More Tips for Photographing Events

It is event season in Auckland right now and I work in conjunction with several event companies. I often photograph different events ranging from concerts through to corporate and you can read about some more tips here. The last few events have been corporate and I have been commissioned to capture the look and feel of the event rather than photograph the people there. Often when photographing corporate events, I will set up a booth and photograph the VIP’s and other guests. That was not a requirement for the last set of events, which left me with a little more time to be creative with my photography.

Here are some photographs from two recent events and please note, as some of the information on some screens is confidential, I have blurred out the content.

A photo of blue lights and screens at a corporate event

Tips for Photographing Events


This is possibly a strange way to present this point but as a photographer, you need to be as invisible as possible during the proceedings. This means you do not get up onto the middle of the stage and photograph unless you have been asked to. Make sure that you are not blocking people’s view and if you do need to step in front of people for a shot, make it quick. This brings me to my second point.

A photo of the dj at a corporate event


You have to know your gear and how to get the best photograph fast. Things happen quite quickly on a gig and you don’t want to miss the moment as capturing the important photographs can make the difference between an ongoing relationship with the client or being thanked and never being asked back. Also, if you need to intrude to get a shot, you need to do it confidently and quickly.

A photo of lights and a gobo wash at a corporate event

Follow your brief

This is a tough one but you need to find out what your client is expecting and then deliver as required. If your client wants photographs of the talent, do not get distracted by the set up or the punters. If your client wants an overall look and feel, don’t just focus on the talent or the people on stage. Stick to your brief and if you get time to expand on it, go for it.

A photo of a selection of lights at a corporate event

If you can, use a tripod

This is pretty self explanatory but I have seen many photographers simply push the settings on their cameras and not use a tripod. It is true that a tripod will possibly make you a little more static but it will give you way more latitude in the types of photographs you can take especially when the lighting on events can vary between extremes. I often photograph with my camera on the tripod with only one tripod leg down so it is a monopod. This reduces camera shake and can let you shoot at slower speeds.

A photo of lights and a purple stage wash at a corporate event

Image stabilizers

You have these on your lens, use them. I try not to photograph at an aperture that is too open unless I am wanting to purposely blur the background. Shooting around f5.6 or so, makes sure you don’t miss focus due to depth of field. I try to make sure I have captured the photograph well, before I open the aperture and go for a shallow depth of field photograph. Important to remember that if you are photographing from a tripod that is fully deployed, (all three legs are down and you are not using the tripod as a monopod) to turn your image stabilizer on your lens off. This will ensure you take a sharp photo.

A photo of a red carpet in a corporate event with lights and a gobo wash

Set up early

If you are photographing VIP’s or people in a booth or with a backdrop, you need to have a reliable system¬†that you know inside out. This does not have to be expensive and you can get away with one or two speedlites if you want. The client will usually provide you with a backdrop and it helps if you have your own backdrop stand. Set up your lighting and thoroughly test it before you start photographing your subjects. You don’t want to be messing with settings when you have people waiting. Simply focus and shoot.

A photo of the sound desk gld112 at a corporate even

Be Friendly and Courteous

This is something that can be hard when you are under pressure. You will never please all people, all of the time but do your best to be approachable. Also, if someone asks you to move, or asks for a specific photo, be happy to oblige.

A photo of lights and a purple gobo wash at a corporate eventA photo of a sound enginerr and mixing deskA photo of blue lights at a corporate event

I hope these tips are useful and as I say with any photography, “practice makes perfect”. Enjoy!

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