Ideas and Tips for Photographing at a Fairground

Taking pictures at the fairgrounds is fun. It’s a fun place with lots of people, bright lights and action. We can also give you some challenges to get some great photos.

Fairgrounds start popping up in Holland again in the spring. These move from place to place and provide many thrilling pastimes for many people.For photographers, it can be a challenging subject. Shooting at the fairgrounds at night offers many possibilities. Light, action, and people having a good time are great subjects to photograph.

Trade fairs can seem chaotic at first. How can you take great pictures in the chaos of people walking, talking, calling, yelling against a background of ever-changing light and movement? Want to photograph visitors or attractions? What kind of setting do you need and how can you bring order to the chaos?

camera settings

It’s impossible to have one setting that works for all kinds of photography at a trade fair. The correct settings depend on the results you want to achieve or what you want to capture. Photographers often ask about EXIF ​​data when looking at photos taken at trade fairs. But that doesn’t help much when they make their own attempts.

There are basically two types of photos that can be taken. One captures people’s moments at a trade fair. The other is the movement by the attraction of the fairground. Both require different settings.

The first one is probably the hardest. Photographing people often requires a fairly fast shutter speed. This means that even if you can use wide apertures like f/1.8 or f/1.4, you have to rely on high ISO levels. A narrow depth of field is recommended to isolate someone from their surroundings. It provides a way to reduce background distractions. f/2.8 is sufficient in most cases.

Due to the large difference in light intensity, exposure can be difficult. The background is often much brighter than the subject. You have to choose between exposing your subject in highlights and shadows, or overexposing your well-exposed subject and background. The choice is yours. Using fill flash is possible, but with caution.

Motion capture is much easier. Just use a narrow aperture and a low ISO level. The shutter speed will be long enough to capture the movement of light. You can also use a neutral density filter to more easily achieve the shutter speed you want, but I wouldn’t recommend more than 3 stops. Of course, a tripod is recommended.

stillness in photography

The fairgrounds are very chaotic. Chaos can be a distraction when trying to get too much into the frame. A wide-angle lens allows you to capture a lot of light and attractions in one shot, but it doesn’t result in a compelling image.

Often it is better to choose a subject and focus on it. For example, zoom in on people and capture what they are doing. Or you can capture stunning silhouettes of people standing in front of brightly lit fairground attractions. Combining this with long shutter speeds can produce surprising results.

motion capture

Everywhere you look in the fairgrounds, everything seems to be in motion. The attraction and its lights never stop. Capturing these attractions at a fast shutter speed does not reveal the dynamics of the fairgrounds. It just freezes for a second. Increase the shutter speed to capture that motion. Sometimes 1 second is enough, but you can try it.

As mentioned in the previous chapter, adding a human element can make your photos more attractive. It gives a sense of dimension and is something the viewer can relate to. It doesn’t matter if these people move during long exposures. It just adds to the dynamics of the fairgrounds.

Using fill flash

A fill flash can help with the difference in brightness between the person and the background. Simply set the background exposure and use the flash to illuminate your subject. If necessary, try dragging the shutter to add movement in the background.

Fill flash may not be suitable for candid shots, as the bright flash draws attention. If you use fill flash, have people pose. You’ll be amazed at how ambitious they are. Alternatively, you can bring your own model for a great photo shoot.

use your creativity

Fairground lighting offers a lot of room for creativity. Especially long shutter speeds are a great way to express your creativity. But instead of taking long exposures on a tripod, try shooting handheld. Use intentional camera movement (ICM) as a special effect.

Your camera may offer in-camera multiple exposures. Amusement parks are the perfect place for this kind of imagery. Combine in-focus captures with out-of-focus shots with a large aperture for so-called bokeh balls. Or you can combine short and fast shutter speeds. Let your imagination guide you.

Any other ideas or tips?

There are probably many other photography possibilities at the fairgrounds. No matter how silly it seems at first, try it. See the results at home and use the knowledge and inspiration from the first result to move on to the second.

Perhaps you have another great idea or tip for this kind of photography. If so, please share it in the comments below. It might help you take lots of great fun pictures at the fairgrounds.

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