10 Ways to Take Amazing Photos in Overcrowded Tourist Spots

It takes creativity to capture beautiful pictures in overcrowded attractions.


When was the last time you visited a national landmark or a well-known cultural site that wasn’t swarming with visitors? These days, it’s a challenge to take photos of tourist destinations without strangers photobombing your frame. It doesn’t help that everyone’s got a phone camera and eager to share their exploits online, so every place you head to will definitely be congested with snap-happy people battling it out to take the best shots.


Though it may be hard to believe, you can still come up with beautiful photos even if there are many people around. You just need creativity, patience, and timing to get that perfect shot.


1. Wake up early.


If you really want to capture a place as a whole and without loitering visitors present, set your alarm extra early and visit it at dawn or on its opening hour. Just remember to check their website to see how early you can get into the venue, so your effort isn’t wasted.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @hatajuku on

IG photo by @hatajuku at Mount Fuji


2. Visit during off-peak hours.


The first rule doesn’t necessarily apply to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples that open early. Before tourists flock to the place, it can get flooded with religious followers who want to say a prayer before going about their day. Your best bet would be to do a quick check on Google and discover the popular intervals it gets busy.


Whichever time or day you decide to come, always respect the sacred space. Follow their rules and dress code, and be on the lookout for “no photography” signs before whipping out your camera. Use tripods and selfie sticks sparingly, but if you really must use them, ask permission first.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by George Yajima / ???? (@georgeyajima) on

IG photo by George Yajima of Zojoji Temple at night


3. Wait for it.


Throngs of people come in waves, and you only need a split second to see a passageway or landing clear up. Always have your camera ready so you don’t miss that moment! It doesn’t seem like it, but this picture was taken at the infamous torii gates of Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine on a crowded morning.


There were a lot of people when this shot was taken. Just wait for the right moment.


If you wait for a few seconds, the crowd will clear out eventually. Just like at the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in these photos taken within seconds from each other.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


4. Use existing elements to hide people.


Whether it’s a towering post or a cluster of trees, look around and see how you can use the natural surroundings to conceal people.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by George Yajima / ???? (@georgeyajima) on

IG photo by George Yajima at Golden Pavilion


5. Try Portrait or Selective Focus mode.


You don’t need a fancy DSLR to create depth-of-field effect. For newer mobile phones, you can just switch to the Portrait (Apple) or Selective Focus (Samsung) feature so you can keep the subject sharp and blur the rest of the background, which includes the crowd!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Alysse Asilo (@alyssewell) on

IG photo by Alysse in Shibuya crossing

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Alysse Asilo (@alyssewell) on

IG photo by Alysse in Tokyo subway


6. Use the people around you.


If you can’t beat them, join them! Take advantage of the immense number of people around you, and use them to demonstrate the scale of the place. Temple goers quietly praying in front of revered statues or pedestrians rushing to different destinations will provide a richer context to your photograph.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by George Yajima / ???? (@georgeyajima) on

IG photo by George Yajima at Senjosi temple

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @hatajuku on

IG photo by @hatajuku at Shinjuku district


Amidst the crowd, you can also pinpoint intriguing personalities such as over-the-top cosplayers or tourists wearing geisha outfits and shoot candid pictures of them. Better yet, take photos with them!



7. Angle your shot.


Instead of following your line of sight, tilt your camera upwards to get another view of the world. This trick instantly eliminates heads that will ruin your picture. Taking a high, angled photo of Arashiyama Bamboo Grove not only removes tourists, but also shows how tall and pliant the evergreen plants are.




8. Take it low.


Snap your picture at a low angle or even from the floor, which is also known as a worm’s eye view. Images taken at lower angles can make structures appear grander and more dramatic than usual.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @hatajuku on

IG photo by @hatajuku in Osaka


9. Focus on the details.


You don’t always need to go wide to show the beauty of a place. When visiting heritage sites or modern architectural gems, you can zoom in on particular elements that create a bigger impression and tell a unique story.




10. Go against the grain.


Big tour groups follow their corresponding guides to learn about the history of a site. Watch how these crowds move around a space and choose to go the opposite route. You might just be rewarded with images without people in them.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by George Yajima / ???? (@georgeyajima) on

IG photo of George Yajima during hanami season

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


Which of these photography tricks have you successfully pulled off? Let us know!


Photos by Mimi Tiu. Additional photos courtesy of Instagram users.


More stories

How do you feel about this article?

Win
3
LOL
Kawaii
1
Nani?!
1
5
Total votes
View more stories tagged ""

Read more stories about

Comments

Latest Stories

Load More Stories