Become the Number one Photographer for Events and Functions

Photographers that have established a name for themselves in shooting events and functions make a very good living. The perks are great too. One is able to travel to some amazing locations that are normally only for the privileged wealthy few “in the know”, and participate in the overall experience, from great food, to the high-end single malt and decant shots that flow throughout the event. As the photographer, it is your responsibility to fit in with the guests, mingle and make small talk as you introduce yourself and your intentions to the brief you have been handed down to fulfil by the host. This might sound like a”pretty picture”, but there is much truth in many of the niceties that I have touched on which, most good event photographers experience.

Adapting to the mood

Client can be very different and challenging at times, each event and function, attract a different crowd and personality that exudes throughout the mood and feel of the party. As a photographer avoid being judgmental, or have a personality issues that might be degrading or derogatory to people with a different taste or behavior to yourself. One requires an open mind, be friendly and polite at every interaction. Be the diplomat, be the “brand ambassador”,  and remember, you are the one with the camera and have the authority to transverse and capture all the moments and the emotions depicting the brief and instruction from the client. After all, one of the key objectives of the photographer is to network and meet new people. Building relationships leads to potential client’s and opens doors to greater opportunities in this field. In essence, your goal should include having a list of potential clients that you can follow up on at the end of the event. There is no better form of marketing than word of mouth.

How to deal with the Person in Charge

  • Firstly, make sure you understand the brief. This will entail getting a “feel” for the client, their likes and dislikes, and the visual theme for function. Ask questions if unsure, it sometimes helps getting to know the person better. Make sure you are clear on everything they are asking from you.
  • Make sure you are dressed appropriately and on time, being a few minutes early is not a bad idea, so you can familiarise yourself with the location and setup without being pressurized.
  • Arrive with all the camera gear and lighting you will require, along with fully charged batteries and ready to go memory cards. If you have a battery charger and spare batteries, as well as an extension cable and a plug adaptor, it would be good to bring it along, there is always the chance of “a just in case moment” happening that you need to be ready for.
  • Make sure you have the address and the correct Google pin, and allow for the time to get to the destination. There is nothing wrong asking about parking to ensure you are parked close to the entrance where you are secure and able to move freely with your camera gear and stands.
  • Often the event might be outdoors so make sure to do a weather check so you have a backup plan if necessary.

What is required from the photographer

Capturing the shortlist of all, or specific guests and their partners on arrival at the event is normally a prerequisite.

Assess the environment beforehand to understand the “look and feel” and the mood – formal or candid or a combination of both. Remember, there is a strong possibility that many of these images will be posted on social media groups. Set up the lighting in the correct location at the venue to ensure the branding or the background speaks out as intended and your images are exposed correctly…. no noise or underexposed images that cannot be edited or used on handover. The same rule applies to your white balance and temperature. It is important that you understand lighting and able to shoot indoors and in deep shade without overexposing or misusing your flash or speedlights., Understand that flashes produce white light which kills the atmosphere. A good photographer will understand lighting and camera settings to avoid these issues, make sure that you do too, or attend a short photography course and light workshop to improve your practical knowledge in this field.

Pose the “people shots”

Most people are out of their comfort zone when approached at events to smile into the camera, or being instructed to pose with strangers in groups. It is your responsibility as the photographer, to ensure that everyone is relaxed and comfortable in your presence when asked to stand in a shot. Often, a little humor and lot of confidence makes this easy. Remember, you are in charge, and it is your job to take the picture. Both the ladies and the gentlemen are generally aware of themselves, and not everyone might be as self-confident as you might think. People are often aware of their physical appearance, so make sure you compose well and everyone looks their best, again lighting plays a big role…. Remember to delete the bad shots before handover.

Don’t miss a moment

As I mentioned before, the brief is everything. It will provide an itinerary or some form of schedule that you will need to follow, such as when the speeches or the cutting of the cake. Again for corporate activations, this will apply to intros and products being unveiled. You cannot miss these moments.

The Importance of what is in the shot

At an event, there are many moments that need to be captured such as the people, the surroundings and decor, and the branding. Then there are the emotions, the candid and the serious shots that will make up the event. Make sure you have a plan. Make sure you cover all your basis, from the candid interactions up close and personal, to the group shots, to the atmosphere of a full room, while focusing on the main events of the day.

Turnaround is key

  • Make sure that when you leave to be polite and discreet, don’t overstay your welcome.
  • Make sure that you are as professional in your post and editing in terms of telling the “story” through your images”.
  • Don’t take longer than two days for handover, as the client is eager to see the images as soon as possible and share them accordingly.

A good ending is the start of a great beginning and building of more clients to come.