What Is Event Photography?
Those already working in the event photography industry know that the job may look glamourous where you get to attend some good and some not-so-good events. But they also know that the industry comes with its own set of challenges. If you are a beginner or a professional photographer, there are some things you can keep in mind while going for your next event to overcome those challenges and have an amazing experience. After reading this guide you will find out that there’s much more to event photography than meets the eye.
Here are things to do before, during and after an event
Here is a complete list of things you should do as an event photographer before, during and after the event.
Before the event
Here are the things you should do as an event photographer before the event.
1. Expectations of Client
The first thing to do as a photographer before an event is to sit down with a client to understand the needs and requirements. It is obvious that if a person has hired you for an event, he/she may have some expectations. Now, let us assume that the client has little to no idea about how your job is done. But it is a fact that the client has something in mind when it comes to the final product.
So, it is very important to talk to the client about the expectations directly because, during the event, the client won’t have time to monitor you. And it is you who is going to be responsible for the final product. So, it is better to have a briefing before the event to avoid any future conflict. Also, this gives the client some sort of relief and a feeling of comfort.
2. Make a list of important moments
Another thing to keep in mind before an event is to make a list of all the important moments. Doing this can help in a lot of ways as photographing an event can be stressful at times and sometimes you can get riled up capturing one part of the event while missing out on the others. Also, it is hard to catch up with the pace of an event if you are not already prepared for what is coming.
But if you have a list, you can manage accordingly. So, whether it is party photography, wedding photography, birthday photography or any other event photography, if you have a list, you can capture the events in their entirety.
Here are a few reasons why making a list can help you in the long run-
- Making a list ensures that you don’t miss any crucial moments.
- It also helps in ensuring that you and the client are on good terms.
- A list saves you from false accusations from clients who may say that you missed this or that.
- And lastly, a list helps you photographing the event with ease.
3. Arrange a contract (Trust us, you will need it)
Now, this is something that you must take care of at the beginning of event photography. The problem arises when at the end of an event, the client denies to pay you or asks for a refund because something went wrong during the event. Believe it, this happens a lot during big as well as small events. The client may spend too much on the event that he/she may not have money to pay.
So, they try to hold your payment. Also, if something bad happens during the event which is not in your hands, the client may try to put the blame on you or just straight up deny to pay you. This is where a written contract comes into play.
Having a contract in hands can help you in avoiding such situations. If you want such a contract, consult a contract lawyer. A lawyer can take care of such legalities in the beginning so that you don’t have to worry about not getting paid.
4. Keep spare equipment
Now, this one goes without a saying. It is necessary to use the right event photography equipment according to the needs of the event. If it’s an indoor event or birthday photography arrange enough lighting to illuminate the subject and capture the subject clearly.
And if it’s an outdoor event, check if the natural lighting is enough to click clear pictures. But it is also necessary to be well equipped in case of any crisis. During event photography, there’s a possibility of things going wrong.
Your camera can run out of batteries, or your lens may get damaged (generally, this doesn’t happen), or the lighting may not be enough to click good pictures. Clicking good event photos is your responsibility so make sure that you take it like one and be well-equipped.
During the event
Here are the things you should do as an event photographer during the event.
1. Dress appropriately
You are an event photographer and you are supposed to capture the best moments and some not so best moments from an event. While you are watching people, venue and other things at an event, keep in mind that you are also being watched.
So, it is best if you dress according to the event. For example, if it’s corporate event photography and everyone is dressed formally, all you have to do is go with the theme. if it's birthday photography then you have to dress casual or according to a theme party.
If you don’t want to wear a three-piece suit, it’s fine. A tucked-in shirt and formal trousers will help you in looking presentable. Same way, if it’s a wedding, don’t show up in something that might make the guests uncomfortable. Even if you are not an invited guest and just a photographer, people will notice your attire during the event. Also, think of those guests as potential customers. So, just dress to impress.
2. Arrive early
Now, this one is something that you have to follow. If you arrive late or right when an event starts, you can miss out on so many opportunities. For event photographers, arriving early is not just appreciated by the clients but it is also rewarding. Reaching early at an event gives you time to compose yourself. You won’t have to rush into things.
Another good thing about reaching early at an event is that you will be able to take pre-event photos of the venue. When there are no people around, you can take an ample amount of photos of the venue which will be appreciated by the client.
Also, you can identify the angles from where you can take the best photos and also find out the sweet spots where can go take a break. So, don’t think twice about it and reach an hour early at the event if possible.
3. Know when to use flash
Now, this is a problem that a lot of photographers have to deal with. Event photography might be a fun thing to do but it has its own set of problems. Most event photographers don’t think about them before the event and when the event starts, those problems start to come forward with prominence. One of those problems is the dilemma of using flash.
While covering a low light event or poorly lit event, photographers struggle with clicking clear pictures. It is easy when the event takes place during day time as natural light is there to support. But during the night time or indoor events with laser lights, clicking decent pictures becomes hard. Due to this, photographers opt for flashlights.
Flashlights can make the photo look unnatural so make sure that you use flashlights where necessary or when the conditions are right. For example when there’s really low light, then use flash. While covering indoor events, you can use an external flash to bounce light off the ceiling to make it look more natural.
4. Don’t ruin the view for others
Now this one goes without a saying. If you are covering an event, keep in mind that others are there to enjoy it. So, don’t become a trouble for the guests by blocking their view or standing at an entrance where people are finding it hard to pass through because of your camera set up. Also, if you keep standing at one spot and don’t move around, it can bother the client who has paid you to cover the entire event.
The key is to keep moving. Don’t set up your camera where the view is being blocked. This can really bother the guests. This is true for all types of event photography. Whether it is wedding photography, concert photography, or corporate event photography, be kind and make way for the people to enjoy.
5. Go candid
Clients appreciate if you cover the event as instructed or as discussed. If you have made a list of things to cover at an event then complete it by the end of the event. But you have to find a way to stand out and make it worth your time.
The best way to do that is by clicking candid moments. An event can have hundreds, if not thousands, candid moments that are photograph worthy. So, move around and look out for such moments to do candid event photography.
Make sure that the candid photographs you are taking are relevant. Relevance can play a huge role as a lot of times photographers click super random photos that are not worth sharing. Also, clicking photos or people eating or chewing may seem disgusting to some.
So, avoid clicking pictures that can make people awkward. Now, candid photography might be a good thing to do but make sure that the subject is not bothered with your presence or the subject doesn’t have any problem with being clicked. If you are unsure then ask before clicking a photo. It’s polite and professional.
6. Know when to stop
Lastly, know when to stop. Event photography can be exhausting at times and the last thing you want is to stay after-hours and work even though the equipment is on the verge of shutting off. Also, the guests sometimes ask you to keep clicking photos even when the event is over.
So as a professional, you are supposed to put some boundaries and extent to the amount of time you will give to the event. If you want to leave right when the event is over, you can add that in your ‘contract’. This way you can avoid situations of conflict with the client.
After the event
Here are the things you should do as an event photographer after the event.
1. Reach out guests if possible
This is where your communication skills will be required. Reaching out and making conversations with the guests may seem like too much work or something that you normally do. But think of it as business expansion. Reaching out to those guests can mean reaching out to your potential customers. Let’s supposed you cover a birthday party and there are close friends and family members of the client.
If you reach out to those people and put on a happy face, they may actually consider your service next time there’s a birthday party in their house. This small step of yours can help you in building references and maintain goodwill in the event photography industry.
Event photography is not just about clicking photographs and going back home. Event photography is more of an interactive process that requires you to fully indulge yourself and improvise ways to get better at what you are doing. So, if you are getting opportunities to build references by reaching out to the guests then we would recommend you to totally go for it.
2. Deliver on time
Last but not least, deliver photos on time. Nothing is worse for your business than delivering the final output months after the event. It will not only reflect badly on your event photography business but it may also result in you losing clients.
Delivering the final album or photos from the event on time builds the trust of clients in your business. If you have clicked photos and want the client to select the best ones for the final album, use good photo sharing and selection techniques so that you can ensure faster delivery
What all equipment you need for event photography?
As Event Photography usually takes place after dark, this photography is not like any other genre of photography. Hence you have to understand what all equipment you need for such a photoshoot:
This is a no brainer. We all know that we need a camera for any kind of shoot, and in a scenario where the lighting conditions are not in your favour, you need nothing but the best camera for your shoot.
Without a proper lens, a camera is of no use either. Hence if you want the best results, you not only need a great camera, you also need some great lenses. And as you are shooting in a low light environment, you need some prime lenses as they have larger aperture opening which will let more light into the sensor making it possible for you to use a faster shutter speed.
When you are shooting in low light conditions, you need an off-camera flash as they are more powerful than the actual flash of most cameras and using them will not drain the battery of your camera.
A Wireless Shutter Button
When you have the camera on a tripod stand and you are using longer shutter speed, you need a wireless shutter so that you do not more the camera while physically clicking the shutter button.
Battery and Memory Backups
Not just for this event, but you should carry extra battery and memory cards for every photoshoot.
Which is the Best Camera for Event Photography?
Here is a list of some of the best cameras that you can use for event photography:
Canon EOS 6D
Panasonic Lumix ZS200/TZ200
Sony Rx100 Mk III
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II.
What are the Best Camera Settings for Night Events?
There are no perfect settings when it comes to event photography and each photo might have a different camera setting. But if you are someone who is a beginner and is out to learn the basics Then here are the settings that you should start with and then gradually change them according to your preference.
At night time, the ISO of the camera should be around 1600. The aperture should be as wide as possible unless you are looking for a wider depth of field. And the shutter speed of the camera always has to be adjusted according to the focal length. When you have a larger focal length you also need a faster shutter speed so that the image doesn't result blurry. To understand this, imagine your focal length is x, then the shutter speed for a clear picture needs to be 1/x or faster.
While doing event photography, don’t forget that along with being the photographer, you are also attending that event. So don’t forget to have fun. Photography as a profession is supposed to be a fun experience where you get to see a lot of things and meet a lot of people. So, rather than stressing over small things, try to look at the bigger picture, always. Whether it is event photography or any other types of photography, make sure that you have a list of tasks that you want to achieve from that event and enjoy each and every moment of it.