How to Take Pictures in Crowded Places: 5 Fail-Safe Tips

Find out how to take pictures in crowded places and make them look good with these actionable tips to improve your travel photography game for once and all.

Do you remember what the Leaning Tower of Pisa really looks like? Chances are that you don’t because, whenever you try to picture it in your mind, you only see this remarkable monument with tons of people futilely trying to keep it from collapsing. 

Hit too close to home? Well, that’s what you get when you attempt to shoot images of a popular landmark – you will most likely not be alone in your pursuit. Hordes of people will be over-crowding the place preventing you from taking your dream shot. 

Granted, the current state of the world presents bigger problems than over-populated tourist attractions. But we still have our hopes high and firmly believe that one day the pandemic nightmare will be over and that we will crawl out of our foxholes to enjoy the world and its natural or architectural wonders. Which means that you’ll still face the problem of trying to take a picture in an overcrowded place. 

Let’s take this forced travel time-out to learn a few tricks on how to take awesome pictures at popular and busy tourist destinations. Shall we?

The Early Bird Gets the Perfect Shot

One of the best tips to make a great shot of a popular tourist attraction is to beat everyone else to it. Although this advice might not sound that appealing at first – getting up early requires serious commitment – but the result is absolutely worth it. First of all, the landmark is likely to be deserted at an early hour. 

There might be a few other brave and sleep-deprived folks, but you won’t have trouble taking pictures around them. 

Besides, nothing can beat the advantages of the morning light. Just imagine the Duomo of Milan bathing in the translucent morning light or think of the timid sun peeking from behind the walls of Angkor Wat and you’ll understand the beauty of morning pictures.

Alternatively, go late in the evening. Just think about it. The lighting will be subtle. You are most likely to encounter fewer people and enjoy the added benefit of having warm street lights illuminate the monuments and buildings. And should we mention the heart-achingly gorgeous sunsets? Even if the sky is not what you are here for, snap the picture – there is nothing more magnificent than the raw beauty of nature.  

Play with Angles and Techniques

Well, there surely might come a time when there is nothing you can do about the people popping in and out of your frame. It’s not their fault, they are regular tourists just like you. They are here to look at the gorgeous St.Mark’s Basilica or Eiffel Tower. Well, look at it go all the way up. Here’s an idea – point your camera upwards! 

Capture buildings from the angle they were designed to be viewed. This way you’ll avoid clichés and people getting in the shot and capture the magnificent building in all its glory and meticulous details. 

And speaking of details. Step away from photographing something grand and direct your attention to smaller things. Take close-ups of anything – fruits and spices at a market, meals from street vendors, intricate decorations of a temple or a cathedral. These little things have a lot more to say than you think. 

Use Crowds to Your Advantage

If you can’t beat them – no, don’t join them, but make good use of them. Turn people crowding your frames from eyesores into full-blown models. The first thing you can do is to simply incorporate people into your shots

Take pictures of gleeful tourists roaming the narrow streets of Istanbul. 

Capture the raw energy of the Rambla through the faces of people who are lucky to walk it. 

Let the flow of people into your frame to show how alive and dynamic the environment is. 

Add a bit of magic to your densely populated photos with a creative use of your camera. Play with different shutter speeds to create motion blur. Experiment with depth of field, try the zoom-burst technique or mess with perspective – random people in your pictures will no longer be an eyesore.

Get off the Beaten Path

Even if the town or country you are visiting is well known, there are definitely some places that are relatively little known. So take your time when researching your dream destination and look for less explored places. They are likely to harbour a lot fewer tourists. 

Does India seem too cliche? Then there is Sri Lanka for you. 

Do people overflow Croatia? Then try nearby Montenegro

Does everyone go to Marrakech, Morocco? Opt for visiting Agadir:

After all, you might become the one who exposes a little piece of tourist heaven to others through your stunning pics! 

There are so many underrated destinations you can take perfect pictures at. All you need to do is to research. The Internet, word of mouth, advice from locals – use whatever information you receive to plan your route. 

Just remember – if the destination is less popular with tourists, it doesn’t mean that it can’t hold a candle to more famous destinations. You never know what gem you can find in a totally new place. 

Out of Frame – Out of Mind

Now you see that there are ways to either avoid people getting in the shot or to artistically make them part of your picture. These ways certainly require quite a lot of self-control, creative vision, and planning, but the results are worth the hassle. Still, if everything fails and you still end up with pesky photobombers, there is always a last resort: post-processing. 

Yes, that’s right. You can always cut unwanted people out of your pics with photo editors. And don’t worry, there is no need to use overly complicated and insanely expensive software. Instead, direct your attention to more affordable and easy-to-master programs.

For instance, try PhotoWorks, an intelligent photo editor that can delete random people or distracting objects in just a few clicks thanks to smart enhancement tools. And your options aren’t limited to mere cropping the frame. You can use PhotoWorks to get rid of the crowds in your images by erasing them or by changing the background altogether. Learn how to remove people from photographs to save your precious shots.

After all, with or without people on them, pictures will always be the best and brightest reminder of your journeys!