Train Tracks and Photo Sessions Don’t Mix

In the light of several recent tragic accidents involving people walking on train tracks, and the most recent one being because of a photoshoot, I feel the need to address this issue. We at Urban Photography MTL take the law and the safety of our clients very seriously. Many people don’t know, or simply don’t care that it is illegal and dangerous to walk on train tracks.  Like every photography company, we get requests for photo sessions to take place on train tracks. We take that opportunity to educate our client on the dangers of such a photo session.

“But we’ll hear the train coming and move out of the way” is a frequent response we get. That is not always true. This article gives a very scientific explanation about the “Doppler Effect” which is the reason why many people don’t hear the train until it is too late.

“Okay, then, what about unused/dead tracks? Aren’t those safe to take photos on?”

The answer is yes and no. Yes, they are safe if they are truly dead tracks, but it is still not legal. In most cases, the tracks still belong to the rail companies and venturing onto them comes with charges of trespassing and steep fines. In some cases, the tracks look unused because of rust on the rails and vegetation growing up between the ties, when in fact, there are trains that pass on them occasionally. Those are the most dangerous to trespass on because a train passing can be very unexpected and will catch you by surprise.

There are some places in and around Montreal which have lengths of train track for decorative purposes which are safe to take photos on and would be legal if the proper permissions were obtained. But let’s just steer clear of all train tracks, shall we? It’s cliché and we don’t want to perpetuate the idea that train track photography is cool. There are so many beautiful places to do a photo session in and around Montreal, why would you want to settle for an overdone cliché anyway?

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Let’s talk about professional portraits.

A professional portrait, or headshot as it is commonly called, is often your first impression and you want to ensure your first impression is a good one. It doesn’t matter if you are a freelancer, job seeker on LinkedIn, or the CEO of a large company; in many cases, you will be seen online before you are seen in person. Your appearance in a picture with your business profile and contact information will shape the approach of the potential client.  When they look at your picture, what will their perception be about you? Sure, you can cut yourself out of a photo from your brother’s wedding three years ago, since you’re dressed up and looking nice, and use that as your headshot, but does that really say you take your profession seriously?

You want to make sure you stand out, –  in a good way! Use a professional portrait! Whether you are a student just beginning to dip your toes into the workforce, an independent contractor, or the head of a non-profit organization, Urban Photography MTL has your professional portrait needs covered. Give us a call at (514) 366-0101, or drop us a line at to discuss your photography needs.

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