Fun and games at Artnival Part 2

Emilie Michele Gleisberg, acrobat from the Great All American Youth Circus awed the crowds with her display of strength, poise and control. 

Chance favors the prepared, so I read somewhere.

It’s definitely true especially when covering an event.

In part 2 of my coverage of Riverside’s Artnival over the weekend, here are some tips.

Choosing a vantage point that backlights your subjects is often an easy way to make subjects standout. The trick is to watch for lens flare which destroys image integrity by loss of contrast. Ironically, lens flare is now being added in post production in Photoshop to perfectly good pictures as an creative device?

#1 Pick up a program

Most event organizers want the public to see all the acts they booked, so they usually schedule accordingly.

On the outside chance they don’t and there’s a conflict, you at least have a way to plan what you want to photograph.

#2 Get the lay of the land

If possible walk around the grounds to see where everything is situated.

As you’re doing this, figure out where the sun will be as it sets if you’re staying that long, of course.

You’re looking for the best spot to shoot from, avoiding backgrounds that are many many times brighter than your subject.

#3 Get close

Kimberly Rodriguez got wet for a good cause as she sat in the ‘un-dunk tank’

Don’t be afraid to get close to your subjects.

Chances are, in a park-like setting, there is a lot of clutter and people in the background.

Sometimes even using a telephoto doesn’t blur out the clutter.

If you can’t get any closer, it may help to shoot raw.

You will have more pixels to discard and crop the image afterwards.

But it’s always best to shoot tight in the viewfinder because the depth of field is shallower.

I used a 50 mm lens exposed at 1/4000 sec @f2 ISO 200








#4 Use Flash

Using off-camera flash in this situation allowed me to tame the contrast and keep the colors and tones on my subjects saturated. 1/250 sec @ f8.

Don’t forget to pack your flash and your off-camera sync cord.

There might be times when you can’t move your portrait and the light is just impossible.

Yes, there’s plenty of light outdoors but the light isn’t going to fall where you want it.

Bringing your flash gives you some measure of control.

When you have a flash especially one with High Shutter Speed synch capability, you have a lot more control.

#5 Use long lenses

I photographed my friend Mary Pope with my zoom set at 80mm wide open at f2.8, making sure the closest object in the background is far away so she stood out.

Whenever possible, shoot with a long lens to blur out the distractions in backgrounds but keep an eye on the camera recommended shutter speed.

Since I don’t own a image stabilized lens, I have to brace and squeeze off my exposure even at 1/500 second.

#6 Set White Balance as close as possible

To cut down on your post production, get your White Balance as close as you can.

Even if you are shooting raw, it doesn’t hurt to get this as close as possible.

Also, even though it’s daylight and you’re outdoors, the leaves from trees can act like a green filter.

#7 Be Friendly 

In today’s world, it may be a good idea to make it obvious you are taking pictures instead of trying to be sneaky. That way if parents are not happy about having their kids’ pictures taken, they can let you know so you can move on. Respect their wishes.

Don’t forget not to act creepy especially true when you’re going to be photographing children.

You might want to speak to their parents first and tell them who you are and what you’re doing.

It doesn’t hurt if you have a business card and you give this to them.

It doesn’t have to say you are a pro photographer either.

Here is another picture of Emilie. Which do you prefer? I think I like this one better because her body position and the way the fabric is hanging at an angle makes for a more dynamic composition. Let me know by voting on the poll on the left sidebar. If you’d like to explain your choices, please do so under comments, won’t you?

If you missed part 1 of this post, read more about Artnival.

Peter Phun Photography

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2 thoughts on “Fun and games at Artnival Part 2”

  1. Hello Liz,
    Thanks for the input. Since this poll first went up, I haven’t wavered from my first choice–the strong diagonal. The 2nd picture feels too static because it is so straight up and down and very vertical except for her hair frozen by the shutter speed.

  2. Peter, I like both pictures of the girl but I think I like the 1st one better. I like the color a bit better & the feel of more movement. But I do like the position of her in the 2nd one.

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