There are many reasons why professional event photography might not be the best option for your event. Perhaps you are dealing with budget constraints, a tight schedule or last-minute decisions.
As an event photographer with 15 years of experience, I would like to share some of the tips I have learned along the way. If you have decided to do your own event photography, here are a few tricks to ensure your photo session will be a success:
DIY EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY:
5 TIPS FOR TAKING YOUR OWN EVENT PHOTOS
The quality of consumer cameras has increased exponentially in recent years, reaching a standard that was unimaginable only five years ago. Even without professional equipment, by following a few basic guidelines, you will be able to take pictures that will bring your event to life for years to come. Even with your phone camera.
1. Natural light
Most events have extremely difficult lighting conditions for photographers. Many professionals choose to use flash, but I have often found that flash photography creates an artificial look that does not capture the character of the event. If you are in a location with natural light, try to position your subjects close to a window, with the light hitting them from the side and not from the front. This kind of lighting adds visual interest and creates perspective. It accentuates the characteristics of your subject, as opposed to a flat look where the lack of contrast renders your subjects dull.
In the example above, there is a natural light source behind the subject to the right, creating a pleasing gradient on both his hair and suit. On the face of the subject on the left, the lateral light source emphasizes his expressions, with a gradient that goes from the highlights on his forehead, eyes, mouth and neck to the shadows on his right cheek and the back of his head. The light on the subject distinguishes him from the dark background, naturally drawing our eyes towards his face.
2. Avoid overhead light
If you are taking pictures at night or in a space without windows, try to choose locations where there is no overhead light, since it can create unpleasant shadows under the eyes of your subjects. Because the colour temperature of these lights is not calibrated for photography, they tend to add an undesirable colour cast to the skin tones of your subjects.
If your subjects are on a stage, try to use a shutter speed of at least 1/80, ideally 1/100 or above, in order to avoid blurry pictures. Always take multiple pictures of each speaker, so that you have a wide range of facial expressions to choose from. Pauses during a speech are optimal moments for photos. When a speaker uses hand gestures, try to capture these in your photos to lend expressiveness to the image.
4. Blurred Backgrounds
Nowadays, most cameras include digital effects to blur the background. While these effects can sometimes create a pleasant image, don’t overdo it. If your background is free of distracting elements or it contains features that are relevant to your subject, it is a good idea to keep the background sharp.
5. Experiment and be creative!
Don’t worry if your pictures don’t come out perfect the first time. Try to learn from your mistakes and take as many pictures as you can of the same subject. Play around with many different lighting conditions, camera angles, and compositions. The more you experiment, the more likely you will end up with beautiful photos.
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About the author: Haikai Photo is a Mexico City-based International Photographer. In addition to that, he is also a Mexican Freelance Photographer and a Mexico City Freelance Photographer and a Guadalajara Freelance Photographer. Not being limited to being a CDMX business photographer, a Guadalajara freelance photojournalist and a Mexico City freelance photojournalist, it is also a Queretaro event photographer and a Guadalajara photographer; while based in the Mexico City area, Haikai Photo regularly photographs for clients throughout all of Mexico, including Tijuana, Puebla, León, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Riviera Maya, Cancún, Aguascalientes, meaning that we travel all across Mexico and everywhere on Earth, specially in Europe and Lisbon, Portugal. You can view more of Haikai Photo’s photojournalism, editorial, and lifestyle work here.
The photos in this post are connected to corporate event photography, conference photographer, visual storytelling, branding photography and branding photographers. Mexico city event photographers and creative storytelling are also topics that we have covered in this article.