Photography tips for taking parade at the audience seat
Even if you are stuck at the audience seat of a parade or event, you can get some good photos as well!
Shoot in raw
This is what most professional photographers would advise and I have to repeat. During such parade, always expect the unexpected. Lighting will change within split second and you probably won't be able to capture everything in good exposure. Even if you are using any of the auto modes, things may change right after you half press your shutter button. Shooting in raw will allow you to at least adjust the lighting better during post-production.
- You don't need flash when subjects are properly lighted
Unless your flash is very powerful. If you have paid attention, lighting for parades like the Chingay in Singapore is always quite well designed. At least, the spotlights behind the audience will be shone properly from the top at the featured performers. If you see audience using DSLR with on-camera flash, you can give a good laugh over it.
- Not all moment requires fast shutter speed
When you want to capture some movements, you don't need an extremely fast shutter speed. When lighting isn't at its best, don't push your shutter speed further.
- Try not to include the audience's heads
Too many heads inside your photos will make your shoot lousy. Try to avoid shooting the audience's back head most of the time! Of course, it's quite inevitable if you are not sitting in the first row.
- Audience in front of you can make good framing
There may be times when audience will make good framing for your photos. You can also capture the excitements of the audience, which will make the photos more interesting.
- Stand to shoot when necessary
You probably can't be the best audience who will remain seated throughout the parade if you want to be a photographer. Many inconsiderate "photographers" will stand up for very long time to show off their iPads and iPhones, and if you remain seated all the time, you can probably capture only the expensive gadgets.
- Do not irritate audience behind you
Stand to shoot but don't stand all the way! Get up of your seat to capture one or two shots of the moment you deem interesting and sit down as soon as possible. The audience behind you have paid to catch the parade and not at you and your camera. Be nice even though those people in front of you are probably not!
- Capture the banner of each contingent
You want your photography fans to know who are the performers representing. Besides, many contingents will spend effort to decorate their banners!
- Enthusiasm of participants are gems
One of the best things about parade like Chingay is the enthusiasm of the participants. Their expression is something you can never capture during a portraiture photoshoot. If you are able to change into a zoom lens, capture some of these faces with close-up shots. Unfortunately, the audience seats are probably very cramp and the entire place may be too dusty or dirty to protect the camera's sensor. Furthermore, you may need a wider angle lens any time. Lastly, do take note of the shutter speed for the focus distance to avoid camera shake!
- Pay attention to nice lighting sources and capture them
If the parade is conducted at night, there will be many great lighting. As you snap the energetic performers, remember to check out the nice lighting sources and the beams of light to get some nice photos.
- Get ready for fireworks
There may be a couple of short duration fireworks throughout the parade but there will be a final one in the end. Make sure you don't be caught off-guarded for too long and miss any of the moment.