How to Photograph in Crowded Places

Living in New York City, there are a lot of beautiful photo opportunities. Like any big city, however, there are also a lot of people trying to take the same photos at those same spots. Locals and tourists alike will flock to iconic spots for just the right shot for their ‘gram or portfolio. So how do you photograph in crowded places and make it look good? I’ve got 6 tips for taking photos in crowded places so your photos (or ‘grams) stand out from the crowd… literally.

Photography in crowded locations

Open Your Aperture

Shooting with a wide open aperture will allow you to drop out a lot of the background noise and focus entirely on your subject. If you’re shooting at aperture 1.4 or 1.8, you can photograph in crowded places with ease. This will turn all of those fellow shooters into blurry background noise, which might even make for an interesting composition.

Compress Your Perspective

The more zoom your lens has, the more compressed your perspective will be. Photographing with a long lens will compress your perspective. This will, in turn, make your background details seem closer and larger. This is a great way to get around photographing in a crowded area. Shooting zoomed in on your subject and compressing the background to seem more prominent in the shot can crop out the noise of a crowded area.

Shoot Upwards

Get low to the ground and shoot your subjects. Taking a lower stance for an upward shot will allow the subjects to stand out a lot more. If there is a bigger crowd behind them, this will drop almost, if not all, of them out of the shot.

Wait for a Lull

When in doubt, wait it out. Wait for a lull in the crowd if you absolutely need to. There may be some gaps in the crowd in more touristy areas which will allow you the opportunity to take your snaps and go.

Find the Nooks and Crannies

Sometimes, even crowded areas might have nooks and crannies. These might be less crowded side streets or beautiful spaces you weren’t expecting to shoot at that aren’t exactly the shot you had in mind. Make the space work for you and keep your shoot moving by keeping an eye out for the nooks and crannies of the area. Your shots might turn out even better than you expected.

Embrace the Crowd

If you can’t beat them, join them. Embrace the crowd when you’re photographing in a crowded place. You can use cool effects to make it work in your image. An idea for this is to use a slower shutter speed and have your subject remain still to create a “stopped in time” effect. You can create some interesting effects when embracing the crowd to photograph in a crowded place.

Photographing in Crowded Places

Got any other tips for photographing in crowded places? Let me know in the comments, or tag me in your posts @meganbreukelman on Instagram. I’d love to see your shots!