Photography tips - Festival and street theater photography

Festivals and Street Theatre


When photographing festivals and street theater, many forms of photography come together:

  • street photography
  • portrait photography
  • action photography
  • evening photographing/photographic with low light

In addition, you have to be active yourself, and a little cheeky sometimes! In order to get the best places to take pictures, you sometimes have to look for the boundaries of the organizers and the people around you. Often say “sorry “and “am I not too much in the way here?” and hold your camera up so they can see you're a photographer!

I also apply this tactic myself, although I photograph for my private album, but it works! ; -)


At festivals you have to deal with different, sometimes rapidly changing conditions. There is often a lot ofmovement, thelighting conditions change continuously, you sometimes want to details and sometimes aoverview of the whole...

If you've read my earlier blogs, maybe there's going to be some rides about the best settings under these circumstances? That would be top, but I will also give below the institutions that can serve as a starting point. From there, you can adjust the settings according to your own preferences and the conditions on the spot!

Camera Settings

  1. Focus: Manual or S (ingle) autofocus
  2. Aperture preferably as large as possible, so a low f-value
  3. ISO value at automatic
  4. Shutter speed 1/500 (low zoom) to 1/1000 to 1/2000 when zoom in and low light
  5. +/- (exposure compensation) is your best friend! Up to 1 stop over - or under exposure makes a lot of difference!

Below I will explain my choices a little further

1. Preferably, you shouldmanual focus, because the camera sometimes has some difficulty with the changing conditions. But hey, I'm not crazy either, I can imagine you don't have time for that when so much happens around you! If you choose Autofocus, go forsingle focus/S-Auto! Then the camera focuses once, it does not keep focusing on movement!

Focus can be done at different focus points, or at 1 point. Put your camera onsingle point focus, with the arrow keys you can then determine the focus point.

2. It would be nice if you had a lens that is photosensitive. (a low minimum f-value e.g. f/2.8) Now you often want to be able to switch between detail and overview photos at festivals, so: either you have to change lenses, or use a lens with a range between 18 - 200 mm. With that the light sensitivity often deteriorates, especially if you continue to zoom in! Then hold theaperture as large as possible (lowest possible f-value)

With a low aperture value, you can catch as much light as possible, allowing you to keep the ISO value relatively low, and the shutter speed as short as possible to avoid blur of motion!

3. TheISO value (photosensitivity of the censor) I put in this situation onautomatic. Because the lighting conditions can change continuously, and the actions often go very fast, it is often not necessary to adjust that manually.

4. For the shutter speed it is difficult to give a value. Just because I want to be able to play with it. In general, at festival photography you want tofreeze images, so do not capture movement. Then you chooseas short as possible shutter speed! With a standard 50 mm lens, you often need a shutter speed of 1/500s if you zoom in to 1/1000s or 1/2000s. Sometimesmovement of course nice to capture, then you go for a longer shutter speed, for example a show with flags!

5. The exposure compensation buttonis your greatest friend! Your camera measures with average light values of the overall picture (yes, you can change this too, but we do not assume that now with the continuous changes of the light). Then it may be that your subject is overexposed or underexposed! With the exposure compensation button you can easily adjust that:

  • subjecttoo light —> button to the - turn, you're going to take the pictureunderexpose!
  • subjecttoo dark —> button to the+ turn, you're going to take the pictureoverexpose!

often is a compensation of1/2 or 1 stop Sufficient!

Especially a lot of fun taking the pictures. And from the festival or theater!

#festivalfotografie #fotografietips #avondfotografie #portrait photography #street photography #action photography #sluitertijd #diafragma #iso #camerainstellingen #handmatigscherpstellen #singlefocus #belichtingscompensatie

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