Event photography is an art form, and it takes a while to achieve what you’re looking for. Not only does shooting an event require you to be constantly on the move, but it’s also necessary to know how to fully use each setting on your camera.
For example, if you’re shooting in a dimly lit room, you’ll need to understand how to brighten up your photos. Using an automatic mode may cause your camera to set an extended shutter time, causing your photos to blur. Being familiar with your gear is more important than having the best gear.
Here is a short guide to improving your event photography.
What Are the Basic Tips for Taking Good Photographs?
There are many tips that will help you take a good photo. However, these basics will give you the perfect start toward getting an image that takes people’s breath away.
- Move Closer – Avoid using your zoom whenever possible by moving closer to your subject. Using a prime lens (fixed focal length) will ensure this.
- Practice Daily – The more time you spend getting acquainted with your camera and what it can do, the better your results will be. Composition is Key – Without a good eye for composition, your photos will inevitably fall flat. Even if you don’t have this skill at the beginning, you can develop it through practice.
- Use the Rule of Thirds – Having someone in the dead center of a photograph is visually boring. Instead, make sure they fill up two of the three grid lines.
- Watch the Background – Make sure there’s nothing distracting in the shot.
- Remember the Golden Hour – If you want to take truly amazing images, remember that golden hour occurs during the first hour of sunrise or the last hour of sunset.
- Make Sure There is Good Lighting – Whether you shoot in natural light or prefer to use a flash, make sure that your setting is well lit to provide good results.
- Keep Your Batteries Charged Up – This tip might seem overly simple, but you’d be surprised how often people can’t capture an image because their battery died. Be sure to always have backup batteries suited for however long your event is.
5 Tips to Improve Your Event Photography
Event photography is quite different from shooting portraits. The immediacy of the moment is something you either capture or you don’t. Either way, you can’t ask a band to repeat something just so you can photograph it. Meanwhile, when you’re doing a portrait photoshoot, you have the luxury of recapturing things.
To obtain excellent results, you’ll have to be on your game. This requires a lot of preparation, along with being able to turn on a dime. Imagine for a minute what would happen if you were hired to do wedding photography and you missed the big kiss. Your clients would not be happy, nor should they be.
- Use an Off-Camera Flash – One of the best things you can do when you’re shooting an event is use an off-camera flash. This provides stunning light, and if you have multiple flashes set up, you can get shots from a variety of angles. This is especially critical if you’ll be shooting an indoor event.
- Make Sure to Have a Shot List – Whether you’re capturing an event, a wedding, or shooting concert photography, you should always have a shot list. This is the single easiest way to make sure you document everything, and it will really help you manage your client’s expectations.
- Take Pre-Event Photos – Many people don’t think about it, but they do appreciate pre-event pictures. Your job should be to photograph the entire event, and this includes taking images of all the tables set up, etc. That way, when your client views their images, they can experience everything all over again!
- Don’t Bother the Guests – So, you’re there to capture everything, right? Can you do it without bothering the guests? There are certain guidelines that will make this much easier to pull off. First, never obstruct someone’s view unless there’s no other choice. Make sure you’re always polite, and never take images of someone who has asked you not to. Finally, don’t interrupt guests just to take their photos. Wait until the moment is right or – even better – grab a couple of candid images!
- Always Keep an Eye Out for Candid Opportunities – Speaking of taking a candid photo, you should always be looking for your next candid opportunity. One way you can do this is by being prepared to take a picture at all times. That way, when someone displays their genuine smile, you can capture it. There are a few things to stay away from, though. In the past, wedding photographers loved to get candid shots of people eating. These are almost never appreciated and should not be the type of photos you take.
Of course, you have to take certain staged shots as well. Be sure to put these on a timetable. That way, everyone involved in a staged photo will know where and when to pose. This is by far the best way to get the images you’re looking for.
Taking Better Event Photography
As long as you follow these tips, your event photos should be much better. Make sure you have a grasp of the basics of photography first. Then, you can start practicing the moves that will make everyone love your images. Be sure to use an off-camera flash and ensure you’ve got a shot list. Arrive early so that you can take pre-event photos. Don’t bother the guests but do be sure to communicate with them politely to get your shot. Finally, keeping an eye out for candid opportunities will provide you with stunning results.
About the author: Gary Sheer is an Event photographer located in the Greater Denver Area who has a strong appreciation for concert photography. He always shoots on manual believing that you should never compromise creative control. His untraditional methods such as in-camera multiple exposures, focus stacks and HDR images render his work in a distinctly sharp manner.