Capturing those once-in-a-lifetime moments and turning them into treasured memories is an art form that requires a specific set of skills and best practices. It can be overwhelming to photograph what you want while ensuring a stunning outcome.

Whether you’re holding a birthday party or an engagement, being well-prepared when photographing special occasions can help produce beautiful images. Here are 9 best practices for shooting special events.

1. Prepare for the event

Preparation can go a long way to capturing amazing photos, even for an amateur photographer. Take some time to explore and familiarize yourself with the location for a better angle, different lighting conditions, and potential backdrops. If you are not hosting the event, ask the host for the itinerary, so you have the essential information on what to expect and can be ready to snap photos of event highlights like a key speaker, performance, or meaningful interaction.

2. Gear up for event photography

A DSLR can help you take professional-quality shots

These days, you don’t need expensive gear to take excellent photos. Smartphone cameras nowadays have several imaging capabilities you can use to make professional-level images.

  • Smartphone Camera

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your smartphone:

    • Know what your camera is capable of

Take some time to learn the capabilities of your phone. Use night mode for backgrounds with dim lighting or outdoor photos after sunset. Portrait can blur the backdrop of your subject, creating a Bokeh effect.

If you want to go beyond the basics, adjust the settings of your camera manually. You can adjust the shutter speed, white balance, and ISO. You cab also use framing grids, or swap between different lens styles.

    • Don’t use digital zoom

Using the digital zoom feature greatly reduces the resolution of the image, resulting in poor-quality photos. Instead, be imaginative about getting a better angle and adjusting your distance from the subject.

    • Switch to HDR mode

HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is a common feature on newer smartphones. It adds details to your photos by making bright colours pop while dimming dark ones for better-balanced exposure. You can expect your images to emphasize colour better and stand out more strikingly.

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  • DSLR

If you do have professional gear available, learn how to use them effectively. Here are a few tips:

    • Camera

While high-end DSLR cameras are the standard choice for professional photographers, mirrorless cameras are a popular alternative due to their compact size and impressive features. Mirrorless cameras work best in low light, have better image stabilization, and produce clearer and more detailed images, making them an excellent choice for event photography.

    • Lenses

Generally, prime lenses are the best choice for event photography. These lenses have a fixed focal length, which means they can shoot sharper images with a wider aperture, allowing you to take in more light and produce better-quality images, even in low-light conditions.

    • Portable Lighting

Portable lighting is a great asset for every event photography. Speedlights are a popular choice. Stand-mounted lighting is also great for illuminating large areas for group photos or a stage set.

3. Prioritize action shots and candid moments

When it comes to event photography, action shots are more captivating than posed ones. Photograph candid moments like the bride tossing her bouquet or guests dancing to create more engaging and memorable images. Quick reflexes will allow you to snap pictures of these irreplaceable moments. Be vigilant for spontaneous interactions and be ready to take the shot.

4. Capture emotions and expressions

Capture those heart-wrenching moments

Emotional moments are what people cherish the most and should be one of your goals when photographing on any special occasion. One of the best ways to shoot genuine emotional expressions is to set up your shot and wait for them to happen naturally. With a little patience, you can capture incredibly unique and authentic images.

5. Switch things up when posing

While candid photos are a fantastic way to film authentic moments, posed photos are great for attendees and special guests. Don’t be afraid to direct your subjects so you can achieve a more natural look when taking posed photos.

For example, you can ask friends to embrace each other or ask partners to look at each other for a romantic couple shot.

6. Learn to perfect the group shot

Group portraits are a staple to event photography, especially for corporate events. Shoot from a high vantage point, such as a balcony or a sturdy chair, to avoid people blocking others behind them. This also allows you to photograph a wider perspective of the group, making it easier to fit everyone in the frame.

Have everyone stand near one another and on a similar level. This makes it simpler to light everyone uniformly. Use multiple lights to illuminate the entire group.

7. Use flash strategically

Flash can be a great way to grab stunning photos, especially in low-light situations. However, flash may not be ideal or even permitted in some situations as it can distract presenters and the audience at events like conferences. Similarly, flash is unsuitable for video because it requires a constant light source.

8. Be stealthy

book an appointmentTry to blend in as much as possible when taking a snapshot of a corporate event or wedding ceremony. You don’t want to attract attention to yourself and distract the guests from the event. Avoid standing in one spot for too long and obstructing the view of guests trying to enjoy the event.

If you need to move around people, do so in a way that doesn’t cause any disruption or make them feel uncomfortable. Try to find creative angles to take your shots without getting in anyone’s way or causing distractions. The key is to be present but not to be noticed.

However, if you’re not the main photographer for the event or if the host hired professionals, you have to make sure to stay out of their way.

Taking photographs and videos can be extremely taxing and requires the right skills and equipment. If you need it done right, contact the experts. Twenty5Films offers stunning engagement photography, documentary photography, and lifestyle photography services. Let us help you create lasting memories. Contact us at 905-741-3697 today or email us at [email protected] to schedule your session.

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