Busy City Session

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Edyta Grazman

I really like shooting in downtown Chicago.

There is so much color and lots of interesting textures, patterns, and shapes in the environment that make for pretty backgrounds. It never gets boring and with each new session I discover something new that inspires me.


I shot this session in the evening so I could take advantage of that beautiful, soft evening light. It took about an hour and a half to shoot.


This client sought out a city session after finding me on Instagram.

They were wonderful to work with – very comfortable in the busy environment and not at all intimidated.

Working in a busy city can be challenging as you always have other people and distracting elements around you.

When you are shooting in a busy place, knowing your location is key. We had to stop quite a few times and wait for the passersby to move to get the shot. However, when everybody knows what to expect and we are all on the same page, that’s not really a problem.


One big tip I can give is to keep your clients engaged and project confidence so they don’t get distracted or intimidated. At the end, there are hundreds of people and stimuli all around and it’s easy to get off track.


I shot this session mostly wide open (with my 70-200mm 2.8 and 50 mm 1.4) to separate my clients from the distracting elements in the background. I then enhanced the photos in LR and PS to give my images the more polished, artistic look that I like.


I used a Nikon D750 with the 70-200mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.4 (affiliate links).

EdytaEtyta Grazman is a portrait photographer in Chicago, IL, who specializes in custom, on-location sessions. She offers a selection of boutique products, including heirloom albums and modern framed artwork. She serves children and families in Chicago all year round and travel for sessions to NYC and California about once a year. See her website here.

One Response to “Busy City Session”

August 25, 2015 at 3:19 pm, Susanne said:

Beautiful shots!

Can I ask you for an (more or less) general rule for the aperture setting you use for portraits like this with 1, 2, 3 and 4 persons (what do you use for what number of persons)?

Can I also ask you when you choose the 70-200 and when the 50 mm /1.4?

They are really pretty – love the city ones!