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Dec 082014

Tourists Everywhere? Include them in your pictures!

By Pierre Aden

So finally you’re going to Rome (or some other beautiful Italian city) and you are excited to see all these historic monuments, pure history – only for you and your camera! You are going to Vatican city, the Colosseum, the Pantheon to take lots of amazing pictures of these places like no one did before and you see… people, every place is so crowded that you’re hardly able to see the sights at all! Gone is the vision of your perfect photo of the empty St. Peter’s Basilica in HDR.

Let’s face it: All these places have been photographed thousands, if not a million times before. Chances that you will make the perfect architecture picture in these places and being on the cover page of National Geographic are as low as Schwarzenegger becoming the next US president (or even lower). Tourists are everywhere, 12.6 million visitors have been counted in 2013 in Rome.

So why not have some fun and include these tourists in your pictures? This is what I thought when visiting Rome in September and Sicily in October, facing these conditions. Suddenly I thought it would be more interesting to make pictures of the people surrounding me and include them in the pictures of the sights, making the people from all over the world the real attractions.

Here are some examples of my 5 day trip to Rome, all taken with the Olympus E-M1 or the Olympus E-P5 and different lenses. I had a great time and people running into my pictures was not annoying but actually wanted.
















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  36 Responses to “Tourists Everywhere? Include them in your pictures! By Pierre Aden”

  1. Haha very common problem, enjoyed the post…great colours…. thanks for sharing.

  2. These photos are sensational. How did you get such amazing colours? Thoroughly enjoyable post which focussed (sorry for the pun) in the subjects, not the gear.

  3. We’re all tourist when visit other lands so we might be ruining other people’s photos also. I’ve found that with patience you can get your shots without so many people being in them. Including them in a few just adds to the atmosphere.

  4. Makes me think of some photos I took not too long ago:

  5. If you don’t want people in the images! stick 10 to 16 stops of ND filters on your lens (full daylight) and they will disappear!

  6. Well done. I finally gave up on trying to take pictures without the tourists. Once I did that I had more fun, and a lot more pictures to enjoy. If I don’t want the people I have to go out late at night, which can be fun too.

  7. Lovely set of photographs, a great idea carried out with aplomb.

  8. Hi Pierre, Loved this set….good point……were all tourists as we travel…..including them as you have done is

    fun. I like the shot of the little girl in red and her mom….also the lady with the fan. I use the selfie when I

    travel….my photo diary as per the one here with my comments. Taken at Mount Rainier National Park

  9. not only was the quality of these pics excellent but the concept is great too.. Unless you’re a photoshop whiz you’re not going avoid all those tourists (of which you are one!!) so why not include them.

    Loved these pics..


  10. Great attitude and photos – reminds me or Erwitt in a few cases. What you’ve done is not simply include the tourists in the pictures, but really choose them as an element in the composition. For those who really want photos with no tourists – just get up first thing in the morning, when the streets are deserted. Otherwise, these are wonderful and beautifully done.

  11. I totally agree. There’s no running away from tourists and sometimes they do make the best and accomodating subjects.

  12. I had a similar experience some weeks ago in Paris. One of my best pictures is a couple making a selfie in front of the Gioconda at Musee du Louvre. If you ever have the possibility do not miss an exhibition from Martin Parr or one of his books (“The last resort”is my favorite). Some of your photos remind me of him. At the beginning they are hilarious but at the same time there is something depressing about tourists

  13. “Let’s face it: All these places have been photographed thousands, if not a million times before. Chances that you will make the perfect architecture picture…”
    With this logic we should not ride a bike, ski the slopes, cook a meal, fix a car, actually we should not even get up in the morning to go to work as others get up quicker and will work better. Not my attitude, sorry.

    • What I actually wanted to say with that sentence was that one should not try to copy the same pictures all over again but try new approaches. Not more, not less. It’s perfectly fine to try to make a great architecture picture, nothing’s wrong with that. It was just not possible for me on this specific vacation so I tried something different.

  14. I agree completely, and based on my trip to Venice this past summer, the tourists will have more receptive expressions than the native Italians.

  15. Nice. Shatters the myth of needing full frame to make great photographs. A good eye is vastly more important.

    • Hi Cory,

      Thanks, I am totally happy with the quality of my MFT camera gear. It’s small, makes very good pictures and the stabilizer works great in low light. No need for bigger equipment on my end.

    • There has never been a myth to shatter!

    • You know…the only thing worse than someone saying ‘full frame is needed to make a great photo’ is someone making the unsolicited statement that ‘crop is good enough’. Really, who cares??? Why are you bringing it up?? You see, all you’re really doing is inviting the endless diatribe of the full frame vs the crop sensor crowd. Can’t we just enjoy the photos here for what they are??? Just sayin’.

  16. Really nice set of images. Love the young lady with the fan and the nun photographing the painting. Fun pics of the selfie takers…and yours as well. Thanks for sharing…

  17. Greetings! While these are nicely composed, and might be considered “environmental portraits”, I’m more interested in capturing the actual landscape or specific landmark itself (sans people). To each his own, I suppose! Enjoy your Olympus System!

  18. Wonderful! Loving it. Finally some sense into those places. I am always smirking when I see those pissed off wanna be photographers that brought all their stuff only to see their composition spoiled (at 12 noon of course) by those other 10.000 tourists. And guilty myself of course, depending on the day you catch me. Great stuff!

  19. Excellent! Some are hilarious, some are whimsical, but they’re all good. This is a great idea, if the tourists are there anyway, make use of them.

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