10 December, 2021

Protest Photography Tips: How to Stay Safe while Capturing the Moment

icon climate change,Corporate Greed,How to,Police brutality,Protest photography,Protest photos,Reproductive rights
Tips to take better protest photography while staying safe

A good photo tells a story that people get at a glance.

These tips from professionals explain how to take great pictures while staying safe.

Capture the moment with better protest photography using these tips.

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Photography tips

  • Stay close to the action. You need to capture the emotions of the people involved in the protest. Although you can take extreme close ups, be mindful of what kind of protesters you are covering.
  • Capture the action with scenes that show two sides. Compose the picture with the right backdrop.
  • Shoot the entire action happening around you. Pay attention to memorable scenes.
  • Take photos to shows crowd size. Using a wide-angle lens, or from an elevated position.
  • Get in close. But obscure faces to protect privacy when necessary.

Contrastly and PetaPixel

Protest photos capture the essence of the moment

Protest scenes background

Reproductive rights - "Pro-choice protestors stormed the Brooklyn Bridge on July 3, 1989. The march occurred just after the Supreme Court ruled to “uphold a Missouri state ban on the use of public employees and facilities for performing abortions,” reversing elements of Roe v. Wade." Police arrested 24 pro-choice advocates that day, including activist Mary Lou Greenberg, marking a crucial moment in the battle for reproductive rights." - HuffPost

Jan 6th insurrection - "With dusk approaching, violence erupts. The Trump-inspired rioters attack the police guarding the Capitol, using flagpoles, crutches — even chunks of wood — as they wage a medieval civil war. The American flag became a blunt instrument in the bearded man’s hands. Wielding the flagpole like an ax, he swung once, twice, three times, to beat a police officer being dragged down the steps of a United States Capitol under siege." - NY Times

Police brutality - "Leshia Evans defiantly standing her ground during a Baton Rouge protest against police officers in riot gear. In the era of #BlackLivesMatter, she is a maiden of grace, unflappably standing her ground before an animated flurry of armed-to-the-teeth police officers. She had joined dozens of protesters to denounce the death four days earlier of Alton Sterling, shot by police outside a local convenience store." - CNN

Climate change - "Millions of people demonstrated across the world yesterday demanding urgent action to tackle global heating in the biggest climate protest in history.Young people called on adults to join them – and they were heard. Trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people around the world mobilized in support, employees left their workplaces, doctors and nurses marched." - The Guardian

Dreamers - "DACA has protected some 700,000 people who were brought to the U.S. as children or came with families that overstayed visas. A federal judge in San Francisco in January blocked the Trump administration's decision to end DACA, reinstating the program in a decision that applied nationwide." - Chicago Tribune

Pollution - "Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe see the pipeline as both an environmental and cultural threat to their homeland... an oil spill would permanently contaminate the reservation's water supply and that construction of the pipeline would destroy sacred sites where many of their ancestors are buried." - NBC NEWS 

Safety tips

  • Dress quietly, don’t wear badges or slogans.
  • Remain clearly separate from participants and from police.
  • Know the area. Take a local map and have two ways to get out.
  • Take a bike helmet, good boots, water and food.
  • Stay in sight of other journalist for each other's protection.
  • Carry the minimum amount of equipment to move quickly.
  • Let someone know that you are covering the protest and when to expect you back.


TakeAway: Capture and share the essence of protests and rallies with good photos.


Protests: Peaceful and not

Protect the rights of Dreamers and DACA reipients.
Republican stacked Supreme Court about to overturn Roe v Wade
Jan 6th insurrection violence captured in protest photographs.
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