Shooting a festival, parade or some other kind of event is a great way to practice photographing people in a brand new context. The participants are on display and welcome photographs giving you an opportunity to concentrate on making pictures. And that's the latest assignment: attend some kind of event with the intention of taking a series of shots that captures the overall flavour of the event.
Be sure to position yourself ideally in relationship to the movement of participants, the light and the crowds. A position near the finishing area of a parade, for example, often means fewer spectators to contend with. Don't forget, however, the spectators are part of the spectacle. As the procession proceeds, gaps will form and some floats will straggle giving you more time to act and react. Towards the end of the route participants will be getting tired and may more easily let their guard down. Additional opportunities will present themselves as participants wrap up, disengage and dissemble the event.
If it's a parade-style event you'll have to work fast as the action moves by and new opportunities crop up in quick succession. Focus on people but be sure not to forget the pageantry, the colour and the message of the event. Use close cropping to focus on details such as balloon clusters, banners and other decorative elements.
This is a good opportunity to practice, under pressure, a number of the techniques you've been learning through this series of assignments: blurred motion, silhouette and other high contrast type photos, close cropping, backlighting and unusual angles. As an event photographer you'll need to think on your feet, adapt quickly and follow through.
The following photos were taken at Vancouver's annual Pride Parade.
Colour and costumes at the Vancouver Pride Parade.
Hey sailor, new in town?
Freedom and joy under the sun.
Handing out beads to the unwashed masses. Snapped at the height of the action.
Reflective surfaces add a new dimension, depicting onlookers and milieu, as a brass band marches by.
A T-shirt slogan sums it up.
Rainbows of colour.
Panning with the action helps eliminate the crushing crowds.
Focus on details to tell the whole story.
All photographs were taken by Brian Grover.