When I’m at festivals, I see a lot of people walking around with their cameras around their necks…. almost like they don’t know what to shoot. So I thought I would put together some ideas and maybe help to inspire some of you.
- Photographing street fairs is more than just photographing a massive crowd, and shooting things that are for sell (which most merchants don’t like). Attempt to get the atmosphere…. the kids playing, folks shopping, people laughing, unusual costumes, etc.
- One fun way of including the crowd, is to shoot an object with the crowd in the background.
- Move with the crowd, and things will catch your eye. Occasionally stop and stand somewhere empty on the side, and people watch. Interesting characters will walk by. Crouch to get kids or dogs (so you are at their eye level).
- It’s scary to take pictures of people face on, the nice thing about a fair is they usually don’t notice you! (It’s crowded, and there’s too much to look at.)
When people buy cool things, ask to take a picture with it. That’s one way to get use to taking pictures of people. Simply ask.
- Photographing the street entertainment is the funniest part! Don’t only get the performer, get the crowd watching the act as well. Try different perspectives, Move.
- Smile! Make eye contact. Tip if the performers if you can afford it.
- Actively use your camera. Keep it ready in your hand and ready to fire off a shot.
- Travel light. Pick one lens and stick with it.
When dealing with street fairs, I like to use a wide lens. My feet are the zoom when I need it. I’ll even use my cheapest kit lens. Not only is it my widest & lightest, but I’m not too worried about it getting damaged.
- Pay attention to your exposure. Sun and shade settings vary widely!
Shoot in the camera setting you are most comfortable with. I would shoot in auto “Program Mode” if I got more consistent results, but I get waaay more blown shots that way. Instead, I shoot in manual.I’m NOT an expert, especially when shooting in the daylight (I’m use to low-light concerts). I just found it easier to only worry about setting only the aperture, rather than the shutter speed (less options). So I started at f/7 and then jumped to f/11 when in shade. Shutter speed was around 200/250 (fast enough to avoid motion blur).
(If I was trying to get blurry backgrounds, I’d adjust my shutter speed instead, and leave the aperture wide open.)
If interested, here is the full gallery from this street fair.