It's Photography

My tips for photographing events

July 26, 2017

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

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

  • Reply
    robin rue
    July 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I love it when photographers get creative. Props are fun, but like you said not everyone has them or likes them.

  • Reply
    Alli Smith
    July 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    These are all excellent tips. I’m shooting a baby gender reveal party this weekend and I need these. I always shoot in raw and manual but mostly do food photography.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Wish I had know some of this information sooner. Would have saved me some headaches.

  • Reply
    Sheena Steward
    July 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    That was VERY helpful information!!! I’m not a photographer but I’m a blogger therefore I’m always taking pictures. I love how you throw in 30 extra minutes for the family. That’s so awesome and people will definitely remember that. Knowing the message you’re trying to convey is definitely important as well as checking out the space beforehand. Let’s not forget having fun and being creative. I mean your whole post was amazing! I can tell that you’re a great photographer you work with. You’re one that provides great direction and insight to your clients!

  • Reply
    Heather Gallagher
    July 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    what amazing tips. I keep getting told to shoot in the raw but I haven’t tried it yet – I think you inspired me 😉 Your pictures are beautiful! (That baby on the lap is so sweet!!!)

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    My husband is a photographer, but he is not done too many events. I think a show in this post if you get some great pointers for his next event.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    These are great tips! I think one of the things that I’ve always found a challenge with photographing events is lighting. You can’t choose the lighting and I only use a flash when I need to, so I have to be fast and work with what I’ve got!

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    These are so many great tips. I love taking photos but I don’t know that I’m all that good at it!

  • Reply
    Tanay Michele
    July 26, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    This is awesome for photographers! Having a second person to shoot is a great tip.

  • Reply
    Jenn @ EngineerMommy
    July 26, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Photography is both a science and art. I love the tips you shared here. While my photos have improved, I can still use tips to fine tune my skills.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    These are great tips for shooting events. Checking out the place beforehand is a great tip and definitely makes a lot of sense.

  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    July 27, 2017 at 1:58 am

    I adore photography yet I’m not really good at it. I hire a photographer so I can be in the pictures and in the moment.

  • Reply
    Vivtoria Heckstall
    July 27, 2017 at 8:56 am

    What a brilliant tips! Photography is the most important in an event and I’m really glad that you shared your tips.

  • Reply
    valmg @ Mom Knows It All
    July 27, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I wouldn’t hire a photographer for a child’s birthday party. These are sensible tips, some would make lots of sense for big events like baby showers and such.

  • Reply
    Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen
    July 27, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    You’ve given some great tips! I’ve never photographed people, only food, so these things wouldn’t immediately come to mind. Definitely some things to consider if I ever make the leap to that side. 🙂

  • Reply
    Our Family World
    July 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    These are great tips! I am not comfortable in front of a camera so I always volunteer to be the “official” photographer. Thank you for sharing these tips.

  • Reply
    Jillian Spellman
    July 27, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I will be photographing an event soon and these tips will come in handy. I will be bringing two SD cards and my camera charger for sure!

  • Reply
    Shantel Collins
    July 27, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    These are excellent tips Kita. I just started about a few weeks ago shooting in raw. I’m looking forward to doing some nature shots during the winter.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Great Tips!!! I am pinning this to come back to and study later! I love the action shots!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 2:07 am

    I just pinned this post a lot good tips I can apply when out doing reviews and attending events. Thanks for sharing I appreciate your generousity.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 2:41 am

    These photography tips are so spot on–I especially love the tip about capturing moments because those are the photos that will stand out from the entire event. You are such a talented photographer!

  • Reply
    Kate | Life of a Ginger
    July 28, 2017 at 3:30 am

    You have picked some great tips! I love it when photographers take more candid photos instead of so many posed. I always seem to get the best photos when no one realizes I’m taking the picture!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 4:09 am

    amazing tips!! I love the tip about bringing a second shooter for over 60 people, that is critical! I love the shots that you shared here!!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 6:17 am

    I am hardly a photographer, so these are all great tips. I’m going to use your tips and make it do what it do with my little Samsung phone. Lol!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Thank you for the tips, im still at the practice stage with my photography. I’ll definitely shoot in raw from now on!

  • Reply
    David Elliott
    July 28, 2017 at 9:12 am

    You have taken some amazing pictures here. I love all of the intimate moments you capture. You do well with the cameras that you have. I definitely could use some equipment like this.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2017 at 11:17 am

    These are great tips, going to have to remember them! These shots that you captured at events are all awesome!

  • Reply
    EG III
    July 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Love the natural shots. And I totally agree with your choice of lenses (nifty fifty usually does the trick for me, but I’d like to try the wide angle as well).

  • Reply
    Tiffany Haywood
    July 29, 2017 at 1:31 am

    Awesome tips Kita!! I love the one about capturing the moments. I think some of the best memories are the unexpected ones and a photographer who can see those is one to be truly valued.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2017 at 9:43 am

    These are fantastic tips! I still just take photos here and there, nothing big like this. You have captured some wonderful moments here!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    These are great tips. I suck at taking photos. I am trying to improve though.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Great tips and info. Also glad you realized you were burning yourself out and pumped the brakes a bit.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Great post. The tips you provided are very helpful. I like your suggestion of visiting the venue prior to the event. This was the most helpful tip for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Great tips! You captured great memories with your photos!

  • Reply
    Angela Holmes
    August 2, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Excellent tips, Amazing photography your photographs are very beautiful, I love it. Even I love to do photography so its really very useful for me. Thanks for the post.

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