How to Photograph Parades for Maximum Results

THE IMAGES ARE FROM THE 2009 ASHEVILLE, NC CHRISTMAS PARADE. YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE GALLERY OF IMAGES BY CLICKING HERE. 1.  Think location Stake out a good spot by getting to the route early and walking it — backwards.  No, I don’t mean walking while constantly looking over your shoulders  I mean start at the end of the parade route and walk towards the starting point. This can seem like a no-brainer, but lighting can be tricky when a parade passes between buildings of varying heights.  You could end up getting half of your subject well lit while the other half is in shadows. Also during your backward walk, keep an eye out for possibly interesting backgrounds and other components of the puzzle that will help you make a good story with your images. 2.  Use your feet Don’t plant your keister on the curb and wait on all the paraders to come by you.  Get off your butt and move around.  Do what you see real photojournalists doing; moving with the parade, winding in and out of the floats and staying in the street. 3.  Join the parade Get close to the action.  Even if you have to volunteer to to something, you may get access to backstage areas or other places that most shooters won’t be allowed to enter. 4.  Don’t be afraid to back-light your subjects Lighting can be really tricky along a parade route.  I try to put the sun behind my subjects and then expose so they are well lit.  The sun can create a “rim light” and separate the subject from the usual boring buildings behind them. 5.  Use a telephoto lens and still get in close Most amateurs think that telephoto lenses are only for shooting distance objects.  While that’s good use, you can also get double duty from your lens by zooming in on your subject while being up close.  A great photographer said if you’re not close enough to smell the subject, you’re too far away.  That’s true, even if you have a telephoto lens in place. 6.  Try to create a story. As you shoot the parade, try and create a series of images that tell the story of the event.  Think of relating it to someone who wasn’t there to watch it in person.  What do you see, hear, feel, taste and touch?  What is the main thing you want people to know about the parade.  Professionals will tell you that you need to cover wide, medium and long. Shoot some wide shots, get the medium range like one person or one float and then show tight shots of costumes or musical instruments. Try also to catch some action images, dancers in mid-bounce, drummers with their hands in motion. A story also needs a beginning, a middle and end.  Try to think of these things while you photograph and your results may surprise you.  Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America.  His latest book of photography, Suenitos tells the story of the only daycare inside the dangerous Hidden City.  Now based in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe.  Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today. Follow this link to read more of his work on Huffington Post and Examiner.  Have a story that needs to reach national media?  Email him today. In addition to being photo editor for the Internet’s largest collection of Travel Articles, Outbounding, he is also the lead photographer for BuenosTours, the specialists in private walking tours of Buenos Aires Are you a blogger? Journalist? Photographer?  Get your work featured on JourneyAmerica.  As a Guest, you can link up to three times back to your website, your portfolio or your business.  To see some of the other guests that have been featured, select “Guest Post” category on the right side of the screen in “the cloud”.  Questions?  Email me today. Every week I get many requests from bloggers, travel writers and photographers to provide content for their websites.  While I’m always glad to help out, sometimes the amount of work requested can get a little overwhelming.  I’ve enlisted “BlogDash” to help me sort out the pitches. If you’ve emailed me about writing for your blog or providing other online content and I haven’t answered, I’m not ignoring you.  I just haven’t dug that far down in my emails yet.  To make doubly sure you get your pitch noticed, please click on the “BlogDash” button and enter your request there.  Thanks for understanding!

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