Ah, the train track photo. Ever so popular on Pinterest, getting photos on train tracks is one of my most requested settings. But I will not, under any circumstances, do it.
Why? Because it might end as a train wreck. Literally.
And it’s also illegal. But mostly because I don’t want you, your precious kiddos, or myself to get hit by a train.
There have been so many incidents of either photographers or their clients getting injured or killed by trains that Operation Lifesaver, a railway safety education organization, actually lists 6 reasons on its site when urging photographers not to use train tracks for photography backdrops:
- Trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
- An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train’s distance from you – and its speed.
- The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.
- Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property.
- No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.
- People in your community mimic your behavior.
I would love to photograph on train tracks. There’s no denying that some of these photos are absolutely beautiful, and train tracks are certainly a trend in photography these days. But the risks are just too great. Your family member’s lives are worth so much more than getting a shot in front of a popular photo site. I know several other photography locations that would allow me to take photos of your family that are just as beautiful.