Event Photography Tips

Professional event photography tends to be a specialised niche segment among the wide and varied genres of photography but definitely one that you can carve out a full time gig if you commit to it. 

This article will cover some event photography tips that are useful in business events, conference events and awards presentations.

Event photography equipment
First and foremost you will only be as good as your equipment will allow you to be so you have to invest in professional gear and pretty much double up on an extra body and extra flash in case of equipment failure. Yes it adds up quickly. At a minimum that usually means a ‘full frame’ DSLR camera with an emphasis on the ‘pro’ features in auto focus and manual overides. In terms of lenses, Pro zoom lenses are the best and at a minimum you will need at least two. I find the most useful being a 28-70 and a 70-200. These allow you the greatest flexibility especially in conference events where you have a much larger venue that will definitely be testing you on both lenses. Prime lenses f2.8 are the best of course allowing you to shoot in low light and blur your backgrounds but you can get away with f4.0 if budget cannot be stretched. Add in a pro flash with quick recycle times, ETTL and maybe an external battery source to ease battery life anxiety.

Bring your skills
If content, lighting, angles and attention to detail is in your bag of tricks you will easily make the brief and make your client happy. Get there early, scope the venue, get your bearings, check the lighting, meet the client and think about doing a great job!  

Usually you will get a brief from the client with details on the event and the must have shots. Goes without saying you should nail this without getting distracted. Make it a priority.

Event lighting is something you must be very aware of. Even with the best camera equipment, the amount, direction, and quality of light make all the difference between a great photo and a terrible one. Make sure you understand the ‘colour’ of light and white balance, these are your friends. Try to avoid flash photography unless no other way.

Choosing your angle can make a great deal of difference and, if time allows, don’t be afraid to move around and see how the view looks from various angles. And try placing the subject in different parts of the picture rather than always dead center.

You will need to have a great understanding with your flash, its capabilities and how to soften its impact to gain a more natural result. Often this requires powering down the flash level and/or use of a flash diffuser.

Post production is a very important part of your event photography service and you should be skilled in Photoshop and Lightroom to turn around high level results. Make sure you give your clients low resolution  jpegs for screen and web use and high resolution jpegs for print use.

Event photography pricing is a minefield and everyone will have a different approach, its as much about the photographer, their experience and results but no doubt, as with everything you will have to find the pocket where you live. Initially of course your rates will have to be lower than seasoned professionals. No one can tell you what to charge but you will figure out.

Keep at it
The more you do the better you become, always seek to improve and be proud of the work you do. Good luck.

Also check out what we always cover in our event photography shot list.