How to Capture Great Parade Shots

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With Thanksgiving and Christmas not too far away, there are going to be quite a few parades happening around North America.

These often make great photo opportunities as they’re usually quite colorful and exciting with lots of visual entertainment going on.

It’s not too hard to get some great parade photos as it can be done with a simple digital camera along with good positioning and timing.

As usual, you need to be prepared. This means make sure you have spare batteries and enough memory cards. Also, be sure to dress for the occasion as you don’t want to be too hot or cold for the weather conditions.

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One of the keys to getting excellent shots is to grab a good viewing position along the parade route. If you know you’ll be close to the action you won’t need a zoom lens, but if you’re going to be far away then one is recommended.

To get a good position you’ll likely have to show up for the parade pretty early and stake out a spot. You may want to get right in the first row or you could prefer to set up shop on a ledge or balcony overlooking the event. If your camera’s lens is strong enough you’ll have the option.

Just remember, if you’re looking down on the parade you won’t be able to capture head-on shots from the same level, which are usually ideal parade photos. Try to stay away from the sun as you won’t want to take photos while looking directly into it.

It might be hard, but if you find a suitable position you may want to use a tripod to keep the camera steady. If it’s not possible, then make sure you use the device’s image stabilizer if it has one and use a fast shutter speed to fight off any camera blur.

Since there are usually a lot of people at parades you may find yourself being bumped and jostled. Also, remember that the participants in a parade are usually always moving, so you’re timing will need to be right.

However, keep your eyes open for any interesting shots since you might find something to attract viewers’ attention from behind even after the front of the parade has passed you by. If you have the room, it might be possible to actually walk along with the parade route.

Some photographers will actually get in front of the parade and walk backwards while taking their shots. If you attempt this, be very careful as you could easily trip over something that you don’t see.

You may want to take a wide-angle shot that features numerous participants or you might prefer to zoom in and focus on one or two specific people. Keep your eye on the spectators too since they often make for great subjects during a parade and can make a perfect background as well. You will often capture the joy and excitement in youngsters’ faces when their favorite characters pass them by along the route.

Taking photos of the participants preparing for the parade is also a good idea as many of them will be putting on or adjusting costumes while practicing their moves. Once you get home from the event you can always crop your photos with a computer software editing program and delete the ones that don’t meet your expectations.

Posted in: How Tos

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