A few days ago I photographed the 2018 Women’s March in New York City. Everything about this event was good! It was a sunny warm day, a positive atmosphere, and provided several photo opportunity.
Marches, rallies or any sort of a gathering are fun to photograph but they also come with a lot of challenges. These situations are often overwhelming and crowded, which can make photographing difficult. On top of that it is hard to know what gear to bring. Here are some ways I navigate those challenges.
First research and answer these questions:
- Are you allowed to bring backpacks?
- How long is the event? How is it structured?
- What is my deadline? Where is WIFI so I can FTP?
- How can I improve my comfort so I can focus?
Questions 1- 3 can easily be solved with a google search and locating the nearest Starbucks but I believe question number 4 is the key.
Improve you comfort by dress for the weather, wearing comfortable shoes, eating and having your coffee, using the restroom, and carrying only the gear needed.
It’s easy to load your Think Tank backpack with several camera’s, prime, and zoom lenses, with all the accessories and laptop but for me I ask myself, “How can I save my back but still cover a range and make good images?” Just because you brought it doesn’t mean you will use it. For the Women’s March I reduced my lens selection down to a 35mm, 50mm, and a 70-200mm.
When you first arrive you can feel overwhelmed by all of the activity, signs, and crowds. This is when over thinking kicks in and you start questioning yourself, “should I go over there, what about over there? Is that a good photo?” To avoid this feeling try to arrive early. Get a feel for the space. Pay attention to the light and slowly ease into your rhythm.
Once you are in your rhythm focus on telling a story about the event. Look beyond the signs and the crowd as a whole and search for people interacting, or engaged in activities. Look for light, moments, and creative compositions. Search for something different.
Check out some photos from the march below!
Demetrius Freeman is a freelance Visual Journalist, who most frequently covers the metro section of The New York Times. For two years, he was a photographer for New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio. His work has been published in CNN, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Tampa Bay Times, and ProPublica. Demetrius has participated in several workshops and seminars including The Mountain Workshop, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, The New York Times Portfolio Review, The Missouri Photo Workshop, and is an alumni of The Eddie Adams Workshop XXVII. He also supports and contributes in photography volunteer work and provide mentorship to high school photography students. Learn more and send him a note through his website, or follow him on Instagram @demetriusfreeman.