Festivals are celebrated all around the world. Different cultures depict their joy or sorrow of those festivals in different ways. Some are colorful. Some are colorless. But there is one thing that binds it all together and helps spread the word across the world, PHOTOGRAPHY.
Festival photography can be difficult, especially in India, because the festivals and the people attending are so into it that they can lure you in their celebration, making you forget all about your task. You have to make sure that you enjoy but work as well. If you can’t enjoy the festival & the festivities then you won’t be able to get to the soul of the whole thing and get the intended pictures.
Credits: KALPANA CHATTERJEE
Vibrant colors, diverse cultures, happy people, fun-packed action, unbeatable excitement…festivals provide you with all these & more! The place becomes more than just beautiful landscapes and historical monuments. It becomes a people-centric place! But it also becomes a very challenging environment for photographers. There are thousands of people, unplanned events, and lots of chaos!
Here are some tips that’ll help you take better Festival Photographs:-
1. Plan Ahead – It is always a good idea to research before you go and photograph a festival. Read about the event, learn about it from real time visitors and checkout pictures clicked by some other people to get a gist of what all you’ll be dealing with at the location.
2. Choosing the Gear – Since festivals provide us with a lot of photographic opportunities, ranging from wide-angle to telephoto perspectives, hence, it is always wise to carry two cameras with two different (wide and telephoto) lenses. Bring an extra battery along with faster memory cards (if you shoot in raw). Sometimes, pocket cameras can come in handy for the situation.
Credits: THOMAS HAWK
3. Reach Early – It takes a lot of work to shoot a festival. It is a great idea to capture the hard work that has been put in. Reaching the festival a few hours earlier will give you an opportunity to interact with people, and take the behind-the-scene shots.
4. Capture People – People are the soul of any festival. The event will be a success if the people attending are enjoying it. Try connecting with the people if you don’t know their language. Try asking them what is it that making them so excited about the whole thing and photograph THAT.
Credits: HIMANSHU SINGH GURJAR
5. Shooting Mode – Try Blast shooting or Continuous mode. It’s not some formal event where people will be sitting in a proper setup, it’s a festival and you’ll find everyone doing their own little thing and moving here & there. It is always useful to use continuous shooting mode along with AI Focus as it will help you to capture moving subjects and candid shots.
6. Don’t just Click Away – Save your battery and memory card space for some meaningful shots. Have a look, what is going on around and then start to shoot. Also, since you won’t have much chance for staged shots, so the shot and composition have to be planned very quickly. Hence, train yourself to quickly measure the direction of the light and shadows; interesting POVs, the aperture and shutter speed. Use your prior research to capture important religious aspects of the festivals.
7. Try shooting Reflections – Since the festivals are not only limited until daylight, it’ll be interesting to shoot at night. It’ll be more interesting if you’re near water. Water & shadows or reflections mix perfectly, you just need to find the perfect moment and click away.
Credits: RAKESH SHELAR
8. Concentrate on Details – Many a time, just a tiny detail can enhance the meaning of a picture. Be on the lookout for tiny details. They can do some bigger good to your photography and you.
9. Choosing Backgrounds – It is very difficult to get a clear background in the festivals, that’s why you must compose in such a way so that background enhances your shots, you may include people dancing, bathing, praying; Sunrise or Sunset etc. in the BG while keeping your main subject in the FG, it makes your shots more relevant giving a feel of the place.
Credits: STEVEN GERNER
10. Respect your Subject – You should always respect your subject. They are there to enjoy but that doesn’t mean that they’re comfortable with you clicking their pictures. Yes, I agree that unaware type of shots can become more interesting and candid, but taking permission by just smiling at them, saying hello and showing them your camera is permission enough.
An added tip will be to make sure that you’re safe.
Festivals are joyous and bonding and everything good but, they do have some thieves and pickpockets among them. Beware of those.
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