Five tips for taking high-quality event photography

It’s one thing to say after an event that people enjoyed themselves, but photos prove it. So how do you capture events in their best light? Senior account executive Katie Nelson shares her secrets to capturing high-quality event photography.

A picture is worth a thousand words” – make sure it says what you want it to

At Cartwright, networking is a big part of how we connect with our clients, meet new faces and catch up with old friends – so we’re always out at events.

We’ve already covered the importance of photography for PR and how you can use photos for your business needs, but how do you take good photographs when attending an event?

DO arrive early and check the schedule

Anticipate where you can capture a clear photo of any speakers without a blocked view. Think about where the best light is and where you may be able to gain different perspectives of the room.

Having a schedule allows you to plan your movements ensuring you’re in the right place to capture any essential shots.

DO use space well and move around

The first rule for event photography is to try and make every image look full. Crop empty seats and space out of the frame and ensure that any tables are clear of clutter for a cleaner image.

Remember that not every shot should be taken from the same viewpoint, so don’t be afraid to move around. Switching up angles can really add interest to images, as well as provide wider context of an event. If you’re able to, get access to a higher vantage point (safely) within the venue so you can shoot from overhead and capture wider shots of the whole room.

When you have people presenting on stage, go in close to capture their emotion and shoot wide to capture the scale. If everyone is in a conference room, frame the scene by shooting through a doorway or use other elements to add interest to what may otherwise be a boring shot.

DO capture a variety of photos – especially when people are mingling

Crucially, it’s important to ensure you are not taking lots of versions of virtually the same thing. Capture shots of different sized groups of people, from nearer and further away to provide variety in your images.

Particularly when photographing speakers, take as many shots as you can. This allows you more options afterwards and allows you to select an image without the mid-sentence wide mouth. Whenever you capture a group, try to take at least three photos to avoid images where somebody might have their eyes closed or be looking away.

DO rely on natural lighting as much as possible

Ask any professional photographer, and they’ll tell you that one of the best event photography tips they can give you is to avoid using your flash whenever possible. This is because flash photography often creates harsher, less polished images especially in an indoor environment.

Obviously, there are times when flash photography cannot comfortably be avoided. If you need to take photos of people with your flash, make sure you are shooting them slightly from one side – face-on flash photographs result in red-eye, and less flattering images.

DO check your images

Always double check to see if someone’s eyes are closed or if someone is photobombing in the background. The last thing you want is to leave the event only to find that your images are unusable.

Checking images means you may spot something you need to amend in a re-take, such as clearing table-tops or moving to slightly better lighting.

DON’T photograph people eating (or drinking)

Simply put, people won’t thank you for taking pictures of them with their mouth full. Not everyone minds if they are photographed holding a drink. However, as a courtesy to guests it’s best not to show them drinking alcohol – especially if they are representing their company. It’s a good precaution to ask whether people would prefer to set their drinks down first.

DON’T take too long or block views

It’s essential that you act swiftly when taking event photos. As your subjects are getting ready to have their picture taken, use that time to get ready. Then when your subjects are ready, you can simply shoot and let them get back to their evening within seconds.

And never block the view of any speakers or stages – attendees won’t thank you for it.

By Katie Nelson

Katie has both B2B and B2C experience across a range of sectors, including fashion and beauty, alternative finance and third sector. She now supports clients across the food and drink, architecture, design, and property and construction industries.