How To Shoot Next Year’s Gay Pride Parade

Despite statements from the Toronto Gay Pride organizing committee that only two photographers would be allowed on the parade route during the World Gay Pride Day Parade, there were scores and scores of them.

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I wouldn’t think somebody was lying but more likely the parade committee lost total control of their parade and this caused major problems for spectators.

Now I picked a great spot on Yonge Street along with a couple of other photographers which was just south of a viewing area where the crowd barriers were recessed into towards the sidewalk. As we were on the south side, it was a lot like standing right in the middle of the parade. Unfortunately, being behind a barrier no matter how great a spot makes it very tough to get paraders to interact with you as they pass. This is something I’m guessing the media organizer for the parade had never thought about. Oh well.Gay Pride-1-30

Actually my biggest challenge during the day was to forcefully dissuade the many amateur and a few pro photographers who thought they could stand in front of us and shoot the parade from our vantage point. As a former newspaper photographer myself, I’m very good at being very loud and very demanding when it comes to moving these laggards along. Even so, I spent most of the last two days cropping out other photographers from my photos.

Getting politicians and other notables to stop for a photo required a lot of yelling names.

Gay Pride-1-141Thanks to Bob Rae for turning Premier Kathleen Wynne toward our lenses. Same thanks to Olivia Chow for stopping for a few seconds as well.

The Gay Pride Parade in Toronto is wonderful street theatre. Hundreds of thousands of people line the parade route and it’s a great celebration of freedom and choice.

Every year is different and this year the parade started on time which is a good thing but at six hours or so to pass was a marathon when it came to standing in the hot sun. Which BTW we picked the west side of Yonge Street just to avoid the afternoon sunshine.

There was a little rain but not enough to complain about. You’re much more likely to get hit by a stream of water from a super soaker gun so be prepared to wipe your cameras and lenses down with a soft cloth.

Because the barriers were moved onto the road way, there wasn’t the normal crush on the sidewalks along the parade route. Somebody was thinking when it came to this setup. Very good.

Here’s a link to my gallery from this year’s parade.Gay Pride-1-312

And if you’re going to shoot it next year here are my tips:

  • Wear sturdy shoes
  • Cover yourself in sunscreen
  • Do not carry a bag (especially not a big shoulder bag. One amateur did and looked miserable after an hour.)
  • Do not shoot from the side if you want great shots (Ignore the official requests and shoot from the street. You won’t be alone.)
  • Work the parade route and don’t stand in one place for any length of time (If you need to rest, sit down at the side of the road.)