Shooting photos for special events may not sound like the most glamorous gig on the list, but it pays the bills. When a client calls you up to shoot an event, how can you say no? Regardless of the circumstances, your client has tasked you with a mission to produce the best images to present the event as possible. Simon Woodcock, Melbourne event photographer shares some top tricks you can use to improve your event photography skills.
Tip #1: Take Pre-Event Photos
Some photographers drastically underestimate the value of pre-event photos. This means snapping pictures of the event before the guests even arrive. You can often use these photos as part of your portfolio, but the client can catalog the photos and use them in the future if needed to market the event if they have a similar event one day in the future. It reflects a lot of value back to the customers, and you should start any event in this way.
Tip #2: Don’t Overshoot or Undershoot
You may be wondering how you can overshoot an event? First and foremost, you want the attendees to have a spectacular time. Admittedly, the dividing line between overshooting and undershooting can be a blurred line. You can snap photos of guests candidly and posing, but you should always remember that the guests having a great time takes first priority. You don’t want to snap pictures of the same groups over and over again.
Provided you can get the lighting to cooperate, you might bump up the ISO and shoot some candids with ambient lighting. You want to shoot candid photos that make the event the envy of everyone who didn’t attend. One good rule of thumb to keep things looking natural, once the dinner plates arrive, keep the camera away from the tables and point it at the stage instead. Snap photos of it conservatively. Some of the photography gear that you may want at the event includes:
- Remote shutter release
- External flash
- Prime lens
- SD memory cards
- Camera strap
- Camera bag
Tip #3: Take Photos Fast
Whether we’re zooming in on the panel discussion members or the candids during cocktail hour, no one has come here to hang out with you. You want to accept that and take photos without getting in the way. When shooting candid photos, you want to snap two or three frames and move on. Taking more pictures than that, unless dealing with a VIP, will start to feel intrusive to the guests. Let’s say that you want to shoot the panel of discussion. In general, you want to use a long lens and snap a lot of photos from afar. Granted, close up shots look phenomenal, but if close up, you should take these pictures quickly and move on. You don’t want to intrude on the guests who might be paying or have been invited to the event.
Tip #4: Edit Ruthlessly and Deliver
Unfortunately, for a photographer, about half the photos that you take will still wind up trashed. It’s the nature of this business that you take many photos, and you use the best ones that you snapped. Some will inevitably not be worth it. If you were to shoot three frames of each and every group, you will still wind up with hundreds of photos. Most likely, your client will only want the cream of the crop photos because space will often be limited.
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Tip #5: Take Action Shots
Action shots generate a lot more interest than people posing for the camera. You have a far more interesting photo if Jacelynn throws the bouquet up in the air and you snap it at the right moment. With event photography, you have to act quickly and constantly be on your toes for the next big moment.
In general, you shouldn’t snap photos of people eating because nothing about this looks professional. You want to convey a certain business image through your event photography, and one of the key goals behind it comes from not intruding and taking great photos at the event. As the photographer, you want to remain a type of behind-the-scenes worker.