While there are hundreds of people with iPhones shooting photos at your event, most of there pictures won't compare to the feeling and style conveyed by professionally photographed imagery.
I love shooting at events because it tests your skills as a photographer. You aren't controlling the light. You aren't posing the subject(s). And you have to know your camera well to adjust for any situation and get the best shot. You are walking around trying to find elements of personality and cool natural lighting. And once you find those special moments, you are adjusting and shooting feverishly to get the best shot possible. It's like looking for hidden treasures and rushing to grab them before they disappear.
Based on my experience photographing events in many different types of venues, here are 5 tips that will help make event photos top notch.
1. FIND A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
The image above focuses on the person enjoying the show but implies the show is happening in the blurred out background. It captures a feeling while adding style to the photograph.
2. SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT
When you're capturing of images of performers in action, you can do your best to time a shot for just the right look, but the reality is not all facial expressions look great when you're singing! Frame up a great shot and fire off 10-15 shots. Then you can select the best ones in edit.
3. BE READY FOR ACTION (e.g. fast shutter speed)
When you're shooting any kind of event, there will always be some interesting activity happening that requires you to freeze motion for effect. I shoot entirely manual and adjust the elements of the exposure triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed & Aperture) according to the lighting needs, but I typically keep my shutter around 1/250 or faster for this reason. It's easy to do this for daylight events, but for indoor or night time events, be sure to have a fast lens and a camera with decent high ISO capability.
4. DON'T FORGET THE CROWD
Event promoters that pay you to capture images want people to know that lots of people came to their event and had fun. Be sure to capture images of the crowd enjoying themselves.
Find cute kids (or pets) doing cute things and snap away! People love cute kid pictures (or so says the internet).
I hope these tips will help you take great photos at your next event, and as always, feel free to comment and share your thoughts!
Brant Waldeck is a professional photographer and cinematographer living and working in the Charlotte area.