I could shoot down at them and avoid a lot of the background issues:
Composing your shot differently can save you SO much time editing! Just one little change made a huge difference for this session!
If there’s no way to avoid people in your background now matter what you try, the next step is to shoot so that you’ll have to photoshop as little as possible. This means you’ll have to shoot with the end in mind. If I know there’s a group of people that aren’t moving and I can’t avoid them in my background, I’ll position them in my frame as close to the edges and as far away from my clients as I can. It’s much easier to photoshop people out away from my clients than it is if they were right behind their heads.
It also helps to move farther away from the people in the background. Smaller people that are more blurred from my bokeh are easier to photoshop out than people right behind my clients where I can see every detail.
It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows in the family photography world. Sometimes we run into challenging situations like crowded locations and we have to just roll with the punches. I hope these tips help the next time you find yourself at a crowded spot!
For even more helpful mini-sessions tips and tricks, be sure to watch my free 1-hour online class! Click HERE to watch today!
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