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Capturing the festival of color Holi: Tips and tricks

by Heena
February 7, 2014

Holi is one of the most celebrated festivals throughout India. It is the festival of color, most vibrant and prolific with its dynamicity. Holi has crossed the barrier of religion with its uniqueness, and it has become the festival of joy preaching love, wisdom and harmony.

This colorful festival is bound to grab the attention of your camera, and you are always provoked to capture every single moment of this event and relish it throughout the year. But capturing a festival is not an easy task, as this is very dynamic and eventful.

If you are not a professional photographer, here are few simple tips and tricks to grab the festival to the maximum.



Location survey: Check the location you want to do the shoot 1-2 day prior to the festival. Get accustomed with the locality, talk the people, get friendly and tell that you are going to shoot for photographic purpose. Also check the light conditions and sun position during the proposed shoot time.

Camera body: You can shoot with any DSLRs. But I will suggest a weather-shielded body, because there are always chances of water splash on your camera. Mid range and higher DSLR body generally come weather sealed.

Lenses & filters: You can take a simple 18-55mm & a 70-300/200mm lens. It will give you a wide option to shoot from any distance. But I will prefer to use block lenses like 35mm, 50 mm & 80mm. As you will be shooting under direct sunlight, I will also suggest you to keep UV, Circular Polarizer and Neutral Density (ND) filters.

Battery: Ensure that you fully charge your camera batteries on the night before the shoot. An extra set of batteries is also recommendable as you will not like to miss out the event, in case your battery goes out.

The shooting

Setting up the camera: Before you start the actual shoot set up the white balance of the camera as per your preference. You can also opt for the direct sunlight settings. Measure the light in the zones you want to shoot. Set up the shutter speed, aperture size, ISO accordingly and take a note. Remember the intensity of the sunlight will vary time to time. So these settings will always be indicative and have to be modified with time. As you will shoot in daylight, I will recommend keeping the ISO on 200 or below, since higher ISOs tend to produce grains.

Burst mode: Shooting Holi means capturing a lot of activity. There is high possibility to miss out minute actions even in the fraction of a second time you take to click twice. Most of the latest DSLRs come with burst mode. This feature enables you to shoot 4 to 8 frames per second, which means you can take 4 to 8 photographs in a second with a single shutter press. Burst mode is very useful in capturing events that involve very fast and dynamic actions.

Be in the crowd: Try to stay inside the crowd. This will make the people think you are one of them, and people will be less camera conscious.  This will also give you better flexibility and more angles.


Auto Mode: It will always be advisable that you use the auto mode even if are a pro. Since holi is a very dynamic event which occurs in quick actions, you might not be able to change also the settings so fast manually. The auto mode will let the camera to adjust to the situation rapidly, which can result into much better productivity.


Vrindavan and Shantiniketan are the two places I always like to photograph Holi. If have got time and budget I recommend visiting these places. That’s all for now. Use these tips this Holi and see the difference.


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Hi, I am heena abbasi passionate about writing and photography.I work as a freelancer blog and photo artist.Thank to photosquare for giving me chance to post my articles here and provide me a platform.

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