8 ways to get better photos at Vivid

Photo: Colin Baker.

Vivid Sydney 2017, the world’s largest celebration of light, music and ideas, switches on tonight, with more than 90 installations and projections across the city.

This year Barangaroo has been added to the lit precincts over the next 23 nights until Saturday, June 17.

Of course plenty of people want to capture the moment with their camera, but shooting at night can be tricky, so we asked photographer and Canon Collective ambassador Colin Baker for tips on what to do.

“Let’s be honest, everyone shoots the same shots of the Opera House every year, and although you may be content with the results, if this is your second or third Vivid experience get out of shooting the icon shots and think a bit more outside the box,” Baker said.

So here are his eight tips to get the best out of shooting Vivid Sydney.

1. Tripod It!
Not an essential tool for capturing images at Vivid, as you can achieve results hand held. However it will help greatly when maintaining composition and waiting for the right moment, and also opens the door to long exposures over the quay showing boat movements.

2. Creative Camera Features
Many cameras these days offer creative functions like ‘multiple exposures’ – which essentially is combining two or numerous separate exposures into one – so why not consider pushing your creative boundaries by using this features to bring two monuments together or take a new flip on a common scene.

3. Don’t fight the crowd
Often many images I see from Vivid are stark and of just the lighting with no personal element. Use the crowds to your advantage and shoot through the gaps to show the business of the event. Often capturing people holding their smart phones above their heads, really add to the foreground lighting in such a shot and really provided great interest.

4. Time-lapse
Have you ever tried time-lapse? Vivid is a fantastic opportunity to create short time-lapse sequences which when posted to social hold the viewer’s attention longer than a still frame. It also allow you to create a silent story line to engage your audience.

Here’s an example:

https://youtu.be/enWzujyjVNI

5. Get High, Get low
Don’t just shoot everything from eye level. Look for public spaces you can get a height advantage from – such as the Cahill Expressway or a roof top around Circular Quay. Often the most interesting shots are ones people haven’t seen before. Get Low, put your camera on the ground, literally. I look for puddles and reflections I can utilise from low vantage points.

Photo: Colin Baker.

6. Pray for Rain
Probably something you won’t hear too many say, but the rain offers three great opportunities.

    Firstly reflections which assists in creating multiple images with in camera artistry, positions like customs house when wet the fore court is magic.
    Secondly the crowds naturally thin allowing the brave fast access to multiple displays in a short period of time.
    Lastly the air is often its cleanest right after a shower, allowing for crystal clean images without the threat of pollution or other airborne potential disruptions.

7. Blogging
I know a picture can tell 1,000 words, but think about how you can add a creative description to your social media uploads that assists the viewer set the scene and really want to come to Sydney and experience Vivid. You’re images make you an honorary tourism ambassador, so put the effort into the story and show the world our wonderful event.

8. Adventure
Find new locations to shoot from that have not been seen, try and enter a human element to the images to render scale.

Finally, if you don’t have a camera or need help? Canon are offering product loans and the opportunity to learn from their Canon Collective team. Join the pro’s for walking tours where they can assist you along the way to achieving great Vivid shots.

And finish your Vivid adventure at Canon HQ, in the Foundation Hall in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay, every evening from 6pm–11pm, where you can print all your images for free! Pop in and catch up with guides and fellow photographers, get inspired and discover where else photography can take you during Vivid Sydney 2017.

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