Six tips for taking the best iPhone photos at music festivals – and beyond


  • TECH
  • Sunday, 29 Jul 2018

“Pics or it doesn't count” takes on a new meaning during music festival season. 

Not only do photos prove your attendance, they're an opportunity to showcase your festival fashions, favourite artiste, squad and even food at one or all of Chicago's summer music events. 

Spectators aren't expected to snap mind-blowing images of the shows or backstage happenings like the pros, but festivals are filled with creative folks who know how to take incredibly artistic, thoughtful shots using an iPhone. Some have even made careers of it. 

Nesrin Danan of Portland, Oregon, took photo classes in high school and honed her skills at festivals until some artists noticed her work and wanted more. Now she's most known for photographing rapper G-Easy, Blackbear and pop singer Olivia O'Brien. She travels for festivals such as Lollapalooza and Coachella, frequently using her iPhone. 

“No hating on the iPhone. It's got a great camera,” Danan said. “I love the ease of editing on my phone and just being able to take the photo, edit it right there and post it, rather than having to go through my laptop, like I do with my camera.” 

Here are a few ways she says festival frequenters can maximise the iPhone camera and “own” a well-liked social media post. 

Make editing easy. Most photos need at least some tweaking, especially if you're in it for the likes and follows. To fix lighting, up the contrast or add filters, the iPhone's photo app and Instagram have basic options. Apps like VSCO and Adobe Lightroom CC will take your editing up a notch with tools on par with a professional photographer's. Both are easy to use. 

Use burst mode. Burst mode takes continuous shots until you take your hand off the button, putting the odds in your favor. Of 100 photos there's bound to be a good one. It's also useful when trying to get a good photo while someone's moving. Read: head banging, dancing, moshing, etc. 

Don't zoom. It can be temping to zoom in with your camera before snapping a pic from far away. Resist the urge, and instead move as close to the subject as possible. If you're forced to stay back, take nonzoomed photos, and crop them closer with an editing program after the fact. You'll get less blur this way. 

Golden hour is a thing. Anywhere between 6 and 8pm offers the best lighting. If you want that good #squadgoals pic, don't take it at 1pm – sunlight is harsh and unflattering when directly overhead. As for after-dark photos, set displays and stage lighting tend to drown out the artist, so tap the iPhone screen until you see a box around the subject, then adjust the exposure bar up or down. 

Be strategic on social. If you want people to like, love and share your photo, tag the venue or location. Especially at music festivals, everyone looks at location tags to see where the cool spots to photograph are. Add official event hashtags to your post so other festivalgoers – or even PR folks for the event – can see it when searching. You may just get a repost. 

Embrace iPhone gadgets. Equipment such as tripods and selfie sticks are commonly restricted at festivals for security reasons, so check out the festival website for size restrictions ahead of time. Or, opt for smaller, out-of-the-box iPhone supplements, like a fun lens for photo effects. Olloclip, for example, allows for high-quality zoom and fish eye photos. Around US$100 (RM405), it's relatively cheap and fits in your pocket. — Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service

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