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Festival Photography – Hints and Tips!

Whoooooooo!! Summer is coming and along with it many different festivals of all shapes and sizes! Whether you are into the huge well known festivals or smaller intimate events, one thing is for sure: there will be lots of opportunity to capture those picture perfect moments! But how can you ensure that your festival photos are going to capture the moment beautifully for you to relive those joyous memories in the future?

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Before we look at some hints and tips to make the most of your festival photography here are a couple of little caveats.

Firstly make sure that you are not focused too much on taking photos that you don’t make the most of the moment! It’s easy to become obsessed with getting the perfect shot and before you realise it you’ve watched the whole set of your favourite band squinting through a camera viewfinder or phone rather than really being able to enjoy the moment. Carpe the hell out the diem!

Secondly you are also unlikely to be able to get really good close up shots of the artist(s) unless you are right up front and have high quality photographic gear - in which case you may then find that you are not allowed to use it!.

So set realistic expectations from the start. Your festival photography is unlikely to match the standards of professional photos - in terms of shots of the artist(s) or band - so it might be better to concentrate on capturing the atmosphere of the event and getting some great shots of the group of friends you are with. Those kind of photos are the ones that you will treasure, and in years to come will transport you right back to that point in time in a heartbeat.

Here are five hints and tips to help you get those special shots:

  • Don’t always feel you have to pose your friends for a shot, taking ‘off the cuff’ images when other people don’t realise you’re taking a photograph can capture a candid moment you’d never get if you’d have posing subjects. Your subject doesn’t have to be looking at the camera, and in most images that truly capture the atmosphere of moment they aren’t!
  • Double check what is happening in the background of the shot as well as the foreground. Everything you capture in an image tells a story of that time. You may think that you have a great shot of your friends with an epic crowd or stage scene in the background but that might be just the moment that someone wanders past eating a messy burger or dragging a wailing child!
  • Lighting is everything! Decide on the effect you want. If it’s a daytime shot then check out where the sun is (if you’re lucky enough to have any!) and that it’s not causing glare on the subject of your shot. If it’s darker check there is sufficient light for what you need. If your shooting at dusk, or into the sun you may want to avoid moody shots (where the subject is not very clear) then you should use the flash on the camera, you sometimes need to ‘force’ the camera to flash.
  • If you do want to get shots of the artist(s) or band then be realistic about how clear they are going to be. You are unlikely to be able to zoom up enough to get very defined shots so may be better to try and capture the overall look and atmosphere of the stage rather than end up with a blurry grainy image of part of it. Again bear in mind that for future posterity a shot of your friends with the general stage visible in the background is likely to be more meaningful.

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  • Ensure that your hands are still when you are taking a shot. Festivals are generally very moving places in every sense of the word! But if there is a particular shot you want then it’s worth taking just a few seconds to make sure your hands are still to avoid the resulting photograph being blurry.
  • Choose your time to take a photograph, photography is about capturing and image the decisive moment, for example choose a really lively time in a song to take a picture when the crowd is going wild, a load of hands in the air say a lot more in an image than a stationary crowd. Be patient and shoot smart!

By following the above hints and tips we hope that you will be skilful and wise about your festival photography so you can enjoy yourself, and capture the moment to bring back some amazing photos that will remind you of your memories and festival stories for years to come!

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