Finding The Moments

Two young women with painted skeleton faces kiss at the How Weird Street Faire held in San Francisco on May 13th, 2012.

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If you are a reader of my local photo blog In Startup Land then you have probably been seeing photos from some of the more interesting events that I photograph here in Silicon Valley. I like to photograph large events because there are always so many great photo opportunities.

The Kiss of Death by Peter Adams.
Two young women with painted skeleton faces kiss at the How Weird Street Faire held in San Francisco on May 13th, 2012.

But let’s face it, shooting a big event can be overwhelming.

Between the scheduled programming/activities, venue, and attendees there are often multiple photo opportunities happening at at the same time. In order to avoid becoming paralyzed by everything happening around you, I’ve found it essential to a develop plan for shooting the event before I show up. A game plan might be a very detailed shot list that requires prior scouting of the location or it might just sketch out the types of shots you want to capture. Either way works depending on the event.

Stanford Powwow held on May 11th, 2012. by Peter Adams.
Stanford Powwow held on May 11th, 2012.

I find that without a plan it’s just too easy to fall into the trap of trying to shoot everything. This usually results in very few strong images because you are stretched so thin photographically. Another helpful tool is to plan out the types of photos <i>not</i> to shoot (i.e. no posed groups, etc.). The “no-shoot” part of the plan helps you further tune out the visual noise and tune into moments you are really looking for.

Dancing Days by Peter Adams.
How Weird Street festival held in San Francisco on May 13th, 2012.

So the next time you need to photograph an event, try developing a game plan before you show up. I guarantee that it will make covering the event more enjoyable and productive.

Asha Holi Festival of Colors 2012 by Peter Adams.
Over 10,000 people attend the Holi festival of colors held at Standford University on April 8th 2012. The festival was organized by Asha for Education.

To see more on my reporting and event work head on over to In Startup Land.

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