I can’t tell you how many time I have seen photos, especially Senior portraits, on railroad tracks of some sort. People are drawn to them and photographers everywhere seem to love to use them. However, its always a bad idea.

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has been pushing for years for photographers to say no to railroad tracks. Unfortunately, there are still photographers out there that will use tracks if they are requested or even maybe its their idea.

On October 3rd, 2019 a 17 year old boy in Oregon was killed by a train while doing his senior portraits. The photographer managed to get out of the way, but the boy was killed. The article is here if you care to read it. This could have so easily been avoided but bad decisions were made and a time of celebration was turned into a time of tragedy.

Besides running the risk of being hit and killed by a train, the other risk is the trespassing charge. All tracks, even those that are abandoned, are owned by the railroad companies. It is illegal to use them and if you are caught, you can be issued a very expensive ticket. So, if your life means nothing to you, then maybe the thought of getting a ticket will stop you.

At the end of the day, don’t use the tracks. If you are having portraits taken, please don’t request or suggest they be used. If you are a photographer and someone asks, tell them no. Explain why. Educate your client about why they are dangerous and offer alternative suggestions. Please don’t risk your life.

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