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Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival

Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival

Lensi Photography offer event photography for festivals and all types of events, from conferences to corporate events to personal events.

This year Lensi Photography were one of the event photographers for The Parklife Festival in Manchester. As always The Parklife Festival 2015 did not disappoint, a great mixture of Artists and DJ’s, a myriad of tents and stages that festival goers would be entertained by, great security and planning, all in all a great festival.

If you are a photographer, and are covering a festival for the first time, this blog may be of use.

HOW TO COVER A FESTIVAL

1 – GET THERE IN PLENTY TIME BEFORE THE FIRST ACT YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH

Photographers will all give you stories of no one knowing how to direct them to the press room, confirmed passes not being where they should be, having to drag heavy kit across a field of drunk revellers or the press room simply being miles away.

 

So if the first act you plan to shoot is on at 1, get there at at least 12, especially on the first day.

2 – FOOTWEAR AND CLOTHING

As a photographer, although it is hard work covering a festival (wear the most comfy footwear you have) and don’t be fooled by there being no rain, the festival WILL be muddy, wear your your wellies to be safe. Also bring a number of layers to pile on as it gets colder in the evening, I started out in shorts and a top, built up to a sweater, then a hoody on top of that, then changed shorts for leggings, and finally added a coat … once the sun drops it gets pretty cold, and although it may look and feel great in the day to be in your summer festival clothes, many women looked on at me envious by the time night came.

 

3 – ACTS PERFORMING

Know your acts!! There will be a host of celebrities and public figuresThe highlight of this years festival for me was Grace Jones, what a legend! What an honour to be able to shoot (photograph in none photographer speak)  someone like her, the trail blazer for artists like Lady Gaga, and even at age 67, she still has it, and all minus cosmetic surgery! The press pit was full for her performance, which shows this was the shot that everyone wanted.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

It will be impossible to cover everything, so work out who you want to cover beforehand or at the start of the day so that you have a plan. This will depend on who you are shooting for, some photographers need lots of crowd shots, some only need main stage acts and so on, you just need to be clear on what you need to shoot.

 

4 – EQUIPMENT

I carry two bodies on a Black Rapid Double Strap to a festival like this. Two Canon 5d3’s a wide angle and a telephoto zoom, one body would be lighter, but I prefer to carry two for speed when a shot appears and you need to suddenly have a different angle. Carrying my camera around my neck simply does not work for me, its painful and uncomfortable, being able to carry my equipment on my body is much more comfortable.

 

Some photographers also bring a 300mm (or above) in case we have a shoot from the mixer. Others also bring a super wide angle (if we are really close to the stage) or a fish eye (for those fun type shots), but this is just too much to carry around for me.

 

5 – WALKING, GETTING TO AND FROM STAGES

Most photographers will be filing back to their respective agencies / magazines / publications, so there will be a lot of time spent doing and fringe getting to the various stages, then heading back to the press room to upload your images. A plus for this year was that we were transported via buggy a few times, which really saved on the legs! (image courtesy of fellow tog and Friend Paul Torode)

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6 – HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT TYPES OF IMAGES YOU WANT

Research images from pervious events, it will give you an idea of what kind of spaces and backdrops you will be working with. From an image point of view images taken at night or in the various tents look amazing as the lighting is always well put together.

 

The more you photograph these events the more you learn and know what to look out for, for example Rudimental who have won awards for their festival performances always enter stage with a jump from their front guy, going out into the crowd to shot the main stage from far away once your press pit time is over also may get you some exclusives as well as a great full stage shots, such as the ‘Disclosure’ shot in this set.

I also shoot video snippets (which can be found on our YouTube Channel) as it adds a little more life to your coverage, and is great for most agencies and publications.

 

7 – SHOOT WIDE AND TIGHT, NEAR AND FAR, USE YOUR 15 MINS / THREE SONGS WISELY

You will get the first three songs or 15 minutes of a DJ set in the pit. Use this time effectively. Resist any temptation you may have to let go and enjoy the music, you are not there to party! Get your shots, and then you may relax for a bit …until you have to head to the next stage.

It can be tempting to get close up shots of some of your favourite artists, shots where they can clearly be seen, but be sure to also get wide ones, where they form a tiny part of the image. Some of my favourite shots from this year are shot way away from the stage, after your time has finished in the pit, don’t be scared to walk into the crowd to get a different angle. I shot these once our 15 mins were finished in the pit.

House DJ Duo Disclosure close Day one of Parklife 2015 performing live on stage

House DJ Duo Disclosure close Day one of Parklife 2015 performing live on stage

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 – MAKE FRIENDS!

Your first time at a festival can be daunting! The pros will know where to go for what time, the quickest way to the different tents and so on. I remember my first festival I fought my way through crowds many times to get to a particular stage, to then find out that photographers can take a backstage route!

 

Festivals are generally friendly places, (not all photography environments are!) and I have made some really good friends who are also fellow photographers there. I have helped people out with batteries and memory cards and shooting, as they have me. It’s also nice to be able to work and have someone to talk to and laugh with. It is most definitely still work, but it is great fun too!

 

9 – EARPLUGS

Bring some unless you wish to sacrifice your hearing for the sake of getting your shots! The speakers are designed to project to thousands of people in front of a stage, and you are standing next to them ….figure that one out!

 

10 – TOILETS

Bring sanitiser and tissue, these are festival toilets, need I say more?!! Unless you have VIP tickets, which have assigned cleaners who monitor the tissue, cleanliness etc.

 

Roll on next year, and more festivals!

To book #LensiPhotography to #photograph and #event (#EventPhotographer, #EventPhotographerBirmingham) or #festival (#FestivalPhotography) contact us via our contact sheet or :

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Not one to be in the spotlight Award winning DJ EZ DJ's in no lights focussing on him at the main stage

Not one to be in the spotlight Award winning DJ EZ DJ’s in no lights focussing on him at the main stage

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Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

2015 evicted Big Brother Housemates spotted at Parklife 2015

2015 evicted Big Brother Housemates spotted at Parklife 2015

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Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Jessie Ware performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Manchester, UK

Jessie Ware performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Manchester, UK

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

 

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 George Ezra performing live on stage at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

George Ezra performing live on stage at The Parklife two day festival 2015Nas performing live on stage as the headline act at Parklife 2015 Festival in ManchesterNas performing live on stage as the at Parklife 2015 FestivalRudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

 

Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

Rudimental

Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival

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Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint. Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester

The Last Journey of Lady Thatcher

Thousands line the streets to witness the final journey of Lady Thatcher, Britains only female Prime Minister to date. The streets were lined with mourners and protestors alike. The funeral was attended by dignitaries from all over the world, although serving state heads were missing. It was also the first funeral of a non-royal atteneded by The Queen and Prince Phillip since that of Winston Churchill in 1965.

Loads of people witnessed the last journey of Lady Thatcher, whose real name is actually Lady Will Thatcher, and most of us know her by the name of Lady Iron.

In the above photo gallery you can see the crowd to witness the event. We did the same for the press coverage. If you have any press company and you would like to hire us on freelancer basis, or would like to cover any particular occasion somewhere you feel you or your staff won’t be able to go or reach on particular day or time, we would like to share our services for the same. Just provide us with the details of venue, and we will do the needful on your behalf.

For any particular occasion if you feel you need amateur photographer, and we feel the same then we are more than happy to provide our services. We are more then happy to share our expertise to train the new photographers, we do run various courses which covers digital photography and also the tips and tricks for photography. You tell us what you like us to cover and we will make it bespoke for you as per the needs.