Six simple rules for taking unforgettable photos at the Sydney Vivid Festival

The Sydney Vivid Festival is a great test of your low-light skills and your patience, not to mention a chance to capture Sydney at its most beautiful

The Sydney Vivid Festival is a great test of your low-light skills and your patience, not to mention a chance to capture Sydney at its most beautiful

 

So you’re planning to make the trip into town for the annual Vivid Festival, eh? Here are a few simple tricks to ensure your snaps of the occasion become the envy of your Facebook feed…

  1. Bring a tripod. Yes, it’s a pain in the backside, but do you want great pics or not? Vivid happens only once a year, and this is the one guaranteed way of getting clean, motion blur-free photos of the lights.
  2. Under-expose. Remember, the lights are super-bright against the darkness that inhabits most of the frame, so you want to under-expose the frame so that the details in the lights look even cleaner.

    Don't worry about exposing the people – expose the light correctly and the people will look after themselves.

    Don’t worry about exposing the people – expose the light correctly and the people will look after themselves. Also: if you forgot to bring a tripod, find a way to stabilise your arms, like my buddy Amos has in this photo.

  3. Leave the flash at home. Or just turn it off. If you really must get people in frame, let the natural light do its work.

    Why bother bringing a flash when there’s already so much light to do the work for you?

  4. Don’t just capture the lights – capture the things around them to give it some context.
  5. Prepare a map of the best locations to shoot from and the route you’re going to walk.
  6. Be prepared to wait for your shot. The best locations are always swarming with people, but all you need is that split-second where the path is unexpectedly cleared and you can capture your moment.

    Don't just capture the lights – capture everything that's happening around them, too!

    Don’t just capture the lights – capture everything that’s happening around them, too!

 

For more tips, check out my workshop on taking better photos in low light.

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