Moving abroad and starting over in a new country is one of the most terrifying yet thrilling adventures ever. Making the choice to move abroad is a big decision for anyone, but if you have children who will be making the move with you, the whole process can become even more intimidating. Here’s hoping that some of these TIPS in my video will help you on your way to a successful start as an expat when you move abroad. Good luck!
25 Tips for Shooting a Music FestivalEvents & Experiences
Photographing a music festival is one of the best experiences you can have as a gig photographer. The opportunity to shoot a variety of artists in one location can be hugely rewarding and great for your portfolio. However, the days are long and demanding, and the schedule relentless. In this article, you will learn some of the best tips to help you make the most of your festival shoot and how to enjoy it!
Making the most of your festival experience as a photographer is more than just turning up to the main stage and shooting. You’ll need to prepare for a very long day of shooting. Depending on the size of the festival the facilities for press and photographers can vary greatly. These days, unless you are shooting some of the big festivals, you’ll be lucky to get free water or somewhere to shelter.
Let’s look at preparing your kit bag:
1 – Camera
For most gig shoots you can get away with one body but if you can, take a 2nd body. If your primary body fails you might miss several days of photography. Also, a 2nd body with a different lens on will make switching focal lengths easier. If you don’t own one, borrow a body if you can. If you can’t borrow one, consider renting a 2nd body for a couple of days.
2 – Lenses
One of the big differences between shooting a gig at a local venue and a festival is that you will likely be a larger distance away from the stage. If you don’t have a fast, long focal length lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8, consider renting one from a company like Lenses For Hire.
3 – Batteries
Don’t expect there to be facilities where you can charge your camera batteries so make sure everything is fully charged and have a spare. It’s worth taking one of those portable battery packs to recharge items like your mobile phone or even your camera battery if it supports USB charging.
4 – Camera Bag
You will spend more time carrying around your camera gear than using it so be sure to pack everything into a comfortable bag that also allows you easy access. Choose a bag that has straps and supports in all the right places and will generally put up with most weather conditions.
Pack Other Equipment and Items
While camera equipment is arguably very important, packing these other items will make sure you are fully prepared.
5 – Lens Wipes and Micro Fibre Clothes
Whether it’s rain or flying beer, there is a good chance that your camera or lens might get wet. Keep a stock of lens wipes and microfiber clothes handy.
6 – Snacks
Though the variety of food and drink that can be found at festivals is mind-boggling these days, it can be expensive. Since the days can be long you could easily end up eating all 3 daily meals there. Save some cash and take your own water and food/snacks. Being hungry and thirsty will ruin your creativity and motivation, so stay fed and watered.
7 – Money
While taking your own food and drink will save you a lot of money, be sure to take some cash. It’s handy for emergencies when your own provisions run out, or you just want to treat yourself to a delicious cheeseburger or a refreshing summer drink.
8 – Clothing
When shooting a festival, the days are long and you will spend long periods of time either walking from stage to stage or standing about. You will want to wear very comfortable, but practical clothes. Comfortable walking boots, layered clothing, walking trousers, and waterproofs are your best friends. European festivals are well known for the mud and rain, and you will be miserable if you are soaked through and have muddy feet. If you are shooting on a sunny day, don’t forget sunblock.
Once you’ve got all your kit sorted, you need to have a plan.
Develop a Plan
Though you could just rock up to the gate and wonder about the festival for a few days, working out a few key items will allow you to better use the time you do have there.
9 – Work Out Your Schedule
Not all festivals will publish the running times of the acts, but you can at least review who you need to or want to shoot. Depending on the size, layout and running times of the festival, it may not be possible to photograph everyone. So, write a list of the artists that you either must and/or want to shoot. If there is a published running order with times please keep in mind this is always subject to change so be prepared to modify your schedule.
10 – Social Media Tags
If you are planning on sharing any of your images live from the festival now is the time to take note of any associated hashtags or account names. You probably won’t have a lot of time between artist performances so save yourself a bit of time and take note of some key social media tags. For each post, you’ll want to tag the band and the festival. Take a read of 12 Things To Do When Starting Out in Gig Photography for some tips on sharing your images.
11 – Getting There
Obviously, you know where the venue is but do you know how you are getting there? What are the parking restrictions? Do you need to pay for and get a parking permit in advance? How far are the stages from the car park? Take all these things into account and leave plenty of extra time.
12 – Collecting your Pass
Do you know where and from who you need to get your pass/ticket/wristband from? Sometimes your ticket will come in the mail, but your photo/pit pass will need to be collected on-site. Either way, give yourself plenty of time to sort this out. being stressed and anxious won’t help you resolve any issues more quickly.
13 – Site Map
If you can get a site map in advance so you can see where all the stages are this will help in the planning of your schedule
14 -Check Out Historical Photos
Unless this is the first year of a festival there will likely be a few images of the previous year’s somewhere on the internet, including the festivals own website. These images will help you understand what the layout looks like, key shooting locations, stage sizes etc.
At the Festival
You’ve done all your preparation, you arrive at the gate, get your pass and you’re in! Here are some things for you to think about:
No, this isn’t about checking your Facebook or Instagram feed while you’re there but your interactions with the other people that are working there. Some of the people you will find worth making friends with are:
15 – Fellow Photographers
You are unlikely to be the only photographer at a festival so there will always be someone to talk to when your hanging about the side of the stage waiting to get into the pit. Aside from it being a great way to do a bit of networking you can often pick up some useful information. By speaking to your fellow togs you might find out about schedule changes, cancellations, or even when the pyrotechnics in the front of the stage might go off! After you’ve done a few gigs and festivals you’ll start the see the same faces making the whole experience a bit more fun.
16 – Security
If you’ve read the article 12 Things To Do When Starting Out in Gig Photography, you’ll know how the value to the importance of the photographers’ relationship with security staff. While they are unlikely to give you access that you aren’t authorized to have, knowing your security staff will allow for an easier transition between stages and they are also a great source of useful information.
Tell the Whole Story
While the obvious draw for people when they come to a festival is the music, there is often so much more than going on.
17 – Check the Other Stages
Most festivals have a wide variety of acts on. Everything from circus performers, comedy acts, kids entertainers, DJs, open mic slots, etc. Make sure you go away from a festival with a wide range of photographs that help tell the story of the event.
18 – Shoot the Small Things
There is more to festival photography than getting an epic shot of a famous band. While you’re hanging about waiting for the next band or act to come on stage check to see if there is anything else worth photographing. For example, is there a collection of nice guitars or drums sitting on stage that makes for a good image?
19 – Photograph the Crowds
No festival photography story would be complete without shots of the crowd. The best time to shoot the crowd is just after a song has finished as this is the most likely time they will have their hands in the air. If you have a 2nd body make sure you have your wide-angle lens on so you can quickly turn around from the main stage and grab that wide-angle crowd shot.
20 – Talk to People
While you are walking between stages be sure to have your camera ready. It’s always worth walking with a smile and stopping with a chat. You will meet some amazing people and because you are relaxed they will be giving you a much better image.
Don’t Just Shoot from the Pit
There’s no doubt that shooting from the pit will provide you with some great angles and opportunities to capture amazing images. But have you considered:
21 – Shooting from the Mixing Desk
The mixing desk is a great location to get those epic crowd and stage shots. Try standing in front of the desk area and holding your camera above your head (live view and a tilting screen really help here). It may also be possible to get into the mixing desk area. It’s often on an elevated platform giving you a much better shot.
22 – Shooting from Side of Stage
This area is typically more controlled than other areas, but if you can get access shooting from the side of the stage can give you some really interesting shots. Images of the band or artist playing to a massive crowd make for some great shots.
If neither of these locations are directly on your list of areas you can access it’s always worth introducing yourself to the stage manager or someone on the mixing desk. Tell them who you are, and what you’d like to do. It won’t always result in access, but if you don’t ask you’ll never know if you could have.
23 – Get Sharing!
Nothing beats being the first photographer to get an image out onto the internet. So, if you have the capability, get your images out into your social media channels as soon as you can. Make sure you tag the band and the festival as well. The sooner you get your images out the more likely the band or festival will also share it.
Back at Home or the Office
24 – Import, Backup, and Tag
You’ve just spent 3 days in a muddy field and shot over 2000 images. The first thing should do is to get those images onto your computer. Import them straight away into Lightroom (or just onto your hard drive) so you have another copy. You should then kick off your backup routine which should be robust enough that you will have another copy of the images, and if possible and offsite/cloud copy.
Once you have multiple copies of your image data be sure to take some time and tag all your images with some metadata. At a bare minimum, you should tag them with the festival name and the name of the band or artists. No one likes doing this but it will make image selection and search much easier.
If you’ve gone home every night or had your laptop, you should do this every day of the festival.
25 – Select and Process Like A Pro
Unless you have a specific requirement to publish a number of images of each band or artist, you should ideally only select 2 or 3 images for processing. Be hard on your own work and only select images that will really make the cut. After a few solid days of festival work, the thought of having to process hundreds of images will be daunting and you may struggle to start.
By selecting on a couple of images of each band and some crowd shots, the overall number of images you will process will seem much more manageable and achievable.
If your publication, festival, or a band come back to you for more images, process some more then. Hopefully, you will have tagged all your images so finding the right images will be easy. If you are using a program like Lightroom, most of the time you can copy the develop settings from one of your previously develop photos.
It’s Hard Work but Fun
Photography of a festival is hard work, but hopefully, the tips above will let you plan and execute your festival shoot a little more effectively. But most of all, just make sure you enjoy it!
Do you have any festival photography tips? Was there anything on that list that you hadn’t considered? Let me know in the comments below.
Post Courtesy: Improve Photography
Event: 1. The Schlagermove Parade, Hamburg.
2. Jungle Carnival, Hagenbecks Tierpark.
Photography – Food on WoodAbout, Décor
As my appreciation and interest in food photography began to grow, I looked for ways to get better. One thing I realized was how important the presentation of the entire picture was.
Aged wood backgrounds really bring character to a food photograph. They seem to have an incredibly weathered look that’s capable of taking an ordinary bowl of mac & cheese and making it look insanely sophisticated, elegant, and even rustic.
I had a job with a major client last week and they had this amazing wooden interior. Their modern design with wooden furniture, flooring and ceiling, wooden dining furniture and shelves not only enhanced my photographs, but also helped me get some magical clicks!
Are you thinking about creating a wooden background for yourself to take food pictures on? Well, if you happen to be a DIY person (or know someone) then I highly recommend building your own reversible food photography table top.
I also recommend investing in a set of Lowel EGO lights. They give off a nice soft light that will elevate your photo quality even more.
Her First Grain of RiceEvents & Experiences, Lifestyle
Stressing out on what you should prepare for baby’s Annaprashan? Don’t sweat it, mum. From the ceremony to the menu, my tips will help get you through.
In Bengal it is a tradition to feed a baby his/her first grain of rice around 6 months before the tooth shows..it is an initiation into solid foods. There is however a rule, it is performed during the even months for boys, generally in the child’s sixth or the eighth month. For girls, it is performed during the odd months, usually fifth or the seventh month, so we performed our daughter Aarvi’s on her fifth month. I have been curious why this is followed in different months..do the food pipes differ for girls and boys..anyways it doesn’t matter..the rice eating ceremony is just a custom and is quite cute.
The rice eating ceremony is called “Annaprashan” or “Mukhebhaat” in Bangla meaning “entry of grain” and “rice in mouth” respectively.
Traditionally this ceremony is carried out in the child’s paternal home where the maternal uncle is invited to feed the child his/her first grain of rice. In our case, we were living abroad, so we had to do it without the uncle and her father had to play the role of her uncle in feeding her.
The morning started off with Puja to seek the blessings of God and to mark the beginning of the auspicious day.
We had also arranged a spa bath for her. She had an awesome first spa bath experience, she seemed to have enjoyed the process very much.
Followed by the spa bath, she was dressed in traditional attire which was followed by the symbolic feeding of the rice pudding (kheer/payash) that was prepared by her father. This vidhi was then followed by a grand feast and cake cutting ceremony.
Apart from the kheer, salad, fried vegetables (potato, brinjal, bitter guard), dals, curries and flavored rice were some of the food items served. I included chicken, prawns, raaita (yoghurt mixed with spices and fruits), tomato sweet and sour chutney, sweets, dates, dry fruits, Belgian chocolates on the menu.
The religious feast was then followed by a fun game where a number of symbolic objects were placed on a plate which she had to pick up. The objects included:
1. Books symbolizing learning.
2. A pen symbolizing wisdom.
3. Money/Jewels symbolizing wealth.
4. Clay symbolizing land/property.
5. Knife symbolizing dignity of a king.
It is believed that the object a baby picks up from the plate represents his/her area of interest in future. In our case, she picked the book and pen at the same time with both her hands.
With so much to arrange and a little baby to take care of, here are some handy and delightful tips for a hassle-free event:
-Send a colourful, well-worded invite with your baby’s picture to all the guests.
-Plan ahead of the event. Select your child’s traditional outfit, call the priest and arrange for the puja articles much in advance.
-Arrange for adequate space and decorations in your house or at the banquet hall for the guests.
-Make sure your baby is well rested before the ceremony. Carry a stocked up diaper bag if the venue of the event is not home.
-Keep few familiar toys handy to distract the baby if he gets overwhelmed by the crowd.
-Ensure the fabric of your baby’s outfit does not discomfort her. If you are planning to use any jewellery on your baby, make sure it doesn’t hurt him/her.
-Share your plans in detail with your spouse or a family member. In case you disappear to feed your baby or calm her down, someone can take over the show!
-Hire a photographer or take charge to capture all the precious moments of your baby’s big day.
Whether conducted on a big or small scale, any parent would love to make their child’s Annaprashan ceremony memorable. So go ahead, make this occasion of your baby’s life, a momentous one.
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the Annaprashan ceremony, please share them in the Comment box below.
Taking a DipEvents & Experiences, Travel and Food
☀☀ During summers, pool parties are the only best way to beat the heat whilst party hard!
As summer season has hit most of the countries, you would be flooded with pool party invitations. Pool parties have always tempted and mesmerised party animals! It is fun and relaxing to hang out with friends inside the pool with a bottle of beer. However, pool water has chlorine that can damage your skin and hair. So, before heading for a water based party, you need to take some preventive measures to look perfect for the party. Party freaks need to know some smart tips to maintain themselves while partying like a rockstar!
Wax ——- Before hitting any pool party, you must wax your body so that the exposed skin doesn’t look ugly!
Sunscreen ——- If you have a pool party in the daytime, the scorching rays of the sun can tan you and make you look dull and dark. So do not forget to apply a sunscreen before going to the party. No matter what skin tone you have, always apply sunscreen and apply it often. Sunscreen is your most valuable investment and you can’t go wrong with multiple applications throughout the day. The sunscreen application is easier than ever when you use the spray sunscreen. And for those of you who want to tan, it is a total myth that you can’t tan while wearing sunscreen. You will not only tan through sunscreen, but you will keep your skin healthy! (Priorities, people!)
Know how to swim ——- Better yet, know how to dive! This will come in handy when the rude kids dare you to jump off a high dive.
No hairstyle ——- If you try some tricky hairstyle for the pool party, all the hard effort will go in vain once you jump into the pool. So, do not bother about your hairstyle.
Clean nails ——- This is one of the most important tips to remember before going to a pool party. Cut your nails to avoid hurting yourself, look clean and also maintain hygiene.
Sunglasses ——- Grab a sexy pair of sunglasses and you can enjoy the party to the fullest. Use plastic ‘glasses’ for drinks as broken glass is not what you want to have to deal with. You really should make sure your sunglasses protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays. The UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin, hitting the dermis, while UVB rays usually burn the first layer of skin. By any means, your eyes also fall victim to the sun’s strong rays and deserve the same kind of protection that your skin does.
Extra clothes/swimsuits ——- Before jumping into the pool, you need to keep a stock of fresh clothes. You cannot roam all around or return in wet clothes. So, carry extra clothes with you. You really don’t want to forget this! Be sure you take along an easy change of clothes, and a swimsuit cover up, so you can be comfortable before, during and after the pool day.
Slippers over heels ——- At pool parties, wear something that makes you feel comfortable. Wear slippers as they are waterproof and won’t even damage easily.
Wear a swimsuit you are comfortable with ——- There are tons of styles out there. The most practical of them all is probably a sweet heart neckline or straight neckline tankini swimsuit. A tankini is like a bikini except it has a full tank style top instead of a undergarment style top. Wear your swimsuit to the party, underneath your clothes or cover up.
Pack a tote with essentials ——- Carry along with you a strong roomy tote bag containing some stuff. Here are the basics:
- 2 towels- one to dry yourself and one in case your towel is wet and you jumped back in the water
- A water bottle. You have to stay hydrated to keep your fuel up. Try to get the reusable ones. Be eco!
- A hairbrush or comb, to brush out the wet ratty hair.
- A spare change of clothes in case your other gets wet.
- Personal items
Jewellery ——- Prefer minimal jewellery as your expensive assets can fall off while you are busy enjoying the pool party. Take it off before throwing yourself into any games.
First Aid kit ——- Your first aid kit should be specific to these pool days, and you can take it around with you from pool party to pool party. The contents of the first aid kit should contain:
- Petroleum jelly for cracked skin relief
- Aloe for sunburns
- Waterproof bandages
- Insect repellant
- Anti-itch cream
- Ear drops and eye drops
Now if you have all of these items ready you have passed the poolside preparedness test! You are completely ready for fun in the sun – be sure to work on that cannonball form, too! What are your favorite items to take to the pool? What are your summer plans? Share in the comments!