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Capturing Culture Days on Camera

Tags: Tipsheet, Year-Long Resource

On August 22, 2017, Culture Days hosted Capturing Culture Days on Camera with David Di Benedetto (City of Vaughan, Vaughan, Ontario), Pedro Miguez (Rebel Creative Media, Toronto, Ontario), and Glenna Turnbull (Glenna Turnbull Photography, Kelowna, British Columbia).

We all know that great photos and video help to maximize the impact of any event by sharing it with those who couldn't be there. But getting those great images and video clips isn't always easy. This webinar focused on tips and tricks for capturing inspiring shots from a seasoned professional photographer and guidelines on how to make quick and easy videos for sharing online. Unsure about how to responsibly share this awesome new content? One creative director outlined how to ensure you have full rights and waivers for usage of your images and videos.

Don’t have time to watch the full video? We’ve summarized David, Pedro, and Glenna’s top tips below!


Not comfortable with cameras, or too busy managing the activity to also be taking photos? Sometimes it’s best to just let the professionals do it! Quality photographs help to capture the vibrancy and creativity of the event and maximize the impact of the Culture Days weekend for those who couldn’t be there. Glenna Turnbull notes that professional photographers come with high-level equipment, expertise, experience, and energy!


Whether you’re snapping photos on a DSLR camera, or recording video clips using a smartphone, it’s important to make sure you have the right equipment for the job. If you plan to be in the videos, you will most likely need a tripod or some type of support for the camera. Photographing multiple events or activities? Don’t forget to pack a memory card or back-up batteries. Pedro Miguez warns that poor audio is the fastest way to lose your audience. He recommends investing in an external microphone solution that will attach directly to your DSLR camera or smartphone.

Pedro’s Top 3 choices for external microphones:

  • Rode Microphones Smartlav+ for iPad and iPhone
  • Rode Microphones VideoMic Me Directional Microphone iPad and iPhone
  • Rode Microphones VideoMicro Compact On-Campera Microphone
    *Each device retails for below $80.00

Once you have all of your equipment compiled make sure you do some trial runs – snap a few test photos, and record an audio and/or video clip. Before the event make sure to clean your lenses, charge the batteries and pack an activity schedule in your camera bag!


    Photos and videos with people in them tend to be more interesting, especially when the people involved are actively doing or making something. Whether it’s an energetic group learning a cool, new dance routine, or an artist teaching a curious participant how to use a potter’s wheel, photos of people in action draw the viewer in and help to tell a story.
    Culture Days brings people together! Look for moments where relationships are being formed between individuals. This is an excellent opportunity to capture a diversity of subjects too – look for people working, talking, playing, or even laughing together.
    Perspective can make all the difference. Be creative! Find new or unusual points of view, instead of shooting everything straight on. Have fun and experiment with different angles, distances, and heights. A very ordinary subject can be transformed through the interesting use of perspective.
    Lighting is key! If you don’t have access to a tripod, it’s important to have bright lighting. Natural light is great, but if your activity takes place indoors, it may not be enough. Turn on the lights! Bright indoor lights can supplement natural light; good lighting can help you take crisp and colourful photos.


If there are minors at the event, it’s important to ask for permission from their parent or guardian before taking a photo. Depending on the situation, you may want to ask for permission from adults as well. David Di Benedetto suggests keeping printed forms or an electronic copy of a photo release form handy while you’re photographing an event. Without permission you can still use a photo of a minor, but only if they are not identifiable. For instance, you could keep the child’s face out of the shot completely, or you might shoot a close-up of a child’s hands making a craft. You can find a sample, Culture Days Photo Release Form here.

Want to go the extra mile?

  • Watch for the unexpected!
  • Think about creative ways to include the Culture Days logo in your shots
  • Capture the “you-should-have-been-here!” moments