On Saturday, I shot the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade for The Bellingham Herald. They needed me to choose one for the front page and then 5 more for the inside on A2.
A- It Isn’t Easy Being Green:
First, I had to make sure I got the names of the subjects. Second, find one that was symbolic in some form. Many of the images the participants in the parade lacked flair or symbolism.
B- Follow The Leader:
For the front, I chose A as I like the kid on the bike, the flow of the image, and the obvious St. Patrick’s Day feel. The other one is nice, but the dog is too prominent, the background is distracting and there isn’t really a good moment other than the two girls.
Had I had the names of the people in the photo below, It would’ve been a strong contender. I like the moment, composition, and their outfits. But since the parade was moving along somewhat quickly, it was difficult to get their names.
C- The One That Got Away:
Tips for Photographing Parades:
- Get INTO the Parade: have fun and shoot from the street. It will help you stay mobile and agile. Trying to shoot from the crowd is very limiting.
- Move between the entrants. Get low on the ground, shoot a few “Hail Mary’s.” Don’t just shoot from eye level.
- Use a wide-angle and get close. This adds intimacy and keeps your main subject large in the photo.
- Keep a telephoto on a 2nd body. It’s faster and easier to switch bodies than lenses. I dropped a lens and broke it doing this.
- Keep a notepad and pencil/pen ready to get names. It helps when editing if you have names.
- Pay extra attention when floats with horses come along. They can get spooked and stampede. Best to just go to the edge of the crowd and let them by.
- Just pay extra attention. Sometimes the drivers may not see you as they’re watching the crowd.
Which one would you choose and why? Would you submit the one of the band and use a generic caption? Or would you chose another one? Here is a link to the gallery from the parade: St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Bellingham, Wash.
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Paul “pablo” Conrad
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Paul Conrad is an award-winning, nationally and internationally published freelance photographer living in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Wash., north of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe.
His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.
His specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.