How to Make Great Pre-Parade Pictures


Parades are a popular choice for photographers who want to make images of people. However, standing by the sidelines while people march or drive by doesn’t provide the most interesting and engaging photographs. Instead, I prefer to photograph people before and after a parade. It’s then that some of the best images are possible.


Approach People

People let their guard down during a parade and fully expect to be photographed. So, if you find an interesting subject don’t hesitate to ask to make their images. It’s one of the few situations where you’ll likely never hear the word “no”.


Show Their Preparation

The participants are focused on getting prepared, particularly if they are musicians. It’s a great time to make images as they are tuning their instruments. You can often make a variety of images using different perspectives and focal lengths.


Get in Close with a Wide Angle

Because you have such close access to your subject, you can make very intimate photographs. There is nothing better for doing this than a wide-angle lens positioned very close to your subject.


Don’t Forget the Details

The full story of a parade isn’t told unless you pay attention to the small details of a person’s costume, musical instrument or float. This small things can be just as beautiful a photograph as a portrait.


Concentrate on Faces

There are so many interesting characters at a parade. So, make portraits that emphasize these great faces. Use a moderate telephoto lens and a wide aperture to achieve a good look with a limited depth of field.


Show the Environment

Portraits are not just head and shoulder shots. Sometimes, a great portrait can include the environment or the space occupied by the subjects. Open up your compositions, which can make your subject stand out even more than they would in a tight composition.


Stay Open to Unusual Compositions

There is a lot of activity going on during and after a parade, which can lead to interesting and unusual compositions. Remember to think out of the box, rather than making another cliche photograph.


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