I went to see the United Indians of all Tribes annual celebration last weekend. What a great time. The Native American traditional clothing was amazing. There are some etiquette tips to keep in mind if you happen to be at one of these beautiful celebrations. Ask first before you take a picture of the performers. Some performers don't want their picture taken while others welcome it. I guess the main etiquette when photographing people is to be friendly and respectful and when necessary ask before you leap. During the Grand entry stand and remove your hat. Don't pick up any feather that has fallen to the ground, ask one of the staff to pick it up and return it to the owner. Don't block others from viewing the tribal dancing. I like to sit or kneel in front of a standing crowd, that way no one gets irked and frustrated with me.
When you are taking photos look at the background as the Tribes circle and dance in front of you. Try and position yourself in an area where the background is neutral and won't distract from the colorful clothing. If it is a sunny day photograph with the sun behind you. This way you won't have your subject in deep shadows. Use a fast shutter speed to stop the subjects movements. Capturing the facial expressions can be very powerful. You will need to use a longer lens. I brought a 105mm lens plus shorter lenses but next time I will also bring my 180mm lens so I can get a tighter close up of the traditional clothing and face painting of the dancers. I will also experiment with slower shutter speeds for movement and color when using the longer lens. I will pan with my camera following the dancers as they move though the frame. You will have to decide how abstract you want to take your final image.
It was very powerful and impressive to see the Native American Tribes parade into the dance circle with the drums beating and the voices chanting keeping their culture alive and well.