Blog, Photography

8 Tips for Shooting Music Festivals

By Elle Lively 

1. Work out your schedule. 
Take a look at the line up before you arrive and prioritize what is important to you and the festival. Don’t forget to set aside time for shooting activities and interactions outside of the stages!
2. Overpack. 
Bring the kitchen sink, if you can fit it in the Subaru. You might need it. Inevitably, you’ll need those extra SD cards, or someone will need to borrow that cable. Make sure your gear is secure and easy to identify. While you’re shooting, you’ll want to keep it light, but it is a good idea to have back ups somewhere safe.
3. Bring your own power source. 
Outlets are a hot commodity at most festivals, so plan for the worst case scenario. Invest in a power converter for your car. Pack a power strip and maybe event a small extension cord. A small extension cord has saved the day many times. Bring extra camera batteries and AAA/AA batteries.
4. Communicate with the artists stage managers. 
Bands and vendors appreciate the introduction before their set. I usually contact them on Facebook, or through their management about a week before the festival. Some bands will have their own photographers that you can link up with. If you didn’t get an opportunity to contact them before the festival, make sure you touch base with the stage manager, or someone with the band before you start shooting. I have a tendency to find the drummer, because I will want to get a shot from his viewpoint. It also helps to ask him how much the other band members move around on stage.
5. Be invisible. 
If you plan on being side stage, or behind the scenes, wear something comfortable that will help you blend in. You don’t want to be distracting or take focus from the artist you are shooting. When in doubt, go with the old black on black blend and stay to the back.
6. Keep social media up to date. 
While some people are taking a break from their phones, lots of people are snapping photos and checking in. Keep your social media story up to date and add to the event story. People will recognize your work and name.
7. Just be still. 
Don’t run around the entire time. Take a minute. Sit in a field, or better, sit in a crowd. Take time to identify human interactions you can capture. Those will be your best shots.
8. Cull in camera. 
You’re probably going to overshoot since people are constantly moving and you want the best shot. Don’t be afraid to cull in camera when you have a spare minute. Protect the images that stand out. 100 great photos are better than 500 okay photos.

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