Best events in Houston to photograph

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Houston never sits still. So capture it in motion. While you could find an event every weekend to fill the frame, these five stand out as among our favorite photo-friendly Houston events.

Lights in the Heights

Lights in the Heights is a Christmas festival in the Heights, a historic neighborhood just northwest of downtown. We love shooting the event because most of the residents make an effort to decorate their houses and lawns with elaborate displays of Christmas lights. There are games, performances and artistic creations spanning many square blocks. This is a unique photographic opportunity because the neighbors here take pride in decorating their beautiful, old houses with tasteful, and often wacky, embellishments.

best events in houston to photograph lights

Location: 3012 Norhill Street, Houston, Texas 77009

Timing: The formal display begins Saturday, Dec. 12, starting at 6 p.m.

Equipment: A tripod is recommended for long-exposure photography.

Free Press Summerfest

The Summerfest is a music and arts festival with a great lineup of local and national acts. It is full of light-hearted, free-spirited people who are just out to enjoy the day. At the festivities in 2010, it poured and turned it into a big mud festival, and everybody just enjoyed themselves even more. Summerfest is a people circus. If you are into capturing the humor of humanity, from punks to hippies to hoopers., it’s a great place to find interesting subject matter.

Location: Eleanor Tinsley Park, off Allen Parkway.

Timing: Summerfest 2010 is just behind us, but the 2011 festival will be held on June 4 and 5.

Equipment: If you want to shoot the musicians, bring a good zoom lens.

Gloworama Art Car Parade

Gloworama is a car parade for the night crowd. All the art car owners adorn their cars with lights, and sometimes even flamethrowers, to light up downtown. If you have been to an art car parade before, this will be a breath of fresh air. The neon lights and fire spewing from the vehicles makes for a great event if you want to play around with your light shots to get an artistic look. This is the only place to see a mechanical, spoon-covered tarantula shooting fire out of its back end!

best events in houston to photograph gloworama

Location: Downtown at the George R. Brown convention center.

Timing: Glowarama 2009 took place in late November, but the 2010 dates have yet to be announced. Stay tuned to the Glowarama website for updates.

Equipment: Bring a tripod, or even a monopod, which can be better because the good spots get crowded.

Houston Art Car Parade

Houston is known across the country for its annual Art Car Parade. Once a year, local artists bring their creations out of the woodwork and parade them down Allen Parkway. It moves a little slow, and creativity is limited for amateur photographers, but this is a great event to shoot just for the shock value of your subject. The Houston Art Car Parade boasts some of the most jaw-dropping pieces of functional art. You are guaranteed to see something so outlandish, you’ve got to bring a camera.

Location: Allen Parkway

Timing: The 2011 parade will be held on May 22. Keep in mind that a high chance of rain will put the parade on hold.

Equipment: Bring a zoom lens. Otherwise, show up early and find a good spot to camp.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world. It takes place at Reliant Stadium, where the Texans play, so you can imagine just how big it is. The Rodeo features some of the biggest names in music, as well as some good, old-fashioned bull riding. The cheap tickets are too high up to get a good shot of the action, but there are fair grounds right outside where you can get some interesting event coverage and details. It’s a huge event where you will find interesting things to photograph, whether from your seat or outside at the carnival.

best events in houston to photograph rodeo

Location: Reliant Stadium, 1 Reliant Park, Houston, TX 77054

Timing: The show goes down March 1 through 20, 2011. Rain or shine, it will happen.

Equipment: Bring a good zoom lens for action photography, and a tripod for long-exposure shots of the carnival rides.

Jump to other parts of this series:

Houston photography guide: Tips, locations, and stores

Best photo shoot locations in Houston

Best camera stores in Houston