Although event photography is not the most glamorous type of gig, it can be quite lucrative, fun, and rewarding if you take the right approach. When a client calls to schedule an event booking, you will jump at the opportunity just as most photographers would. Word of mouth is golden, and if you impress people that are at the event, then you could have bookings rolling in. Events are the way to go if you want to show off your skills and meet a ton of prospective clients in the process. No two events are the same, so you will have to be fully prepared for every type of scenario. Sometimes you might end up at the wedding of the century, while others times you might be at a dinner party, or even in a cramped room with poor lighting. You just never know what type of atmosphere you will be required to work in.
Regardless of the situation at hand, you have one job and one job only, and that is to show your creative flair by producing spectacular images that your client and their guests will love. There are things that can make the process easier, if you plan in advance for all types of situations that may occur. The tips below are the main things that you will need to keep in mind when you head out on your next special event photography job.
1. Don’t Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb. Although you may want to be comfortable while you work, there is a time and a place for every type of attire. When photographing for a special event, you need to blend in with the crowd so that you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. This doesn’t mean that you have to roll up looking like you just stepped out of Vogue. It simply means that if you are attending a formal event, then you need to dress nicely. If the event will be at a beach or somewhere else that is a bit more laid back, then you may be able to get away with casual attire. Always ask your client in advance what type of attire is expected.
2. Plan Ahead for Equipment Faults or Failure. The last thing that you want is to have your equipment malfunction right at the height of an event. This would cause stress for your guests, and it would make you appear as unprofessional if you are not prepared. There are a couple of things that you can do to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. You must have backup equipment on hand.
3. Arrive Early for Pre-Shots. Pre-shots are important! While the client or event planner may forget to ask for pre-shots, they will definitely need them in the future and will appreciate your diligence. Pre-shots will allow them to showcase their work in the future, and to sell their services. They will also be able to use the photos as ideas for any similar events they will be holding in the future.
4. Don’t Over or Under Shoot. While you should be taking a variety of photos, both candidly and posed of all guests in the room, it is wise to make a mental note as to who you have photographed and who you haven’t. This will ensure that everyone is included, and that you aren’t shooting the same groups of people over and over. Candid shots with ambient lighting are wonderful, but always remember to shoot the stage and other areas when the guests are dining. Shoot conservatively with brilliance in mind for the best results.
5. Be Aware of Cultural Issues. We live in one of the most diverse nations in the world. Cultural issues can seriously hinder things if you are not educated. As an event photographer, you work for the client and must cater to their needs. This means that you must meet their expectations of respect, and you have to be sensitive to their needs. Research before the gig to ensure that you understand how to behave appropriately where cultural beliefs may come into play.
6. Be Quick. Whether you are taking candid shots during the cocktail hour, or are taking posed shots that your client has requested, you have to be quick about it. Get your shot lined up, shoot off your frames, and move on. Guests are at the event to have a good time, not to spend the whole evening posing for your photos. If you are shooting towards the stage, then a long lens will probably be best. If you are shooting more intimate, up close shots, then a wide lens will look brilliant.
7. Countdown to the End and Delivery. When the event is winding down, tell the event manager in advance that you will be wrapping things up. This is important because their concentration will be on making sure the event is running smoothly, not on how much time is available for photos. Telling them of a countdown in advance will prevent disappointment in missing particular shots, and it will save you the frustration of not having to pack and unpack your equipment to accommodate their needs. Many of the photos you take will probably be scrapped, as is the case with any photographer. Since you will probably have 3 frames of everything you have shot, this will not be a problem. Only give your client the best of the 3 frames. Great editing and quick delivery will ensure that your clients will come back for more in the future.
Even if you have spent days preparing for an event, there are things that could still crop up that you may be unprepared for. Simply roll with whatever comes your way, and do the best job that you can possibly do. Following the above tips will ensure that you at least have the groundwork in place for success. The best course of action is to always try to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances.
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