Tips For Capturing The Fun, Action And Excitement Of Special Events
The action, costumes, colors and performances at festivals, special events and reenactments make them a ton of fun to attend and photograph. Taking snapshots is easy, but if you want to turn your snapshots into great shots, you have to pay careful attention to everything that's going on around you, as well as realize the importance of your camera settings and lens choice. After all, you may get only one chance to photograph the event.
That was the case for me when I photographed the Chinggis (whom we used to call Genghis) Khaan Cavalry Ride show in Mongolia in 2007. Sure, I had great fun and worked hard to get good pictures, but going back to the other side of the planet (a two-day trip) for this yearly event wasn't in the near future for me.
If seeing 500 real-life Mongolia soldiers, outfitted like soldiers of 800 years ago, charging into battle isn't in your future, don't retreat from reading this article. You'll find tips here that will help you take command and charge right into taking pictures at festivals and other events close to home.
Ready to go? Let's ride!
Make A Plan, Choose A Location
Before you start shooting, you need to make a plan of what you want to photograph and where you need to be to get the best vantage points. If possible, before you get on site, contact the organizers and ask questions about the event, including the types of activities and the number of performers, a timetable of activities and access to the field or arena (which may be restricted, as it was for me in Mongolia).
Of utmost importance is asking about the direction (north, south, east, west) in which performers may be positioned. On an overcast day, that may not matter too much. On a sunny day, however, that information will help you choose a position from which to work. In most cases, you'll want the sun at your back, so your subjects' faces will be illuminated.