Tips for music festival photography
If you’re a photographer who’s also a fan of camping, music and being surrounded by happy, smiling people, then music festival photography is a genre that’s made for you!
You may not have thought to take a camera to a festival before, but the opportunities for some incredible photographic moments at these vibrant events really are too good to miss.
Festival photography gear
In any situation where you’re trying to travel light, you’ll need to consider your gear carefully, and preparing your kit for music festival photography is no different. A light camera bag loaded with a small DSLR or CSC and a prime lens is ideal. 50mm (or equivalent) is the perfect focal length for capturing both wider shots and portraits, while giving you excellent low-light capabilities.
If you don’t have a 50mm prime lens, a fast f/2.8 standard zoom is another great choice, but it obviously won’t allow you to shoot as wide open as the prime and will probably be much bulkier. For larger festivals you’ll need to decide if it’s the bands or festival goers you’re more interested in, because getting close enough to take decent band photos will be tough, and you might need a telephoto lens.
You don’t really need much else, so just stock up your bag with plenty of memory cards and batteries and you’re good to go!
Taking photos to be proud of
A festival is a fantastic opportunity to add some priceless portraits to your portfolio, and also to work on your people skills in a safe and friendly environment. Unlike many other situations where you might ask a stranger to pose for you, the unique atmosphere of a festival means that almost everyone will be happy to have their picture taken. You’ll be surrounded by people in drag, fancy dress and wonderfully creative outfits and make-up, so failing to take advantage of that would be a tragedy!
Be bold, smile and approach anyone who looks interesting – fortune favours the brave at an event like this! Take headshots, half-length and full-length shots; invite their friends to join in, and don’t forget to include some background for context and get some close-up shots of the little details of their outfits.
At smaller festivals it pays to have a distinctive look yourself because word will soon get around that you’re there. You’ll be amazed at how many people will come up to you to be photographed, so be prepared for this and have some cards available with your name and Facebook details. Sharing your photos after the event will give people some lovely memories, and even give them the chance to turn their photos into a canvas print as a keepsake of the good times – plus you might even make some great new friends.
Above all else enjoy the weekend, take care of your gear, we bet that it will just be the start of a beautiful relationship between you and music festival photography!