Tips for street photography at music festivals

September 3rd, 2012 → 1:00 pm @

The Saviour had his mind on higher things.


For a street photographer, the audience is more interesting and more challenging than the performers.

The musicians are stuck on stage. They’re a sitting target, so they’re easy to shoot.

The act is usually augmented with colourful lighting and smoke effects, and the background is dark, which silhouettes the players. It’s all too simple.

So, how do you take good shots of people at festivals?

1. You need to be positioned so that you’re facing your subjects, or at right angles to them. If you’re facing the stage, you’ll only see the backs of the audience.

It can be tricky to shoot people in the audience, because they’re facing the musicians. You can try shooting from an angle, from one side of the venue.

2. But it’s often easier to photograph people doing other things at a festival such as eating or pottering around the stalls.

3. You can sit on the grass with a DSLR and shoot away, especially at waist level, using a hinged screen.

4. You can also sit at the edge of a cafe and photograph people passing by.

As the days go by, the festival goers tend to look ever more bedraggled, and therefore ever more photogenic. They get straggly hair, no make up, and mud on their clothes.


Of course the bright blue hat goes perfectly with your camouflage jacket.


Problems with festivals

Festivals are open air and often held in summer. This can mean bright sunshine, which makes for bad photos. People screw up their faces, and wear sunglasses; and the light creates deep shadows where nothing can be seen, and bleaches out the highlights.

When that happens, you have to wait until the sun goes behind a cloud or begins to decline.

And finally it should go without saying they you have to shoot with your back to the sun. Otherwise your subjects’ faces will be in shadow.


Windy days make it hard to manage your hair.





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