We all have that one lens that we gravitate towards every time we pick up our cameras for me, it’s the 75-300mm f 4-5.6(you can get it here). For a lens of this range, it's smaller, lighter weight, cheaper than other lenses in this class. But don’t be fooled by this the lens is quite powerful and great for someone starting out or on a budget and need something with a large focal length.
I work primarily work outdoors and this lens is great for daytime shooting. When I shoot festivals it’s great for getting crowd shots and people milling around it also allows a very short me to get all the action on the stage, for portrait shoots gives a nice bokeh at longer focal lengths.
The glass quality in it is pretty good I can use a 13-year-old Canon 10D with it and still get great shots. There are a few downsides to this lens though there is no image stability, at longer focal lengths the images are little on the softer side, it needs a lot of light or higher ISO to get great images, and somewhat slow to autofocus. For me personally theses aren't big problems because of my shooting style, where I'm shooting
Depending on what you’re doing you can still make great use of this lens. If it is a little bit of learning curve trying to figure the best settings to maximise the lens used but that’s true of lens you buy.
If you're looking for something more powerful than this the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (you can get it here) is the way to go but just now the price goes up significantly but it’s sharper, not as slow to focus and doesn’t really have that softening problem. I still gravitate more 75-300 because of the fact that my gear gets too heavy with the other lens and I have to stop frequently due to a shoulder injury. I also don’t see a big enough image quality difference to warrant changing how I do things for now.
Have a favorite lens let me know in the comments below?
The dream for many rockstar photographers is to photograph festivals but not just any festivals the big ones like Riot Fest, Rockfest, Warped Tour, Welcome To Rockville etc... At least that's what it was for me when I started this 3 year ago. I can now say that I've had the chance to shoot Warped Tour a few times as well as quite a few local festivals that are sometimes more fun to shoot because they are more intimate. In this week's post, I'm going to walk you through the process of getting to shoot a festival.
There's a lot of work that goes into photographing a festival and it starts months before the festival even takes place. The first thing you need to do is get approved for a photo pass, for summer festivals the application process for photo passes normally happens in the early spring. Look on the festival's website and social media for how to apply. Most festivals give a press pass to photographers who work for publications. But what if you don't work a publication? Unless it's a requirement from the festival still apply you might still get one, or you could wait till they post who's playing the show and shoot for one of the bands, or you could shoot for the venue. So there are options for the photographer who don't work for a publication also these options can be your backup if you get turned down by the festival. When asking to shoot the most important information are who? what? when? and where? (unless you're asking the venue for which you leave out the where) keep it short but polite. You might not always get a yes but it never hurts to try and by being polite you may stand out so next time could be yes.
Every photographer has a camera bag (if you don't you need one) whether it's a small bag that holds one camera to a full on backpack. Depending on what you're shooting will change what things are in your bag. Today I'm going talk about shooting festivals. I will come back to the topic at a later date and talk about other shooting conditions.
I'm not really going to talk about camera and lenses because there's so much more you need to survive the day than that (trust me there are so many things you need). If you're shooting professional then your DSLR with 70-200mm and 75-300mm (my fav. lenses) or whatever lens you have will work. If you're shooting from the crowd a good point and shoot camera can get you some great shots.
This list is kinda long but it covers everything that has saved my ass at one point in time. Ready? Here we go:
1. Bring Backup
Always have a backup SD/CF card you never know when you'll fill one or have one become corrupt and not know how to fix it (I have had both of these things happen, don't be like younger me bring a spare). Also, invest in good SD/CF cards and card readers (I learned this the hard way when I first started out) the cheap ones break easily or simply give out after a few uses. I highly recommend using SanDisk Ultra cards they can be a little pricey but worth it (you can get SD cards here, you can get CF cards here). For card readers I use Insignia they run around the same as SanDisk and can read every type of card imaginable ( you can get the card reader here).
2. Bring a Spare
Spare batteries are always a great idea, external factors like heat can make your battery drain faster. You don't want to get half way through the day and have to stop because your batteries dead. I've seen for some battery types portable battery charger if they make it for the particular type you use get it. Do whatever you can to extend your battery life (no battery = no shooting) if that means bringing a charger with you and plugin if you have some free time do it.
3. Fuel For the Body
Water and snacks are the unsung heroes of festival photography. Think about it, it's hot, you're outside, on your feet all day, and may or may not have time for a break (usually you have 5 minutes the bathroom might be more important than the concession stand). I normally pack a few granola bars, fruit snack(I know I'm still a kid at heart), pretzels, trail mix, or fresh fruit. Pack things you can eat quickly in between sets that doesn't take up too much space in your bag and can be easily open. As for water, a large reusable water bottle is best because you will be drinking a lot (the last festival I shot it was 102° water was vital) and need a refill. Try to get something you can attach to your to bag (I have a clip-on lens holder that I use to hold water it attaches to my camera bag and can hold a pretty hefty bottle).
Ashley is a Virginia based photographer living her dreams of shooting concerts & interesting people. When she's not shooting or writing for the blog you can find her curled up with a good book and a latte (coffee keeps her going).