- If you only have one camera body, an all-in-one lens works really well. This way you can zoom in close for detail shots and go wide to capture an entire scene. If you have more than one camera body, I recommend a wide zoom and a telephoto zoom. For the parade I shot last weekend, I had a 24-70mm f 2.8 on my D40 and my 70-200mm f 2.8 on my D90. This way I didn’t have to worry about swapping lenses and I could grab the camera with the lens I needed for the shot.
- Pack as light as possible. Why? You’re going to be around a lot of people and you don’t want to take the chance of having to set something down. When you look again, it may have been damaged or may not even be there! A small shoulder bag works well if you need to have a bag with you. Know what you need before you go and it will save you from packing around too much gear.
- Position yourself somewhere that provides you a unique perspective. This is very important. Everyone out there with their point and shoot and DSLR on Auto mode will be standing up. If you shoot from that same perspective, your pictures will look the same as theirs do. Sit on the curb or get up somewhere higher than everyone else and I guarantee that your photos will be better than the guy standing on the street.
- Shoot in Aperture Priority mode. This will give you consistent Depth of Field in your photos and leave the exposure work up to the camera. Today’s cameras will make very good exposure decisions, so you don’t have to worry about it. If you shoot in Manual, you might miss “the shot” while your adjusting aperture or shutter speed.
I shot the image of the car above with my D90, 70-200mm f 2.8, ISO 200, at f 5.6 @ 70mm. The camera chose 1/800th of a second for shutter speed and I had -1/3 Exposure Compensation dialed in to tame the highlights just a bit.
So remember these tips the next time you head out to shoot a parade and you’ll be thankful you did. I promise you will be happy with the results!