3 Tips for Photographing in Crowded Places







It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a big city, let alone photographing a wedding in a big city. Most of my weddings are located in downtown Chicago and there are almost always tons of people around us. Over the past six years of photographing weddings, I’ve found the best ways to photograph my couples so it appears as though they’re the only ones around while still showing off the beauty Chicago has to offer. Below are some Before & After photos from my most recent wedding that shows the surroundings I photographed in, along with my top 5 tips for photographing in crowded places!

1. Shoot Tight

This is my absolute favorite technique, mostly because I prefer “tight” shots to begin with. I shoot the majority of my couple portraits with a 85mm lens because it gives me the beautiful bokeh and compression that I love. Below is a wide photo of all the people that were around us on a busy Saturday at the Art Institute of Chicago.


By shooting tight, I’m able to eliminate all of the people around them and focus only on my couple. 

Here, I also chose to do some up close portraits of this couple…

But then stepped a little further back to take this shot!

These were also taken at the Art Institute, but on a completely different wing. People were everywhere! I decided to take a wide shot of them dancing in the middle of the hallway…

But then had them come closer to me (I was standing on a staircase above them) to take this shot! By shooting tighter, I’m able to give the impression that they were the only ones around even though there were hundreds of people passing by them. This is one of my all time favorites!

2. Be patient…Wait.

My second tip would be to be patient. Wait for the crowds to pass. There’s always a small break in the madness, you just have to simply be patient enough to wait for it! If time doesn’t allow for you to wait, simply ask your second photographer to hold the crowds for a moment while you get your shot. Most people are really sweet when it comes to waiting so a bride and groom can get their wedding day photos. Don’t be afraid to ask nicely!


There’s not a before shot of this photo, but you’d never know that there were tons of people going up and down the stairs. I simply asked people to wait just a moment while I got this shot, thanked them, and then moved to a different spot.

3. Embrace the crazy.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is just embrace the craziness of the city. Your couples know that they’re getting married in a busy environment, and often times, they love that fact! Include some photos that show the big picture. Wedding days go by so fast, so having a photo that captures the crazy of the wedding day is fun to look back on! It also gives a really different vibe than the intimate “tight” photographs! Depending on the situation, I think the busy photos are equally as gorgeous as the intimate ones.

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