Though the literal definition of event photography is capturing images of people’s events, if truth be told, it is much more than that. It is an art of capturing special occasions of people’s lives, so they can relive and cherish those special moments whenever they look back at those images.
This makes the job of event photographer so much special. An event photographer is the real star of an event.
Events involved various occasions, making it a pretty lucrative niche of photography in terms of career. This niche of photography is so diverse there is an event for you to cover as a professional event photographer no matter what is your genre of interest.
What is Event Photography meant for?
The job of an event photographer may be covering weddings, reunions, christenings, destination events, naming ceremonies, official events, parties, birthdays, celebration ceremonies, award ceremonies, funerals, meals, and engagements.
How you document someone’s special event and what kind of equipment, techniques, and post-production is required depends on the nature of the event. But here are some tips to help you make your standout compared to your fellows’ event photography industry.
Tips for better professional event photography:
Either a beginner or a professional, these 12 tips can come in handy for everyone working or looking forward to working as an event photographer.
1. Understand your client’s need
When clients hire event photographers, they usually only tell the event’s nature, number of people attending, location, and some similar general information. A client assumes that the photographer knows all about their expectations, and often photographers do not communicate in return and ask all the details about the customer’s expectations.
That’s where the problem begins resulting in an unsatisfied client despite your best efforts.
Communicate with your client and try to figure out clearly what your client is expecting from you. Besides asking about his expectations and dislikes, give him your suggestions and see if he likes them or not. Generally, customers do not know much about photography and out-of-the-box things.
Giving them suggestions will show your professionalism and expertise and enhance the chances of rehiring.
2. Research about your event
Research about the event you have to cover and ask your client about every possible information to avoid inconvenience.
You must know about the nature of the event, number of attendants, location, et cetera. It will help you find out what kind of gear you need, whether you need assistance or not, your strategy for covering events to get the best results, and what key shots will be the event’s focus.
No matter the size of the event, pre-production activities should be a ritual for you as an event photographer. After researching the event, prepare your logistics and shooting strategy.
4. Make a shot list
A shot list is part of the pre-production process, but we are addressing it separately because of its importance.
A shot list is the list of images that you are anticipating in an event. Creating a shot list is a mandatory part of good professional event photographers. It helps to organize everything better. List all the key shots you want from the event.
Before the event, share your list with your client and ask him if he wants you to add or remove something. It will increase clarity among both parties and make the client clear on what to expect from you.
5. Prepare your gear
What kind of equipment is required for an event depends upon the nature of the event but usually, you do not have to carry around all sorts of fancy equipment. The shot list you prepared earlier will help you to decide which equipment you need to take with you.
Usually, photography equipment needed for event photography is:
- You can also use mirrorless cameras, but DSLRs support more lenses compared to mirrorless ones. For variety in shots and ease, you can also carry two DSLRs with different focal lengths. With a single camera, you might have to switch lenses over and over again or face a hindrance in the job in case something happens to your camera.
- Pair of extra batteries and memory cards
- An external power flash with diffuser or reflector
- Camera lens as per event requirement
- A gadget to view results digitally
6. Pre-shooting before event
To show your clients’ dedication towards job and professionalism, reach at least half an hour at the location. Check if everything is in place and take a few shots before the event to ensure that camera settings and everything else is working and fine.
7. Always shoot in RAW format
Unlike all other formats, the RAW format contains most details, and all of these details are unprocessed. RAW images are of the highest level of quality and give a lot of margin to photographers in post-production.
Tonal changes and altering exposure levels can change the overall look of an image. RAW images have additional tonal and color data, which widens the window of making changes without ruining the quality of the image.
If the image is RAW, you can easily set the exposure and tonal settings of an under or over-exposed image even with a basic photo editor without losing any quality.
8. Be friendly with guests
Try to reach out to guests and ask them to shoot them. You can get better results and might meet your potential clients with those guests. A friendly attitude towards guests will get you finer posed and candid snaps.
Never photograph guests who are not comfortable with you shooting them. Also, being friendly doesn’t mean interpreting guests again and again. Reach out to people for posed shoots only when necessary and focus on candid shots.
9. Be very conscious of what’s happening around
Staying conscious and being present at the right place at the right time is part of your job as an event photographer. Any moment can be a special one that can be long gone if you aren’t attentive enough.
Think of yourself as an event organizer for a better understanding of where you are needed. It will also help you capture details that your client will forever cherish. Roam around everywhere in an event. When not taking inevitable posed photos, never linger around at a place or two only.
10. Give importance to candid shots
Candid photographs are the best memories for your client.
The formal shots are usually pre-planned, and you and your client have an understanding of them. Candid shots are solely the photographer. Keep an eye around the surroundings and try to capture pleasant candid photographs.
Try to be close with the subjects of the event without being noticed. If you feel someone is not comfortable with such shots, try to break the ice by initiating a conversation and asking for their permission. Avoid unflattering candids such as people shoving food in their mouths or unconsciously making a bad face.
11. Clear contract
Putting a clear contract before a job is essential to avoid miscommunication and vexation in the future.
Unfortunately, several event photographers are often seen in hot water when their clients refuse to pay them after work. To put a clear and straightforward contract, you can get help from a contract lawyer and use the same contract format for your future jobs. Before signing a contract, ensure that both parties are clear on every clause of the contract.
Besides custom clauses, an event photography contract must include:
- Date, time, and venue of the event
- Amount client is obligated to pay. Amount of advice deposit and its status. Payment transaction mode. Account details of both parties.
- Working hours
- Additional charges in case of more hours.
- In case you offer any post-production packages, details of the package your client selected and its charges.
- Details how images will be delivered
- Things that will make the contract null and void, if any.
12. Dress appropriately
As a professional, you don’t have a free pass to wear anything you want while covering an event. Imagine you are covering a high-level corporate event in jeans and a t-shirt! What impression will it leave on guests and your client? Certainly not a good one.
You do not need to dress very formally, but a little formal touch can make all the difference. Your appearance will speak for you before even people see your work or career details.
In the photography world, event photography is one of the most promising career choices. It might seem an easy job, but it isn’t. A client is always sentimentally invested in his event and expecting results from the event photographer at all costs.
Being well-prepared, staying conscious of the environment, understanding customer expectations of customers, carrying the right equipment, and capturing candids without binging guests are a few ways to deliver the perfect results.
These 12 tips we compiled will help you as an event photographer, no matter the nature of your event!