Event photography is how I got my original start when doing photos. I thought I loved it but I actually didn’t lol. My weekends stayed booked to the point where I had no life on the weekends. I was chasing the money and got burnt out fast. These days I only do events for clients who have been with me from the beginning. If I do any other photo events I make sure I don’t overbook my weekends so that I can have some time for my kids and I. The best part about event photography is ….I get to sit in a corner and shoot without many people noticing me. I am an introvert so sitting in a corner is my thing I can move around the room without bringing attention to myself which allows me to capture the perfect moments. Event photography can be big business but it can be time consuming. Tip: The big money is doing smaller birthday parties for clients. That’s how I racked up…you see parents go all out for their kids birthday parties so why not get them to hire you to take the photos. It’s a huge business that hasn’t been tapped yet. The focus is to allow the parents to entertain their guests while you take the photos taking the photography off of their hands so that they can enjoy the guests and enjoy the moments.
I charge $75 an hour to do event photos but I know some people charge way more. Normally I am booked for two hours with clients and they normally bring me in during the middle part of the 2 hour party. As an extra service I always give them an extra 30 min free either before or after the party as my way of capturing some fun just family photos before the guests arrive or some fun photos of just the birthday child alone at the end. Usually in the span of 2 hrs and a half I can take up to 300 shots. Out of the 300 shots 200 may come out good so I give you all that come out great. I guess me being cheap was why I was so booked but yep…..again I only do events for clients whom have worked with me in some type of capacity before. So what are my tips for event photos? Here are 5
- Please have the right gear – When it comes to events I travel with my wide lens (35mm or my 24mm) and my 50mm prime. That’s all I use! Now I do travel with the rest of my lens so if I need to I can pull out my macro but I hardly ever need it. I also have a flash on my camera that I bought. Sometimes the lighting isn’t good in dark places so that flash comes in handy. I will be honest and say I always go and check the places out before hand to see what kind of lighting there is so I can know what the good corners are. If an event is at night I go the night before and make sure I know the angles so that on the day of the event I’m ready. (I also get lost a lot and don’t like to be late so this assures that I know where I’m going ahead of time)
- Shoot in Raw so you can fix it later – When I tell you I take up a lot of space….I do. I won’t tell you how many SD cards I use per event but trust me you will want to bring about 3 backups with you. Shoot in Raw so that you can fix your white balance later. If the light levels are low, then open up that aperture and dial up the ISO.
- Capture the Moments – Event Photography is all about the moments. I love to capture the moments like selfies, hugging, moments when other people are taking the photos, laughter, hugs, etc. Events are not about you it’s about what you can capture and how you tell the story. A major tip is that I follow the main host around so whoever the party is about…follow them. Keep your eye on them at all time. People will be going up to hug them, take pictures with them, and they will have a lot of emotions on their face. They are the ones that hire you so while you can pan out and take the crowd make sure you circle back to the main person of the party. I do this about every 15 min so that I don’t miss anything. I also pretend that I am an attendee to a lavish party and I am the VIP guest…as the VIP guest what would you like to see. Put yourself in the attendee’s shoes and shoot from that perspective.
4. Know what the key message is for each event – If I am doing a baby shower the key is to get mom and dad in their element. Capture the games, capture the decor that reveals the sex of the baby, get some of people rubbing moms belly, get some of gifts coming in, etc. If you are doing a child’s birthday party….the key is to capture the child having fun with their friends. Make sure you get a picture of the cake and them blowing out their candles…if you miss that shot you should be fired *side eye*
5. Get Creative – Some party goers have booths…you can bring your own or have them set up a spot where partygoers can take the perfect backdrop party picture. Bring props and have fun! Also if you are short like me bring a stool so you can get the top of the party and get a different perspective. I get on stools, shoot from waist down, I also make sure I shoot from various angles in the room.
Here are a few more tips
- Try to stick to a certain number for parties. I never shoot a party with more than 60 people max. If it’s over 60 I have to bring in a second shooter because one person can’t capture that many guests
- I stress that you need to check out the place beforehand. You can bring some of your own lighting if need be and you can probably set up something outside especially if it’s in the daytime or getting dusk
- Some folks will notice you walking around with the camera…capture their smiles and tell them to strike a pose
- Have your business card ready trust me….if someone sees you shooting they will ask you to come take photos of their next event
- If you can shoot the room empty and get some setup shots…I don’t normally offer those unless they want me to come 30 min early (that’s why I always ask before or after. If I come before, I do setup shots if I do after I get more intimate moments)
- I only take photos that people are smiling in. I was at a party and someone started arguing you don’t want to capture that or have any of that in your photos
- Be near proper lighting. I don’t like my flash most of the time so I try to make sure I near light of some sort so that I don’t have to bring out the flash
- Look at your photos a few times to make sure you are getting good shots. I try to make sure that I do this because this saves me time when I edit. Less editing is what I always aim for
- Get a shot that makes it look like a lot of people are attending. A room shot is great because some folks like to show off *side eye*
What are some tips that you can give for event photography? Would you hire someone to take your child’s birthday so that you won’t have to worry about capturing those special moments?