Shooting Tourists Can Be Good For Business

Wow, those tourists can get in the way when we’re out on a photography mission. Y’know the people who always walk into the frame as you are composing. Basically it’s a “Just wait it out!” situation – and hope for a clean shot – eventually. In some cases I spend more time waiting for people to get out of the shot than I do actually shooting. On some days and at some events it is impossible to “wait them out” because it will never happen. The photo below, shot in the Baltimore Inner Harbor on the last weekend of the Star Spangled Celebration, was one of those days. But, in this instance, the tourists actually “make” the photograph.

Baltimore Inner Harbor Star Spangled Celebration Crowd

Other days and in other places that tourists frequent, but not in droves, can be an opportunity to actually market your photographs and well as capture them. On a recent trip to Fort McHenry in Baltimore I kept loose track of the marketing I did while exploring with my cameras. Couple Lunching at Fort McHenry - silhouette

There were several small groups of people at the Fort while I was there. They were mostly in groups of two and three or, in one case among the people with whom I interacted, 6 people. Today, selfies may be the rage, but selfies are seldom good at including a scene along with a person or persons. I smile when I see these small groups trying to take photos of one-another and “taking turns” with the camera because they (obviously) cant get everyone together in the scene. If they are close to me I approach them and ask if they would like to get everyone in the picture – and offer to take their picture with their camera(s).

Nearly everyone says, “Yes.”

So I compose a bit and provide them a couple of good pictures of themselves with an interesting background – all well-exposed and in focus. Of course they look at the pictures on their phones or point-and-shoot cameras and always express gratitude. As they thank me I hand each couple a card and simply say, “Check out my work in my Online Gallery.”

Bill Swartwout Photography Business Card Preview

BTW – I never do this with families with large numbers of children in tow. That would be too much like “work.” I focus on the older set or young couples because it only takes a minute or two and there are no distractions (or whining).


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