9 Event Photography Tips for Getting Your Best Shots

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By James Maher

Source: Digital Photo Mentor

Photographing events can be fun, but they are certainly not easy! Things move fast, there’s usually a ton of energy in the air, and the best moments often don’t occur twice.

As someone who has photographed events in New York City for the past 12 years, here are my most important event photography tips and strategies for nailing a shoot, whether it is a small family gathering, an evening cocktail event, or a wedding with a very intense mother-in-law!

9 Event Photography Tips and Strategies

photographer captures the expressions on the faces of the judges at the wine tasting event

1. Set up the shot and wait for the expressions

Good event photography is all about expressions.

While you often will need to capture some environmental shots, the photographs of people are the stars of the show, and to take a good photograph of people you need good expressions. Event photography is much more than just aiming the camera and shooting. It’s about seeking out poignant moments, powerful expressions, and often just waiting for them to appear.

Pay attention to the looks in people’s eyes.

Set up a shot and wait for someone to smile or react.

Inexperienced event photographers will put their camera down and by the time the moment happens they will have missed it.

Experienced event photographers will feel that a great moment could occur and they will wait with their camera at attention as it happens. Sometimes, even often, that moment doesn’t ever come. But the handful of times it does occur during the event will likely result in the most spectacular photographs of the day.

image is filled with the subject of the photograph

2. Fill the frame

Fill the frame with your subjects, make that expression prominent, and get rid of the fluff that doesn’t add to the moment.

When we talk about creating images with emotion, capturing strong facial expressions is usually how you do that. But in addition to nailing the timing of the shot, framing is just as important.

It is wonderful to create complex images capturing the people, the background, or multiple things happening at once. You should certainly try to get those images, but when a powerful moment happens, get in there and frame what’s most important.

3. Be aware of your surroundings and look for that special moment

There is a reason why experience is so important for event photography. That is because event photographers learn to have a good feel for what is going on so they can anticipate what is going to happen.

Your awareness is so important at events.

When the camera is down you should be looking around trying to figure out where and when the next picture-perfect moment is going to appear.

photographer captures the moment when the man kisses the woman

4. Don’t settle for stiff shots!

Uncomfortable people are the bain of every event photographer’s existence.

If everyone were outgoing and extroverted, the job would be so much easier, but that’s just not the reality, and your job is to help make people comfortable.

As an introvert myself, this was a tough skill to learn but trust me, it’s possible for even the quietest event photographer to master this. If you see someone who looks uncomfortable, whether it’s a candid shot or a posed portrait, talk to them! Smile, ask them how their day is going, and show genuine interest. Crack a joke, find something in common, and just engage them in any way you can.

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