I’ve put together some event photography tips for you to help make your event photography be the best it can be. Don’t be the one who takes the very boring shots of people lined up in front of a statue or a sign, ugh! Take brilliant, artistic photos that will make that event look like it was even better than it was.
Tip #1: Get the Photography Basics
If you do not know how to work your camera then it is going to show. Learn how to use your equipment from a master. Brent Mail is an award winning photographer that has a class on this website and he will teach you the basics of photography in 120 minutes or less. You can prevent a whole bunch of missed shots because suddenly a strobe light is on and you don’t know how to work with that or people are racing around and you don’t know how to capture that clearly with your camera.
You really have to be prepared for anything because just about anything can happen at any event. We never know exactly what will happen out there in the people wild. If you know the finer points of how to use your camera and make adjustments then all will go well and your shots will not be missed shots.
I learned how to use my Nikon D90 while working as a Las Vegas Blogger. I’m not much for reading and studying so I learned by asking questions of professional photographers, boots on the ground — or in this case, sneakers on the red carpet. There were many times when I could take nothing but a black photo and the celebrity was going to be in front of us in five minutes. The pro would set up my camera for me and give me a quick explanation or tell me what I needed to adjust. Eventually, I learned. Always they pushed me down the end of the line on the red carpet, sort of kicking me out of their way. I was the writer with a camera instead of the writer with the professional photographer. They sort of hate that there. So, do yourself and other photographers a favor and just take a great photography class.
Tip #2: Think Outside the Norm
Everyone with a camera wants to line up people to have their photo taken. Then they scurry them to the next sign or statue or waterfall and yell, “Now everyone point at the sign!” Oh, those are awful. Go for unique angles in your photographs and don’t ask anyone to pose for you. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to say anything at all. You have your camera around your neck and one hand on it already. Catch someone’s eye, lift your camera and give a nod as if to ask if you can take their photo. This allows you to work that crowded event fast. In seconds you’ll have permission and a shot that is already set up.
You will catch people doing all sorts of things when you don’t line them up in a pose for a photo. Just get down and dirty and start taking photos. If it is a concert then get to the side of the musician or a little below but to the side to take the shot. Turn around and single out a person in the crowd that is so lost in the music that they are oblivious to your presence and the presence of the camera. If you are at a wedding, catch the mother of the bride tearing up in a side shot from your spot across the aisle. An up close and personal photo of a child blowing out the birthday candles from the point of view of the cake would be a memorable shot.
The more photos you take, the more you can see what works for you. You will discover all sorts of angles you can use. Here is a photography blog post that gives a lot of examples of using different and creative angles at parties and other events.
Tip #3: Capture the Action in Event Photography
Action shots at an event are always far more interesting than people just posing for a photo. It is a lot easier to share the joy of great-granny reaching and about to catch the bouquet at the wedding than it is to see her posing with it later, right? Catch a ground level shot of a baseball player sliding into home base because that speaks so much more than the winning team photo after the game. George on one knee suddenly proposing to Karen in the middle of the party is more moving than Karen and George posing and showing the ring later.
Tip #4: Always Be Ready to Take a Photo at an Event
You need to be on your toes and constantly ready to take a shot when you are acting as photographer at any event. You need to constantly scan the room with one hand on the camera. Nobody knows what will happen. It is your job to catch it in a photo when it does happen.
Tip #5: Become a Professional Event Photographer
Hone your skills and do a lot of practice events. When you get good at it then you can start your own business as an event photographer. Udemy has a couple of classes on becoming a professional event photographer that are very inexpensive.
Ryan Oakley teaches “Your First $100 Photography Gig,” which is a class where you learn how to start your own photography business. He takes you from what equipment you will need to how to land your first customer and how to negotiate your contract. Another necessary class in getting started as a professional photographer is the class put on by luxury event photographers Scarlett and Steven. Their “Shoot 2 Sale” class educates you on how to set your photography prices and make more from your photos.
Tip #6: Get Up Close and Personal
Another tip for event photography is to take shots that are close up. A photo that is filled with a person’s face or reaction to something is a beautiful photograph, far more so than if you had shown what is going on around the person. A photo like this is intensely focused and you see the beauty and character of the person instead of things that are going on at the event.
If the event involves animals, nothing is cuter than the extreme close up of a pet. You can get so close that the dog’s nose is huge and takes up most of the photo. This turns that adorable dog, cat or bird into a bit of an adorable cartoon. Techniques like this are very popular right now in pet photography. But if you are covering any event where pets are involved, these types of shots are a must.
If you want someone to look ugly, you can shoot upward. If you are lower than a person shooting upward into their face, this can make the person look scary or very unattractive. There are times when the event calls for it, but most of the time you’ll want people to look attractive. It is usually a much prettier subject when shooting from their eye level or above eye level. And of course, a funny picture is always so close that the eye or nose is super huge!
Tip #7: Framing the Shot in Event Photography
When you are walking around the event looking for just the right photo to take, keep framing in mind. Always be on the lookout for places where you can use something in the environment to surround your subject. It could be a close up shot of a person trying to grab falling confetti. The confetti surrounds the person and tells the viewer’s eye to focus in on only the person having fun. You can also use trees and other objects to frame in your subject. Another fun way to frame in a subject is to shoot through a hole in a fence showing part of the fence or frame a person between buildings in a tight alleyway.
Framing the shot is more of a way of thinking that anything. If you keep your eyes peeled for an interesting spot to frame in a shot then you can come up with some real gems.
Tip #8: Be Prepared for Event Photography
The biggest event photography tip that I can give is to be prepared. You need to be prepared by knowing your equipment and how to use it. You need to be prepared for anything to happen at the event and be ready to take that shot when it does. You also need to be prepared with a well-rounded PhotoShop class like Digital Classroom’s “Fashion and Glamour Photography” class on the Udemy website. Remember to use your education and try fun and unusual shots. You never know when the weird idea will produce the most amazing photograph.