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Photographer Shadows New Yorkers, Capturing Their Memories

By Emily Frost | May 2, 2013 10:13am

UPPER WEST SIDE — Before Emily Collins left New York City for good, she wanted to capture a snapshot of her life here.

Collins, 28, who worked at a small media company but was being transferred to Dallas, Texas, wanted to be able to look back on a perfect New York afternoon spent with friends — and actually be in the photos herself as well. 

That's when she enlisted the help of Tali Blankfeld, 29, whose company Picture Me In NYC offers photography services for frustrated tourists or New Yorkers who, while taking pictures, are left out of the memory.

Collins, with Blankfeld in tow, spent the day walking around SoHo, one of her favorite parts of the city. 

"It was a really fun day and Tali just followed us wherever we went and shot a lot of beautiful candid shots of my friends and I interacting with each other, trying on clothes and accessories in different stores, and just being goofy," Collins said.  

 Blankfeld will hang back and shadow you or make suggestions at a shoot, whichever you prefer. 
Blankfeld will hang back and shadow you or make suggestions at a shoot, whichever you prefer. 
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DNAinfo/ Emily Frost

The day was made carefree by Blankfeld, Collins recalled.

"I didn't have to worry about stopping every few minutes to get pictures, think of cute poses, choose the right Instagram filter, etcetera. It was all captured for me while I got to just enjoy my day out," she said.

Blankfeld's idea for her company, which she launched in October 2012, came from her own experience of always being missing from family photos since she was the de facto family photographer. 

Walking around New York City, a place full of iconic scenes and camera-totting tourists, Blankfeld realized she wasn't the only one facing this problem. 

Instead of getting left out, Blankfeld will trail you around the Big Apple, snapping both spontaneous moments and poses next to the city's great monuments on your day out, for $100 an hour, with a free consultation.

"It drives me crazy when I see people not really seeing things, just focusing on taking the photo," she said.

With a photographer with you, Blankfeld added, "You can do both: enjoy the moment and then share it with a friend."

An Upper West Sider who revels in the neighborhood's charm, Blankfeld also wants to encourage New Yorkers to capture themselves in their city. 

"This is your home," she said, "and to have good quality photos [of you in it] is more meaningful — this is something you'll hold as a memory forever." 

Blankfeld said that in her consultation she determines what people are seeking in having her follow them, whether it's just a shadow as they experience the city, or a more involved photographer, arranging special shots.

The Upper West Side is an ideal place for photographing people, Blankfeld said.

"It's very beautiful. It's a little calmer and there's more space so you don't end up with lots of other people in your photos," she said.