Hold Your Camera Close: Getting Photos for a Festival from the Moshpit

Written by Henry

September 3, 2023

In a crowd like this, there are plenty of distractions perfectly capable of pulling you away from the task at hand. Strobe lights in your eyes, a smell that is hard to explain, and a kick to the back of your head from someone doing cartwheels, for starters.

If you're able to focus through all of this, you will likely be rewarded with some great photo opportunities. These shows are incredibly reliant on high energy from both the performers and the crowd, and that energy can be captured very nicely with a photograph.

As you can see with the photos I got at Margaretfest above, there is a lot of negative space utilized. A large portion of each frame is engulfed by shadow. I enjoyed this approach a lot for this show, but I am looking forward to getting a different look at the next event. I do not necessarily have a set style I want to maintain with these live performance photos quite yet, so experimentation with camera settings and framing is needed.

The lighting provided by William was very color-oriented, and this effect made the majority of my photographs come out rather monochromatic. I really enjoy how unique this makes the end results without excessive manipulation in post. However, it seems that photos with a more typical range of colors come off more documentary than stylistic, which is also important, of course. Providing musicians with a variety of photos, some being more visually pleasing and others more depictive of the occasion, is my goal.

Although keeping my camera in one piece in the pit was a challenge at times, I got by just fine. My camera and lens combination of choice is rather compact, so I was able to protect it with some defensive elbows fairly easily. Those in attendance seemed aware of our presence as lighting and media support and were very kind in regards to being aware of the space and angles we needed throughout the show.

I am looking forward to getting more photography coverage at future shows and developing a personal style. Working alongside such passionate communities, such as the musicians of Margaretfest in San Luis Obispo, has been a great time. Keep your eyes peeled for more music content and collaborations in the near future!

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