Excuse me, you’re in my shot
Last month I finally got to visit and photograph one of the most famous monuments in the world, excluding Kim Kardashian’s butt of course. The monument I’m talking about is The Taj Mahal, India.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many of the most iconic monuments in the world and The Taj is definitely worth the trip. I was totally blown away by the scale and beauty of the place and just like all the other monuments of the world I’ve visited I had “the shot” in mind that I wanted to get.
Unfortunately there were approximately 27,000 other people who also wanted to get “the shot” at the same time as me. Suddenly I found myself in a paparazzi scrum jostling for position. I wondered if a press call to photograph KK’s rear end might have been an easier gig.
The most frustrating part of this photo opportunity was that the camera of choice was no longer the instamatic or SLR, it was the phone and people were not taking photos of each other, they were all taking selfies. Each time I lined up my shot and was about to take an image I’d find a stray hand or 5 creep in to my frame.
I tried to be polite about it but after a while I turned into psycho-paparazzi girl and started yelling “excuse me, you’re in my shot” at everyone and gesturing and waving my hands which is the universal symbol for “get out of my shot”.
Every time I managed to clear the frame for a split second and go to take the shot another 30 unsuspecting tourists would wander into my frame.
In the end I just gave up.
Taj 1–Gina 0.
The shot I had planned was not going to happen that day but with some careful planning and a few simple protocols in place there are ways to avoid this type of scenario and always get great shots at crowded locations.
Here are my 5 tips for getting the money shot at popular locations.
For about 20mins I felt like it was just the Eiffel Tower and me. This still rates as one of the happiest mornings of my life. I will never forget the adrenalin rush as the sun began to peep through the tower. I must have looked completely mad as I did my little happy dance.
1. Arrive just before sunrise.
This will ensure you miss the bulk of the tourists and get a spectacular shot as well.
I was frustrated by all the crowds so I wondered around to the side of the Taj and got this shot instead which I’m really happy with. I think the people silhouetted in the arch really make the shot because they add perspective.
2. Try a different angle
What’s the point of having the same image of a monument that everyone else has already taken? Try shooting from the back or the side or above to get a fresh take.
This shot was taken early in the morning to avoid the crowds but, unfortunately, half of New York also had the same idea so I felt like I was shooting on a freeway. To avoid the crowds I shot from a low angle (I was sitting on the ground) I also managed to hide the odd hideous flouro pink tracksuit behind my model.
3. Shoot above the crowds.
Changing perspective slightly and panning up gets rid of all those pesky tourists better than yelling ‘get out of my shot’
4. Take details instead of panoramics
I love capturing the little details that make a city unique. Using a long lens and shoot wide open at F5.6 or less will blur out the background and make your detail really stand out.
5. Finally, there is always photoshop
But I think this should be a last resort. There are a few cool techniques that will remove people from your shot using multiple frames. I will do a step by step on the various techniques in a future newsletter so look out for it if you are interested in this type of stuff!