Event photography is an important ability to develop. At some point we are all asked to support social events for churches, schools, social clubs, or non-profits. It helps to understand what their needs are and what you can do to help support their needs.
The photographer should promote the best pictures and post process them to make the images look their best. All photographs submitted should be good enough to hang on a wall with the photographer's name under it.
Interestingly, our judgement of a good image is as good, and often times better, than the your customer's judgement. Make them look good!
All images should have the photographer's name and contact information written in the image IPTC metadata. This is important both to give the photographer credit for the image used and in case the venue needs a larger image for printing.
- Camera: either a DSLR or a Point and Shoot is fine
- Lens: Either one or two lenses covering about 20 mm to 200 mm (12 mm to 125 mm APS-c) is ideal. However most of the scenes are close so 20 mm to 100 mm is fine.
- Flash: A Flash is required for all event photography with people whether inside or outside. The requirement for indoor photography is obvious. But oputdoor photography needs fill flash to soften the harsh shadows. Typically, outdoors the flash is set to - 1/2 to - 1-1/2 stops.
- No tripod: At this event a tripod would just slow you down and get in the way of the crowds.
- Extra charged batteries for the flash and camera
- Extra empty memory cards for the camera.
- Assemble and Test: all equipment before departure. It is easier to fix missing or broken parts at home then at the venue.
It is amazing how often batteries die and memory cards fill up in the middle of a shoot!
What subjects would Interest the Heritage Farmstead?
This is the response received from the Heritage Farmstead:
My Journey to
What follows is how I got involved with "Event Photography" and a critique of some of the submitted images. These are lessons I learned. They were not obvious. I have broken all of them at one time or another. Some of the observations may help with your events. The links to the right offer additional insights.
My first exposure was with a social club. I just purchased a big DSLR, the monstrous Canon 20D, and was looking for something to do with it. I started taking pictures at social club events, typically happy hours and special events.ents, typically happy hours and special events.
Initially I wasn't getting the pictures I wanted.
One of the attractions of photography for many of us is we can be a fly on the wall. We can record and observe events as they go by without being actively involved. For the most part, we are all introverted to a some extent. I know I am. That is why I am attracted to nature, landscapes, and arcitectural scenes. I hate it when the subject talks back to me!
After a few happy hours I realized I needed to do something different. Every once in a while there would be a picture of someone smiling and looking at the camera that was good. But mostly people were talking to each other, or eating, or drinking, or whatever! They weren't paying attention to the camera!
I became more involved. Over time I learned to be active participant. In effect, instead of being part of the decore, I became part of the entertainment!
I come up to a group. Tap one of them on the shoulder, or not, and yell: "Photo Op!" That gets their attention. And if that doesn't get the grouping and smiles I want, then:
"Hey! This is a social event! We have our rules: Boy, Girl, Boy". Or vice versa as the group dictates. Everyone remembers when they were five years old at the birthday party. That gets them in the mood. Smiles break out. Everyone in the line jostles to get in the "proper" order. Lots of smiles and everyone looking at the camera! Great picture.
What happens if they don't want their picture taken? Nothing, just move on. There are many others who do want their picture taken!
There are many routines and schemes available. This one works for me. I am now definitely part of the entertainment! Find some routines that work for you.
What does the Venue need
from Your Photographs
- The venue doesn't waste time filtering through all your images looking for keepers. That is your job.
- The venue doesn't waste time post processing for color correction, cropping, and tone balance. That is your job.
- The venue doesn't waste time removing distracting background elements. That is your job either preprocessing by moving before the picture is taken or post processing.
- The venue doesn't waste time correcting obvious keystoning and lens aberation problems. That is your job.
- The venue does want to make the event as attractive as possible to attract new members and money. This is your job!
Basically, your job is to submit the best pictures taken, post processed with the best techniques available. You should be proud to frame and hang all of your submitted pictures on a wall with your name underneath. Some of your pictures will be used in promotional literature. All of your images need to engage the viewer.
Do NOT submit
The Rogue Gallery
Below are pictures from bad to good of submitted pictures. The photographers shall remain nameless. The pictures are for illustration only.
This should have been a great picture. But if you,look closely, the eyes of the lady on the right are closed! I immediately looked for the next picture. Everyone takes three or more pictures of the scene in the hope that at least one of them will be a keeper! Unfortunately, this was a flash and dash. There was no next picture.
Always take multiple pictures, some using different focal lengths. Odds are, at least their eyes are open on at least one. Heads on one image are ccassionally pasted other images to make a beautifully complete picture.
Aside from that, the foreground should have been darkened in post to emphasize the three beautiful ladies. The background is terrific.
The "Habitat for Humanity" had a list of a dozen items they either wanted or didn't want in their pictures. At the top of their list was "NO BUTT SHOTS". I did not fully appreciate that until I realized that, while there are some very attractive lady volunteers working on their sites, their butts were always attached to the back of their heads. Nothing is less interesting or engaging then the back of a head. Unless there is a burbling baby peering over the shoulder.
What is this about? No one is looking at the camera.
Not only is this person not smiling at the camera, he has a microphone in his mouth! Why was this submitted?
No one is looking at the camera. Totally boring.
Beautiful couple. But neither is looking at the camera. How can this engage the viewer?
Another useless picture. No one looking at the camera and way too much white. Move to the left, get lower, and yell: "Photo Op"!
Yikes! What is interesting about this?
No one is looking at the camera. "Photo Op"!
Only one on the left is interesting but on close up he has a grimice. A useless picture.
Not interesting. No one looking at the camera and the back of a head attached to a big green shirt.
A useless picture that could have been saved if the venue had told the entertainers that there were venue photographers on site and the photographer had signaled a picture was to be taken.
No one looking at the camera. What's this all about.
A useless picture. But could be saved by yelling: "Photo Op!"
If this was a useful picture than the entertainers should have been told Farmstead photographers would be taking their pictures. This is a useless picture.
Wow. Only one of the three looking at the camera. That can be helped withe a crop (below) but doubt even that would be useful to the venue.
This is a tight crop. A lovely mother-child picture but not useful for this venue. There is nothing tying in the Heritage Farmstead.
Useless. The eyes are not on the camera. "Poto Op!'
Why was this picture submitted?
Why was ths picture submitted?
Multiple pictures were taken! This is a much more interesting picture.
But a crop makes it even more interesting. The farmstead is still in the background. But the beautiful couple is obviously the subject.
A possible human interest but not likely. It would have been better if both had turned to the camera and smiled. "Photo Op!"
Possibly usable but the lady on the left was between smiles. "Photo Op!" and multiple pictures would have found a keeper.
The couple on the left atre totally uninvolved.
This is helped by a tighter crop in post or a "Photo Op!" in pre along with a "Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl" to get them to line up properly. They are obviously friends but the entertainer (YOU) weren't entertaining enough.
OK, a little eye canddy. But is this something that a family oriented venue would be interested in publishing?
This would be a great picture if the background head were eliminated in pre or post processing. Always look at your background!
The lady on the left wasn't ready. "Photo Op!" Get every one smiling!
This is a good picture. It would be better if the blonde and guy on far right were missing.
What's not to like about this picture? A beautiful couple, good background, great composition! The farmstead is obviously in teh background.
Ditto! Perhaps cropped a little tighter.
Ditto without the cropping
Wow! Everyone is looking at the camera. Important people in front are smiling. The background shows the Heritage Farmstead. A great picture.
Wow! Another Ditto.
What's not to like about more eye candy? It would have been much better if the bright, shiney cans along with the "Twin Peaks" sign were moved to the side. Fine eye candy none the less!