Outdoor Events Photography Tips

The art and beauty of photography, brought me many many beautiful and priceless moments, the journey was long and still continuing, learning the art and technical aspects of photography are never ending and there’s always something new for me to learn, irregardless of the expertise and experience level that I have currently attained. One aspect of learning photography comes from sharing and Pay-It-Forward, sharing with my readers and supporters, on photography tips that I learned from books, mentors, self-learning and experimentation. I learn and improve just as much as from sharing my photography tips to friends and readers.

Today, in a new series of Photography Tips, I would be covering on the topic of Outdoor Events Photography Tips. This field of photography is very wide, what does it encompasses ? The outdoor events that I would be covering would be my experiences from attending and covering the following Outdoor Events

 BayBeats Singapore 2011 (Outdoor Rock Concert Performances)

(Canon 1Dmk3 and EF 70-200mm f4 L USM lens at 200mm, 1/40 sec at f/4, ISO 3200)

Chingay Parade 2012 Media Preview (Outdoor Multi Art Discipline Troupes Performances)

(Canon 1Dmk3 and EF 70-200mm f4 L USM lens at 70mm, 1/40 sec at f/4, ISO 3200)

 Singapore Night Festival 2011 (Outdoor Arts Night Performances)

(Canon 1Dmk3 and EF 70-200mm f4 L USM lens at 70mm, 1/80 sec at f/4, ISO 3200)

Regenerating Communities at Empress Place ~ Sin Hoe Ping Puppet Troupe Performance (Outdoor Traditional Arts Performances)

(Canon 1Dmk3 and EF 70-200mm f4 L USM lens at 70mm, 1/250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 3200)

The art of writing long paragraphs might be too lengthy for readers trying to catch the points quickly and easily. Therefore, in order to facilitate my sharing, there are selected photographs displayed, they were captured from the different events with their EXIF data and I have written them down into tips in the form of simple and short sentences –

General photography tips
– ISO selection
~ During a night performance, shoot at highest ISO level possible.

– Shutter speed selection 
~ Do vary the shutter speed accordingly, to get the effects you like and taking into account the lightings & surroundings.

~ Try using different shutter speeds such as 1/60 to 1/125 to produce the different effects in different lighting conditions.

– Choice of lens 
~ A telephoto lens is ideal or a must (you will usually be some distance away from the performing areas) e.g. Canon EF 70-200mm L lens, in a outdoor night performance, the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM Mk 2 lens is highly desirable and would be very powerful and useful. Other telephoto lens that can be considered too are the EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM or the EF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM, both are great versatile lens, ideal for events photography!
~ Do bring along a prime lens e.g. 50mm f/1.8, it can be very useful & versatile in situations that you might never think about!

– AF (Auto Focus) type selection
~ Using AI Servo would be ideal, with lots of action & movement in arts/events performance.

– WB (White Balance) type selection
~ Depending on the lightings & surroundings, it might be tricky & for a start, using AWB is sufficient & it can be pretty accurate.

– Flash photography 
~ Flash photography is usually banned/not allowed at most outdoor performance events
~ Do take not that flash photography on the performers would hurt their eyes & may affect them in their performance, thus might be endangering their life too, especially if they are performing at high altitude or with pyrotechnics.
~ By shooting without flash, this allows you to capture it in its natural surroundings, lightings & ambience.

Other Key Photography Tips
– A tripod may not be ideal in certain events/situations, thus a monopod might be more useful and versatile.
– Be creative, think out of the box, don’t let it restrict your photography, let it flow and you would be surprised by what photography can bring out in you!

– Walk around & explore (if possible), this allows you to take many different photographs of the outdoor event, from different angles and perspectives.
– Be prepared for any changes & react accordingly e.g lighting changed from dark to bright, from bright to dim to dark and vice versa.
– If the situation allows & permission is granted by organisers, do visit the backstage scene & be up close & personal to the performers, their equipment & what actually goes on behind the scenes, the preparations, chat with the performers during rest time if it does not affect them in their preparation for their next performance or rest time.
– Capture the crowds watching the outdoor performance, it’s not just about the Outdoor Events Performance, the crowds and supporters play a key role too!

Key Non-Photography Tips
– Be courteous and considerate.
– Do research on the event & venue before attending, it helps you to be more prepared.
– Do arrive earlier at the event venue & have a “feel” of the surroundings, it helps you to get the “Feeling” that we photographers always seek/want to have before shooting the outdoor event.
– Do wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
– Do bring a water bottle & keep yourself hydrated.

The beauty and art of photography gives us a chance to capture many beautiful memories and moments, yet it can also be a medium in its purest photography arts form, to help champion/spread a noble cause such as heritage and cultural preservation and awareness. In my recent photojournalistic coverage and documentation of Sin Hoe Ping Puppet Troupe, at the Regenerating Communities at Empress Place, my photography and writing, along with the usage of social media channels and networks, it gave me a sense of happiness and achievement that my photographs and coverage were able to help Sin Hoe Ping Puppet Troupe in  a small part to gain more awareness and publicity.

(Canon 1Dmk3 and EF 70-200mm f4 L USM lens at 70mm, 1/100 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800)

(Canon 1Dmk3 and EF 70-200mm f4 L USM lens at 118mm, 1/100 sec at f/5.6, ISO 3200)

While you are out there today, taking photographs at different types of outdoor events, enjoy your photography, keep photographing, sharing and learning! You would never know how your photographs someday would make an impact in other’s life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *