Do you ever wonder how photographers get those amazing shots with no one in the picture? Of course, some of them pay for private time to get their iconic shot and some places cater to this desire. But most of us can’t afford this type of access every time we travel. So how can you capture the image you want without a crowd of tourists in your album?
The first solution is timing. Arrive at your desired shot early in the morning before most of the tourists are stirring. You will still encounter the random person or even other photographers, but they are more likely to be polite and allow you to get your shot for the same courtesy in return. Or the opposite, get there as late as possible and hope that the crowds have died down or you can be the last inside. The iconic shot of Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia (above) was taken just after sunrise before the crowds arrived.
Of course, this assumes that the image you desire can be shot first thing in the morning or late in the day. If this doesn’t work, then we recommend that you arrive at the optimum shooting time and focus on details. Most iconic images have features that make them special and by honing into these features, you can create a very unique and special memory from that site. It takes more imagination at times, but it also helps you hone your skills as you find the right angle, depth of field and image to represent your desired picture. The photos below are some more detailed views of the areas around Forsyth Park that Barry captured as it got later in the morning and the park began to get busy.
Lastly, and with much more time and effort, you can either remove the people in Lightroom or use a long exposure that essentially removes anyone moving from your image. David photographed St. Mark’s Square in Venice with a Neutral Density filter and a 30-second exposure. This allowed many of the people that were moving about the square to become a little blurry and some don’t show up at all. If you have to do a photo during a less than optimal time, you might consider this technique to help create a “places without people” shot.
We will be using all these techniques on our upcoming Savannah workshop, including gaining special private access to the famous Bonaventure Cemetery.