5 tips to take great photos at a street painting festival
The annual Lake Worth Street Painting Festival is just around the corner (Feb 24 & 25) and with that comes the amazing variety of art, attractions and festivities to capture with your camera! It is an ideal event to go out with your camera and get creative and snap some great shots of one of the best events in lake worth! With that being said here are some tips to get some better shots and have your pictures stand out from the rest of the hundreds of other photographers who will be swarming the place in those two days.
1# – Bring a ND Filter
A ND filter or Neutral Density filter, is a must have for any beginner or pro photographer! What it basically does is cut down the amount of light hitting your sensor giving you a proper exposure for very bright days or environments. It also allows you to have a wide aperture like f2.8 or f1.4 if your camera lens is able to go that wide. This allows you have a very nice creamy background or bokeh, isolating your subject from the background giving it an extra significance and dimension. This is great for capturing people and objects throughout the festival as it makes your subject stand out and draws the viewer to what you want them to see.
If you don’t have money to buy a ND or don’t have one on hand (trust me it happens to the best of us!) you can also step down your aperture to a small f stop like f5.6 or f8 and that will give you a proper exposure as well, if it is too bright and sunny. This means you won’t be able to get a nice bokeh but on the flip side it does mean your photos will be more likely in focus and razor sharp! Most lenses in general perform better with a smaller aperture and this will allow you to get the best image quality out of your lens! This is especially ideal for capturing the actual street paintings as it will capture all the fine details of the art and make sure everything is in focus!
2# – Bring a Lens Hood
Something over looked is the lens hood most lenses come with. Besides making your lens look extra cool, it’s purpose is to shield your lens from the sun so you don’t get any lens flare in your picture. Now different lens perform differently towards sunlight hitting the front elements. Some fair well, showing very little difference while others are degraded image wise and colors and details can be washed out leaving your picture soft and bland. If you want the best image quality it’s a great idea to bring along your lens hood.
If your lens didn’t come with one or you simply misplaced yours (we’ve all lost one or two let’s not kid ourselves) then you can simply use your hand to block out any sunlight hitting your lens from the side or top by carefully placing your hand along your lens and shielding it. Now results will vary as wider lenses will most likely capture your hand in the photo if you’re not too careful but in a pinch it can get the job done. Make sure to have a fast shutter speed if you try this, as you will be holding your camera with only one hand and this is not ideal for a sharp picture as you will not be as steady and balanced as you should be.
3# – Walk around the event once without taking a picture
Now i know what you’re thinking, how is not taking any photos going to help me take great photos? Well this tip is actually more of an exercise. I don’t mean actual physical exercise by making you walk around the event. I mean taking your time to scout the area and looking for ideal spots and places to take shots later in the day. Look for interesting areas that may be overlooked by most people and photographers. Look for the paintings you find most interesting and make a plan on how to capture it as best as you can! A big part of photography and taking a great picture is planning and patience. Don’t just go snapping away and hoping you got a decent shot from the hundreds of photos you took. Study your subject and think outside the box! Get creative! The festival starts at 10 am on both days so you have plenty of time to just walk around and plan your shots and enjoy the festival as well!
4# – Bring a step ladder
Now this tip is almost a no brainier. A step ladder or if you can bring one, a small 4ft to 6ft, will give you an advantage over all the other photographers capturing the art on the street! You will be able to get a almost perfect straight down point of view of the art. You won’t get a warped or distorted picture of the painting like you would if you took the picture from the front at eye level which isn’t ideal. Yes it will be hassle to carry around a ladder of any kind throughout the event especially later in the day as the crowds get more bigger and packed. Yes it will require some planning and work to bring it along. Yes people will stop and ask you if they can use it to take their pictures. Sacrifices have to be made to achieve those great pictures though. At the end of the day when you’re looking over your photos and are satisfy on how they came out it will be so worth it! Trust me!
5# – Check the weather
THE tip of this entire blog would be this one. Check the weather throughout the week. Then two days before. Then the day before. Then every hour throughout the day. The street painting festival really hinges on the weather. If it rains it pretty much shuts down the entire event. Check to see if it will rain or be cloudy or be sunny. If it will rain on the first day or second and for how long. You will be planning your shots around the weather. Ideally you want to be taking your pictures when it is bright and sunny so you can have a small aperture and get razor sharp photos like i mentioned in tip 1#. You will also see more details on a sunny day as opposed to a cloudy overcast day where the colors won’t pop as much. Rain will also ruin the great work these artists worked so hard on so make sure you take your picture before it gets ruined by mother nature.
Have fun! Talk to some of the artists and photographers and network and get inspired by their work and stories! At the end of the day make sure you also leave the event with a handful of good memories or even new friends along with your pictures!