The Inside Mardi Gras Photography Experience


Offered by: Tom Bowden (Street photographer, NBC News photographer, and 30 years of worldwide image production experience)

Starting at $450/person

up to 3 people

approx. 4 hours

Street photography

Do you want an insider’s view and a fully immersive experience as a participant in a Mardi Gras parade? 

Many photographers from all over the world make their way to Canal Street in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday. Typically, they stand behind roped off areas and photograph the parades going by. The key to making great imagery at Mardi Gras is to become part of the parade itself, we will be joining in and even wearing costumes. Be one with the participants, march together, and get a 360 degree insider’s look into proceedings.

This coming Mard Gras, on February 25th, 2020, join long-term street photographer and Mardi Gras veteran Tom Bowden (prefers to go by TBow) on a “road less traveled” photo opportunity. Walk with TBow as part of The Saint Anne’s Parade with only one rule: No observers, only participants! You will be embedded in the moving parade and surrounded by amazing characters, costumes, moments, interactions, and charming French Quarter history. This 4-hour experience lets you shoot participants in their environment from their early morning pre-parade activities to their arrival in the French Quarter 3 miles later.

This once a year experience will SELL OUT quickly. Get your spot ASAP!

  • Experience and shoot a Mardi Gras Parade as an inside participant, not a spectator.
  • This 4-hour, immersive experience is exclusively designed for creating culturally significant images in a documentary or storytelling style
  • Mardi Gras Crews ( Clubs ) can be cautious about outsiders, learn how to blend in seamlessly from an experienced street photographer and Mardi Gras veteran.
  • Maximize shooting opportunities and advance your street photography game in this one-of-a-kind visual experience

This experience is for photographers of any level who are interested in going beyond the usual Mardi Gras Experience. It doesn’t matter if you shoot street, documentary, portrait style or candid shots. You will be rewarded with many shooting opportunities. Above all, this experience gives you a truly unique and memorable life experience as an insider to one of the biggest parties on Earth.

  • Explore and photograph the historic Marigny and Bywater Neighborhoods west of the French Quarter.
  • Shoot as a participant from inside the parade on it’s 3 mile path to the French Quarter.
  • Plentiful photo opportunities of the people, costumes and floats all brought to life by the remarkable local residents.
  • This experience ends at lunchtime, leaving the afternoon for other Mardi Gras Parades and activities.

Additional information

Meeting point
Lobby of Bourbon Orleans Hotel. (717 Orleans Street). Call time is at 6:30 am on 02/25/2020. You will be directly briefed on logistics upon booking confirmation.

Activity level
Medium – a fair bit of walking is involved, slightly over 3 miles. For those with limited mobility, a 1.5 mile option can be discussed.

Required Equipment
Good walking shoes a must. We will be walking and photographing for 3 miles so a light load is recommended. Weather can be cold. Layered clothing recommended with light rain gear just in case. Costumes are required but do not have to be lavish. Remember, we are trying to blend in. Backpacks and tripods can make you look like a tourist. There are mask and costume stores in the French Quarter for last minute costume purchases, although I can’t personally recommend this. Review my photographs and various St. Anne’s YouTube videos for costume ideas. Bring one camera and one lens of your choice. You will not have a chance to work with cumbersome equipment during the parade.

Important Notes
This experience starts early. Please be on time. It’s important to arrive at our location at sunrise to interact and photograph the participants as they gather in the beautiful morning light. This is my favorite part of the parade. You will be briefed on local customs and how best to blend in while showing respect to the locals.