If you’re just starting out in your event photography journey and you feel like all the information is overwhelming, let me tell you, it’s normal.
Event photography can be intimidating at first. Imagine all the technical terms, gears, and techniques that you can find everywhere whether online or offline. It’s a lot, actually.
And finding a lot of things to learn and not knowing where to start can easily lead you to overwhelm yourself.
But let me tell you this:
In event photography, everyone started as a beginner.
Like us in HayotFilms, we started at the bottom and we made our way here.
And yup, it’s never too late to start things.
And since we know what it feels like to start—we have prepared the simplest guide to kickstart your event photography journey right now.
But before that…
Why is Event Photography Important?
Well, event photography is very important in a lot of ways. Here are a few reasons.
- It captures moments that can never be repeated
- It provides your business or your event credibility
- For businesses, it gives you the opportunity to properly market your product or service
- It shows that your business or your event is professional and well taken care of
- You can easily build trust from the viewers and the event attendees
And the best part?
Event photography can give you an asset that you can use again and again in the future, whether it’s for marketing purposes or just reminiscing about the beautifully captured moments in your life.
The different photos that were shot will show various emotions from the people in the event—highlighting critical components of the event. These are the happenings that you won’t remember in the future if not captured.
If there is something beautiful that happened in your life, you would actually want to remember it in the future, right?
Truth is, life is full of moments that are full of joy and learning. And these moments will never be the same again.
Imagine your grandma showing you a photo of her wedding with your grandfather. Imagine her face all happy and excited like it just happened yesterday. She remembers everything vividly and still smiles at the beautiful memory.
Yes, that’s the importance of event photography.
So, in today’s guide, we will show you our seven simple tips that will completely transform your shots.
Since these moments will never happen again, might as well take photos nicely, right?
Before we start, let me remind you again that everyone started as a beginner. And if we were able to make it, then you can, too.
Let this article be your step-by-step guide.
Tip #1: Learn Composition and Framing
This tip can sound like jargon if you’re just starting but it’s actually just simple.
Composition is just the arrangement of visual elements within your frame, while framing is the placement of objects (or characters). These two determine how is everything arranged on your frame.
We recommend to please learn this as much as you can this tip alone can already transform your shots.
Below are some quick guidelines you can start knowing about.
Know About the Rule of Thirds & Leading Lines
Rule of Thirds is a simple guide that divides the frame into 9 equal parts, similar to a tic-tac-toe board. This suggests placing the subject along these lines (or at the intersections) to create a balanced result in your shot.
On the other hand, leading lines guide the viewer’s attention toward your main subject. These lines can be curved, straight, or even diagonal. Their main goal is to ‘lead’ the viewer’s gaze through the photo.
Utilize Foreground & Background Elements
These two refer to the subjects and objects that show in the front & back of your photos.
Foreground elements are those that are positioned closer to your camera. These elements lead the viewer’s eye to your image. These can be any object such as flowers, pencils, candies, rocks… you name it.
Background elements, from the word background itself, are located farther away from your subject. These elements contribute to the overall atmosphere and storytelling of what is in your photo.
Once you utilize both foreground and background elements, you can surely enhance your photographs in no time.
Try Different Event Photography Perspectives
As a beginner, it’s best to try out various angles and viewpoints while trying to capture your images.
And no, this is not just for beginners. Even seasoned photographers always make sure they experiment with different perspectives as it shows various ways to convey your message through the photos you have captured.
- Instead of shooting from eye level, you can boost your creativity by tweaking your position a bit. Take the shot from top to bottom? Do as you wish and see for yourself what works best.
- You can also try crouching down or even find something to step on to make things more interesting.
- How about moving closer to the subject or taking the shot farther away?
- You can even try tilting your camera and see if it will show you a better and more creative result
Yes, trying out different perspectives can do wonders for your shots so don’t be afraid to do so. At the end of the day, what you want are shots that stand out and these perspectives can show you what are those.
Tip #2: Use Lighting Effectively
Did you know that lighting can make or break your final image?
Yes, because proper lighting can help you set the mood of your shots. It can also highlight the important details in the picture.
Ever wonder why people like to take a selfie when the sun is bright?
Yup, that’s because of the lighting. It can enhance your photos effectively. So, practicing and mastering lighting techniques can really boost your event photographer career to the next level.
Here are some quick items that you need to know to start:
Always Make Use of Natural Light
Whenever possible, always use natural light. Because come on, nothing beats being natural in all aspects, right?
It’s also great to always consider the direction and the intensity of the sunlight.
Note that the soft light during the golden hours of the morning or the late afternoon can make a warm and nice atmosphere in your photos. And that the midday hours are more intense and bright.
Depending on where you are in the world, we recommend you experiment during the different hours of your day to see which time is the best for you to use the natural light.
Use Flash and Artificial Lighting Techniques
Of course, not every event can use natural light.
So, for instances where natural light is limited, then you can always use artificial light such as strobes, flash, and more.
Flash provides artificial light to fill in shadows and create lighting effects, and it can also light up objects in dimmer environments as needed.
Other artificial lighting sources like strobes or continuous lights are used for more creative control of your certain lighting setup. These will enable you to shape the scene as you wish, create dramatic photos, or even highlight the specific elements in your photograph.
Balance Natural & Artificial Light in Your Event Photography
Of course, the right balance of both is equally as important.
When you try to balance the two, it can lead to beautiful shots.
You can do this by assessing first where the natural light conditions are at your event. From there, you can determine what’s the role of your artificial lights. You can even use light modifiers so you can control the shape of the light.
Then, go ahead and adjust your artificial lights to match the natural light on your event. During post-processing, you can also make some experiments and more adjustments until you come up with something you are satisfied with.
Overall, getting the perfect balance of natural and artificial light can make your photos natural-looking and well-exposed at the same time—a perfect combo for an appealing final output.
Tip #3: Capture Candid Moments & Emotions
These moments are priceless, so we, as photographers, need to capture them.
Also, these moments add a sense of authenticity to your images.
These shots should be spontaneous and genuine. The emotions should be expressed clearly enough in your photos.
These candid moments also would come and go super fast, so we recommend using a fast shutter speed to capture these moments as this will avoid motion blur.
Of course, capturing these candid moments is what we want, but it is also always important to:
Be Patient & Observant
You cannot force the people at your event to be candid when you want to, that’s why patience is always very important.
You have to wait for the right time. And you have to be present to capture that shot once the timing arrives.
Make sure that you pay attention to the surroundings so you can capture the moments that you need. Look for interactions, emotions, and gestures that are worth keeping—and take those shots.
Blend Into the Crowd
This seems to be self-explanatory, but most newbie photographers forget this.
Always avoid showing yourself there as the photographer and that you are there to take photos only.
Try to blend into the crowd. Be one of them. Start conversations. Show interest in the event. Build rapport and make connections as needed, too.
Have them see you as someone they will be comfortable to be with.
And from there, candid shots will flow naturally to you.
I mean, look at the photo below. Do you ever want your candid shots to look like this? Can you even call this candid?
Of course not.
So if you want natural emotions and reactions from the crowd, it has to start with you.
Predict Fleeting Moments in Your Event Photography
Okay, I know you’re not a fortune teller but it’s actually quite easy to anticipate these moments on when they will occur if you are observing properly.
First, familiarize yourself with the subject and your environment. Then, you can start looking for connections, emotions, and some interaction that can lead to telling a story.
It may not happen at the start of the event, but it will surely show sometime soon.
That’s why being patient and observant is very important. Also, just embrace all the imperfect shots that you have as these are live moments. You shouldn’t be discouraged if your shots aren’t as good yet.
The best is yet to come for you. It always arrives at the right moment.
And when it comes, be sure to be present.
Tip: Use your camera’s burst mode. This will continuously shoot a sequence of images and it increases the chances of getting that emotional shot you’ve been wanting to capture.
Tip #4: Build Rapport and Interact with Subjects
This tip is very important as you need to establish a connection to your subject(s) to make sure you are putting them at ease.
Once they are comfortable with you, you can now easily direct them for more engaging shots. Or better, you can see the real emotions of real people in your images.
And as a live event photographer, this should be a great success for you if you’re able to pull these real emotions off from your subjects. Let’s discuss this further below.
Connect With the Event Organizers
The very first people you can build rapport with are the event organizers or the key people involved in making the event come to life.
Reach out to them and introduce yourself and your profession. Show them your interest in making their event better by providing the best memories you can capture using the photography skills that you’ve got.
It would also be great if you ask them what kinds of shots they like to see, so you would have a guide on what they want to expect after the event.
By doing this, not only you are understanding what is needed from you, but you are also creating a positive working relationship. And who knows, they might contact you again the next time they need a photographer!
Build Trust With Your Subject
Making your subject feel at ease is one thing, but building and getting their trust is another. Make sure you do both for the best results.
You can do this by approaching them in a friendly way. Tell them why you’re there, and what you do, and let me know that you aim to take the best moments at that event. Also don’t forget to offer assurance and appreciation throughout the shoot.
Small talks create a relaxed atmosphere, and this kind of atmosphere makes everyone at ease and comfortable—and this is what you want to have.
Direct & Pose Subjects When Able
Candid moments are very important, but sometimes you can also direct your subject for a more visual and engaging result. This is usually effective for marketing purposes.
Help your subject by guiding them gently on what they need to do. Teach them how to feel confident through your clear and friendly instructions.
Please note that you don’t have to do this all the time, but when you can, there is no harm in adding directed shots to make the overall output visually pleasing.
But just a reminder to please always respect the comfort level of your subjects. Ask for consent when taking intimate shots. Take culture into consideration as well as we’re all from different backgrounds. By doing these, you are also building trust.
Tip #5: Plan Your Event Photography Ahead
“Plan” may seem to be an easy word to understand, but it usually takes a lot of time and research to actually plan well.
The same goes for event photography.
Always see to it to research the event, create a shot list, and pack the needed types of equipment before you go. Being well-prepared can beat the super-talented.
And your goal is to be both.
Research the Event Thoroughly
Learn everything you can about the event prior to the event date. Know about the schedule and familiarize yourself with what to do once you’re already there.
Here are some items to learn prior:
- Purpose of the event
- Their theme
- Their overall schedule (if you can get it)
If you can research some past events, the better. Once you have detailed research on the event, it will now serve as your guide during the actual event, and believe us, it will be more seamless once you did your research. You also won’t miss important shots because you did what you have to do.
Create Your Event Photography Shot List
You can prioritize the key moments if you have a shot list.
Make your shot list as detailed as it can be. Include important moments and creative ideas if you can. By creating this list, you will make yourself focused during the event even though it’s all fast-paced. You won’t be all over the place trying to guess what works and what doesn’t. You can be prepared and so you will leave satisfied.
Keep in mind though that the shot list you created is just a guide to help you during the actual event. Things can change and just adjust through the changes. As a photographer, you have to be flexible to changes and you wouldn’t really know what would happen in the event.
Pack the Necessary Gear & Accessories
Since you already have your research and shot list, you should already know what equipment you would need as well. So make sure to pack them completely. Double-check or even triple-check if needed to make sure you are not leaving something behind.
Some items to look out for are the appropriate lenses, memory cards, and extra batteries. You can also bring your lighting gear such as flash and reflectors.
Being well-prepared with these gears can help you not to panic during the event and make your photography stunt as smooth as possible.
Tip #6: Enhance Your Images
Like anything in this world, when you make things prettier, you get applauded.
Like skincare products for glowing skin.
Or rhinoplasty for a better nose.
Or even weight loss products for the perfect body.
The same goes for your images or even your videos. Your editing techniques are also part of your talent as a photographer and it can definitely boost your photography career if done the right way.
As a live event photographer, your goal is to enhance the captured moments while still preserving the authenticity of the shots.
You may follow the steps below to ensure a nicely enhanced image.
Select the Best Shots
Once your event is finished, take time to review and organize your captured photos.
Delete duplicates or blurry photos. Take time to select the strongest images that you can use to enhance afterward. If a picture can tell a thousand words or if it looks like it conveys a story, then that is a good sign that it’s one of your best shots.
Rather than that, pay attention to the technical aspects as well. Choose photos that are well-focused, nicely exposed and those that show a strong composition. Remember, the rule of thirds and leading lines?
Also, make sure not to include a lot of images on your final lineup even though it’s very tempting to. Select only the best of the best. This will maintain the quality of your photos and it will save you time as well as you would only have to enhance the best ones.
Use Your Editing Techniques to Enhance Colors
To this date, there is a lot of editing software that you can use to enhance the colors, tones, and overall quality of your photo. Utilize that.
Adjust the contrast, white balance, and exposure as needed. Bring out the richness of the colors of your photos. Experiment with techniques such as dodging and burning to highlight or darken specific areas.
Editing may seem to be a lot at the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be surprised at how your editing works to bring life to your photos.
Maintain a Consistent Editing Style
Consistency is crucial when editing.
You don’t want your photos to be edited differently, right? This would make it confusing to you and to your viewer’s end, too.
No matter how good are you at editing, make sure to do it consistently.
In fact, doing your editing consistently can also make you recognizable as a photographer. And yup, being easily recognizable brings more and more clients your way.
Tip #7: Share and Showcase Your Work
Professionalism, consistency, and a strong online presence will make you big in this career. That’s why it’s very important to showcase your work.
Be proud of what you do. Regularly update your portfolio and social media with your latest gig and your photos. Show people the clients trust you because you deliver high-quality images.
This will also increase your chances of attracting new clients. See below some items you need to put more effort into.
Create a Website or an Online Portfolio
Having a domain of your own or a quick link to show your clients what you’ve got is a really great idea to showcase your talent.
Put effort into it and make it as professional as possible. Divide your work into categories, projects, or events. Show them your best photos. And show the internet that you are worth what you’re asking for.
Include an introduction to yourself and a strong call to action at the end. If you have testimonials from your previous clients, this is the best place to add them all up!
Expose Yourself Using Social Media
Social media is very powerful in reaching your target audience. Use it to your advantage.
Create an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even Tiktok. Schedule your posts showing your captured high-quality images.
If you have time, also engage your followers in conversations (building rapport, remember?). You can also use hashtags to increase visibility.
Join photography groups and showcase your work there as well. You will probably learn something from the others in the group since you share the same passion.
Lastly, if you have an extra budget, utilize the paid ads and target your audience with your captivating work.
Collaborate with Event Organizers & Clients
If you’re just starting, don’t be afraid to reach out and collaborate with them. Like you, they are just humans, too.
Attend events, workshops, and meetups if there are any. Meet people and build relationships and trust. Believe us, this will expand your network more than you can imagine. All you have to do is to take action.
Event Photography: Our Final Thoughts
And that’s about it. It’s simple, isn’t it?
If you have read and absorbed everything we have discussed, then you’re off to a good start.
But we have to remind you that starting isn’t enough.
You have to practice regularly to become better at this craft. The more your practice and apply our guidelines, the more you’ll grow as an event photographer.
We started this way as well. We just implemented everything we’ve learned one step at a time, on a regular basis. These tips are what we followed and practicing nonstop improved the quality of our work as a trusted event photographer in Prague.
So, if you’re ready to freeze moments in time and create lasting memories that will never be forgotten, then all you have to do is to start now.
Apply these tips to transform your shots, go out there and showcase your work, and create beautiful event photographs that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.
We are rooting for you.