Monday, 14 April 2014

HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH BUSY PLACES - COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET #ShootManualLDN

London is chock-full of busy places. Living here for six years, I've learnt that rather than dodging and diving to avoid it, it's best just to embrace the busy.

Columbia Road Flower Market is a beautiful must-see/do market in East London. The colours are vibrant, the atmosphere is electric and at certain points in the day you might actually find yourself being lifted off the floor with the swell of the crowd. It's great fun.

If you find shooting in busy places a bit tricky and fancy getting out of your comfort zone one Sunday, I've put together a few tips on how to photograph a busy place like Columbia Road Flower Market.

1) Arrive early.
The short amount of time just after sunrise or just before sunset is known as Golden Hour. The light during this time is considered best for photography. As the sun is low in the sky, a soft, diffused light is produced. As well as capturing the best light, if you get up nice and early, you'll also have a better chance of beating the crowds.


2) Capture the energy.
If waiting around for everyone to move out of shot just isn't working, mount your camera on a tripod to keep your camera steady so you can experiment with some slow shutter speeds. Shooting this image below at 1/10 was enough to capture the busy atmosphere with a bit of motion blur. If you’re shooting during the day, you might need to use an ND filter to allow you to set a slow shutter speed.


3) Travel light.
If you are weighed down with loads of equipment it will be harder to navigate your way through the busy and everything will start to feel like hard work. For this little shoot at Columbia Road Flower market I just brought one camera body, my 35mm 1.4 and my 50mm 1.4. This meant I was light on my feet and quick to respond to changing situations.



4) Get down low.
 If the crowds feel over-whelming at eye-level, get down low. It's always good to change your viewpoint and you never know what you might find down there.


5) Look up.
Give that crick in your neck a stretch and take a peek skyward. As with getting down low, looking up can be full of surprises.


6) Move away from the busy epicentre.
Even a few steps away from the busiest point of your shoot can make all the difference and really help take the pressure off. Sometimes its a good idea to try to pre-visualise your shot to some extent. Find an empty spot where the composition and light feels right, get your camera settings ready and then wait for something to happen within that space.


7) Focus on the details.
A nice tight crop can eliminate the distractions around you and help you capture those all-important scene-setting details.






Have you got any hot tips for shooting in busy places? Let me know in the comments below or
 send me your busy photos on Twitter #ShootManualLDN. I look forward to hearing from you!

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