Yes, events can be a predictable and sterile environment for a photographer. But, as a photographer, it is your responsibility to create some great images regardless of the situation. This is the craft side of photography and it is a difficult, but necessary skill to acquire.
And…Event photography can be a great place to get trained as a good photographer.
Image by Stux
How to Improve Your Event Photography
Bring the Right Gear
It is best to have a lens with a faster aperture, preferably f2.8 or even faster. Most photographers go for the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 as these lenses are faster at focusing, have good low light performance and produce sharp images. Some photographers even head down to faster prime lenses such as the 35mm 1.8 or 50mm 1.8 (or even faster 1.4s and 1.2s if the budget can stretch far enough for those lenses).
Be Prepared for Anything and Everything!
At an event, there can be a sudden change in ambiance and movement of people around. So learn to quickly make use of the settings in the camera to capture good images. Many photographers are practiced enough to shoot full manual in dynamic events, but if you're not, then don't be too shy to switch over to aperture priority mode. That way you can still control your depth of field while letting the camera make a few other decisions for you.
Make Sure you Cover Everything and Everyone at the Event
Do not always go for posed photographs. It is important to document the event as it unfolds by taking candid photos of attendees having a good time. Candid shots are an important part of any event for a photographer.
Do not expect people to pose/pose longer for you
Guests may have even paid for attending events and hence as a photographer, it is our responsibility to be as discreet and quick as possible. Whatever the event, do not ask people to pose or give them directions to pose. Document their natural mood, feelings, and expressions.
- Dress for the event
- Do not overshoot
- Keep looking for interesting frames constantly
- Prepare in advance
- Know the rules of the event
- If someone does not wish to be photographed, just give them a smile and move on!
Another load of tips there to get you started when you attempt your first (or next) event as a photographer.
If you want to ensure that you've got all the skills nailed to produce some stunning event photos and make that client smile from ear to ear then consider checking out Event Photography by Phil Steele that goes well beyond the tips offered here.