I recently had the pleasure of visiting Venice again for the Carnival, a great festival where people like to dress up in elaborate costumes and wear masks in the streets. It is also a wonderful opportunity for photography, but can be a daunting experience if you don’t come prepared, due to the sheer number of possible subjects and the huge crowds that swarm the city in the Carnival days, most of them with a camera in hand.
The best thing about the Carnival for photographers is that the people in costume are willing to pose and model for you against the backdrop of the most beautiful city in the world. The worst thing is that a million other people know this.
I have collected in this video twelve tips will help you make the most of your day in Venice. They can equally be applied to the Rio Carnival or the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, or at similar events. My approach to photographing the Carnival is photo-journalistic and I always want to show some context, detail, and scenery in addition to beautiful costumes. I try to grab the best images I can and use them to tell a story, without too much organization or planning and my tips reflect this style. Yours might be different, but I think most of the tips will be useful anyway, regardless of your modus operandi.
You can find more of my Venice Carnival photos in this gallery.
1 – Travel Light
2 – Use a long lens and a large aperture to isolate the subject
3 – Use a wide angle lens to show context
4 – Get down low and shoot up
5 – Get close
6 – Play with flash when dusk falls
7 – Capture some candid moments
8 – Photograph ordinary people
9 – Shoot some iconic scenery
10 – Exchange business cards
11 – Be respectful of others
12 – Have fun