Festival Survival Tips for Photographers

June 23, 2017

Summer is officially here and festival season has been kicked off by Glastonbury, the largest greenfield music festival in the world. If you’re planning on attending and taking pictures, we’ve provided you with some quick festival survival tips for photographers to help you avoid disaster.

Festival Survival Tip 1: Don’t take your camera

Festival Survival

Photo credit: Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment

Controversial, we know, but if you can stand to be parted from your beloved camera gear for the weekend or even a week, enjoy the festival, savour the memories and leave your camera safely at home. There are currently over 40,000,000 photos tagged #Festival across Instagram and Twitter, so chances are, there will be plenty of photos captured at whichever festival you attend without you needing to capture your own. Besides, if you take a break from shooting other people, you can get in front of the camera for a change.

Festival Survival Tip 2: Get insurance

Insuring your camera and camera kit is never a bad idea, but if you’re planning to travel with it, insuring it is positively a great idea. Insurance can cover a range of things, from theft, to damage, so it is important to do your due diligence and check that the insurance you buy is appropriate to the type of cover you think you will need. For example, some insurance may cover you for accidental damage but not cover you for water damage – and if you’re attending any British festivals, you would be wise to have cover against the wet stuff.

Another good consideration is making sure that you are covered to travel with your camera as some insurance only covers your camera at specific premises such as the home or place of work. While we do not endorse or recommend these specific insurers, Eversure Insurance, Hiscox and Protect Your Bubble are all popular and have generally good reputations for insuring gadgets such as cameras.

Festival Survival Tip 3: Accessories

There are a range of products that can be used to protect your kit in potentially hazardous (wet/muddy) situations such as waterproof housing or sealed camera bags like those produced by Aquapac. Specified housings can be quite pricey, so Aquapac’s more generic fits are an affordable alternative. You can see a range of housing and protective options for cameras over at Wex Photographic.

Festival Survival Tip 4: Use a smartphone

Seeing as getting reception at festivals can be a nightmare, you may as well switch your phone in to Aeroplane Mode and use it as your camera. Most current flagship smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, the iPhone 7 and the Huawei P10 all carry highly specced camera modules that are ideal for day time/travel style pictures.

However, the shortcomings of smartphones are exposed in lowlight photography, due to their small sensors. But we wouldn’t recommend having your phone out at a festival during the night time, that’s typically when we are at our most “festive” and finding a dropped or misplaced phone in the dark under those circumstances is close to impossible.

Festival goers during sunset, at the Glastonbury Festival. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Festival Survival Tip 5: Invest in a pocket or action camera

Compact cameras, also known pocket cameras are a great halfway house between your smartphone and your “proper camera”. Often offering better quality than a smartphone and the flexibility of optical zoom, which will help you get better close-up shots of your favourite acts. We’ve rounded up the best compact cameras 2017 here. Check it out and see if the pocket camera route is the right option for you.

The knock-on benefit is that if you have a pocket or action camera, you can wear it on your wrist or around your neck and avoid taking your precious phone out of your protective waterproof pouch or zip pocket unnecessarily.