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Festival Photography for an Amateur Photographer Part 1

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April 1, 2019

The Dos and Don’ts of Amateur Music Festival Photography 

 

Festival photography is one of the best and most energetic types of photography to shoot. Whether you are photographing the artists or the crowd, there is so much energy all around you. Now festival photography can be difficult for amateur photographers versus professional photographers. We will split this blog into two parts. In the first part we will discuss amateur festival photography. In our second part, which will be released next week, we will discuss professional festival photography. If you were the lucky winner of our Photographer Spotlight Contest, would you photograph a festival in North America?   

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Can I bring my DSLR camera and accessories?

 

Now this is a difficult question, as every festival is different. Amateur photography is more difficult with the amount of equipment you can bring into festival grounds. From personal experience, depending on the size of the festival, it can be difficult to know what you can and cannot bring in. When I have been at smaller festivals, I’ve been allowed to bring my DSLR camera. For larger festivals, I’ve tried to bring my DSLR and had it held at the gate, as I was not allowed to bring it in. So, it is best to check the fine print on festival guidelines, because it’s a little worrisome when someone else has your equipment in their hands. At most festivals they will allow you to bring your phone in with you, so this may be your only option when doing amateur festival photography.  

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What should I do if I can’t bring in mcamera & gear? 

 

It is always good to have a backup plan if you are not allowed to bring in your camera to a festival, as many will not allow you to. One option is to invest in a phone that has a good quality camera. You can get ideas from our last blog post, the Top 3 Phones with the Best Cameras to see what phone camera would be best for you. You can also invest in accessories for your phone camera, such as lenses, tripods, etc. These gadgets can always improve the stabilization and clarity of your photos and are easy to find on websites, such as Amazon, and are relatively inexpensive.  

One thing to remember is that you can always edit your photos after the festival to increase the quality. ACDSee offers Mobile Sync, an app where you can save, manage, and wirelessly send your photos to any version of our photo studio editing software, 2018 and higher, making it easy to have your photos ready to go for editing when the festival is over. If you want to know more information, you can check out our Mobile Sync blog, or you can go straight to downloading the app.  

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What if I bring mcamera gear and I’m not allowed to bring it into the festival grounds?

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My best advice is to leave a piece of ID with your camera gear if it is being held at the gate. Then you and security both know which items yours are. Or a second option would be to take your camera and gear back to your car, hotel room, or campsite, and store it somewhere safely.  

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What can you do/where can you go? 

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To put it simply, you can go anywhere that your ticket allows you to. Even as an amateur without the advantages that professional photographers have, you want to be able to get the best shots possible, and I have three pieces of advice for this:   

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  1. Have a plan. 

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It is always best to go in with a plan. Many festivals take place in large venues with multiple stages. So, who or what do you want to photograph the most? What bands or what shows do you believe will be the most interesting to photograph? Always plan each day out as it will give you time to get to each venue and scope out the best location to snap some photos.  

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      2. Get a spot at the front of the stage. 

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Do you want to be able to get the best photos of the bands and artists that are performing? The best option for this is to get a spot at the front of the stage. Now, this can be a grueling task to do. It can entail a lot of pushing and shoving, but if you can stand it, you may be able to capture some amazing shots of artists that you wouldn’t be able to get from any other angle. If you are wanting a spot at the front of the stage for the headliner, you will need to get to there a few bands early because the later in the day you go, the less of a chance you’ll have to get a good spot.   

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     3. Bring extra batteries. 

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Now if you use your phone or you are able to bring your camera, bring extra batteries. Whether that’s extra charged batteries or a portable charger, it’s worth it because one of the worst things that can happen for an amateur photographer is having their phone or camera die when the headlining act is about to come on stage.  

We hope that this information helps you with what to do, and what to bring as an amateur festival photographer. Do you have any useful tips that we did not mention? Are you planning on going to any festivals this year? Let us know in the comments!  

 

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