Event photography is a genre of photography that always seems to be in high demand, but with very little takers. The reason behind this might be because event photography involves a lot of people skills.
I would compare it to being a wildlife photographer; spending hours hunting down your subject to capture them in their natural element. Being a good event photographer is an art, an acquired skill, itís more than just snapping photos of strangers in the midst of their third drink. That being said, here are some things to keep in mind if you want to be a good events photographer.
1.Set the scene while being personal
A lot of people think that events photography involves taking a couple of establishing shots of the venue, some boring group shots and calling it a day. A really good events photographer knows that no two events are ever the same, and this manifests in the photos they take.
Each event is unique to the people that attend them so aside from setting the scene with establishing shots of the venue, the decor and the crowd, it is your job as the photographer to capture really personal moments. Think of these photos as an improved version of that blurry shot people post on their instagrams at 1am. Capture moments people will want to remember, and even some of the moments will want to forget.
2.If thereís no party, create it instead!
No one wants to remember a dull event. Regardless of the event youíre covering, whether it be a run-of-the-mill corporate event to a really exciting product launch, try to find something to make it really memorable.
If the attendance is a bit on the low side, try taking a lot of detail shots of the food and decor instead of wide establishing shots. My go-to move to make sure each set of photos is unique in a slow event is to try to take portraits of people that are in attendance. The idea behind this is so that people will have a nice token to remember the event by, instead of the boring time they had.
3.Donít be a wallflower
Who will people be more receptive to? The creepy stranger with a large camera taking photos of them when theyíre not looking or the friendly photographer who introduces himself and takes time to chat before taking their photos?
Event photography involves a lot of socializing and this can become exhausting with the long hours. Instead of seeing it as a burden, think of it as an investment.
Events are a good chance to expand your network of clients, so take some time to get to know your subjects before taking their photos. A thirty second conversation will result in a much better photograph and who knows, it might have just gotten you your next client.
4. Always be prepared
This tip is not limited to the equipment youíre supposed to bring. Although itís best practice advice to arrive at any shoot with a wide range of lenses, extra battery and a armory of memory cards, Iím talking about preparing yourself physically for the event as well.
Itís always a good idea to ask about the dress code so that you dress the part while mainly sticking to dark neutral palettes like black and navy. The idea is to look like you belong in the event while still being able to blend into the crowd effortlessly. Always have a pack of breath mints, an oil blotter and handkerchief ready to ensure that you still look and feel fresh even when youíre under pressure.
5. Manage expectations
Itís always important to have a chat with the client beforehand to talk over their expectations and the outcome that is expected of you. Some clients may not be aware of your very specific requirements and vice-versa so itís best to talk it over beforehand. For example, some events may have sponsors that need to be documented as part of their contract with your client, while other events may have VIPs that need to be photographed.
Ask about key moments that need to be captured, or if thereís a stage involved, a special area that you can stand in to get the best shot. Set deadlines and shot requirements beforehand so that both sides can prepare themselves and reduce stress on the actual event.