Taking successful pictures at festivals, parades and sporting events can be chaotic—unless you know what to look for. Here are a few tips:

• Keep your eyes open for scenes that may not be directly relevant to the event itself, but that add a touching or humorous element, such as a costumed sleeping child.

• Get a higher vantage point to get in more of the crowd, then zoom in to compress the space between people so they appear even closer together.

• Some festivals can get messy, and you never know if will rain, so pack your underwater housing(or at least a plastic bag!).

• Even if you can’t make it to the Super Bowl, you can capture the excitement of major sporting events. Try contrasting silhouettes of cheering fan against the brightness of a big screen.

Adapted from How To Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures From Your Digital Camera by Tom Ang (DK Publishing, 2007, $40)