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Event photography is one of the most common types of commercial photography. Event coverage is basically the same for most events. The photographer is hired to capture the flow of the events as a visual record. Besides specific requested images, the event photographer is photographing people mingling and engaged in the activity of the event. Many times events are centered on a speaker or presentation. This makes getting interesting images a bit more challenging.
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Event Photography Basics
First, capture all the required event images. After the money shots are taken, the photographer can experiment with different techniques. Walk the entire area of the event location and get a feel of where and when things are going to happen during the event. Walking the area to be photographed enables the photographer to take note of the lighting sources, widows with natural light, good group shot locations and take white balance readings. Knowing the set up allows the photographer to be more spontaneous.
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For themed events, look for items that represent the theme such as table ornaments and freestanding posters or decorations. Work with the theme and incorporate it into the pictures. Try to position people and groups in front of large neutral backgrounds that represent the theme of the event. Work with the decorations that are available and look for colorful backdrops to position people for groups or capture candid photographs.
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Lighting creates drama and interest in images. Look for natural light from windows and use this for side lighting. This will soften the images and give a relaxed feel. Check for multiple lighting sources and use these for drama. If there are colored lights, use these to create drama and mood. Using interesting lighting creates drama in images.
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Angles are a strong graphic element and lead the eye to a specific point of focus. Photograph people at cross-angles and use diagonals, these are strong composition elements. Find a chair or step and shoot down on people. If there is a speaker talking, try kneeling and shoot up at an angle. This works well with people conversing, also. Experiment with different angles. Look for lines and angles that draw your attention to the subject. Look for interesting images that portray what the event is about and look for angles in the objects.
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Get close to the subjects. Don't be afraid to move in and take a shot. People expect the event to be covered and more than likely will be helpful and patient with being photographed. Event photography is about photographing people. Another way to get close is to use a long lens and capture people while conversing without looking unnatural or stiff. The more you move in and out of the crowd, the less you will be noticed.
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Focus On The Subject
Try to neutralize the background as much as possible unless it is part of the composition. By isolating the subject, the main objects in the picture will have more emphasis. An event photographer needs to be aware of what is going on and wait for the shot. By focusing on the action, an event photographer will be rewarded with those interesting moments that make captivating images.
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Plan ahead and know the flow of the event. Use available lighting, backgrounds and interesting graphics, don't be afraid to get in close, stay focused on the subject and the images will be engaging.