Event photography is a lot of labour that most people don’t realise. Whether photographing a wedding, a business dinner, or a sporting event, you’ll have to contend with a big area, throngs of people, and various lighting situations. To prepare and execute event photography sessions smoothly, certain preparations must be made in advance to ensure you capture the best shots possible.
There are so many factors to consider when hiring an event photographer, or being an event photographer in Singapore, but here are some of the best tips we have curated and carried out ourselves over countless event photography sessions as a professional photography studio in Singapore.
Preparation Ahead of the Event
The event might start on the dot for the guests, but for seasoned photographers, we all know that the event begins days beforehand. Preparing in advance allows you to be in the know of the happenings of the event and the type of equipment that best suits the different shots required.
Contact P.O.C. in Advance
Do reach out to the Point Of Contact (P.O.C.) at least three days before the event to introduce yourself as the event’s photographer and request the program itinerary if you don’t have it already.
Equipment to Prepare
To be safe, bring three types of lenses, each serving a different purpose; The ultra-wide lens (16-35mm), standard zoom lens (24-70mm) and telephoto lens (70-200mm) for a variety of shots for different occasions and settings allowing you to capture various happenings easily when the need arises.
Bring extra equipment like camera bodies, flashlights, batteries, and sufficient S.D. cards, and make sure to charge your batteries sufficiently and prepare extras.
For prize presentations and award ceremonies, a tripod or black tape used to demarcate the standing positions of the awarder and awardee is essential to ensure the consistency of the shots taken during the event.
The Proper Attire
While there are events that sometimes require you to turn up in a particular dress code, most events will have photographers turning up in a plain T-shirt with long pants and covered shoes. A photographer will typically dress up in black in order to be as inconspicuous as possible as they move about to get the shots required. The purpose is to be the least disruptive as possible as a photographer moves about to cover an event.
Event Onsite Preparation
Arriving at the event venue early allows you to familiarise yourself with the surroundings and make the necessary adjustments for lighting, camera angle, and other aspects. Check in with the P.O.C. about any last-minute changes or essential things you have to take note of during the course of the event. Run through the itinerary and write down anything that requires special arrangements (like group shots and how it would be best to carry it out). You might need the emcee to help you gather groups of people or for them to get the guests to stand at a particular position for the best-looking angles and shots.
Knowing the objective of your shoot is just as important as getting great shots. Is there a prolific speaker during the event? Make sure you know the timing of their segment and any special shots you need to showcase their presence at an event.
Here are the different types of shots commonly needed during an event photography session:
- Pre-Event Shots: Photographing the venue, table setting, and other beautiful details before the guest arrivals.
- Event Registration
- Guest Interaction (Close-Ups)
- I.P./Speaker Interaction with other guests
- Speakers/V.I.P.s/Guests of Honour: From different angles, audience’s point of view, close up, wide angle
- Prize Presentation: Ensure at least two photos are taken per awardee and that their eyes aren’t closed before letting them leave the stage
- Event Activities
- Wide Angle shots of the Event Venue
- Variety of Candid & Posed Photos
Discuss with other photographers onsite (even those that aren’t on your team) to ensure that you get proper coverage of the items listed and ensure that you take a pre-event shot to get the best view of everything before the guests arrive.
Work The Room
Mingle and talk to those present at the event, finding out their stories and building rapport. This allows you to more easily direct the guests and make them feel at ease around you. After all, it’s not just for the guests to smile when they have their photos taken. You can also keep a smile on your face as you interact with them to lighten the mood as well.
Taking Photographs Without Disrupting Guests’ Experiences
While there are some shots that require us to be in noticeable sight, we try to disrupt the guests’ experiences as little as possible. We do not obstruct their view or take their shots in a manner that makes them uncomfortable. Guests who request for the photos not to be taken will have their personal requests adhered to as well.
Additional Tips For Flash Photography
Tips for flash photography don’t just save time when it comes to the photo editing process; it allows us to get a better shot at the end of the day. Ensuring that the flash isn’t pointed directly at the subject enables us to use ambient lighting or light that bounces off another plane to create a gentler and softer image.
Raising the ISO setting will also allow us to expose the background of an image rather than just lighting up the subject in the foreground. This is important if we want to showcase the event venue or take essential elements of the background into focus (such as a presentation or screen).
Checking in P.O.C. Before Leaving Event
Are there any other shots that the committee requires? Some photos might require instant editing and quick delivery, usually for on-the-ground social media coverage and event posts. Check-in with the deliverables of the deadlines once again and ensure that you clarify concerns and questions as and when required.
While certain pieces of advice pertaining to the photographer’s technical skills, many other tips pertain to the awareness or preparedness of professional photographers when they take photos for any events. Being professional photographers in Singapore, we have had our fair share of occasions where last-minute changes are made, and we have to think on the spot about how to get the best shot while ensuring that we do not disrupt the event. We can say that some things come from experience and that professional photographers know how to react on the spot to make the most of all they can.
If these seem complicated to you for an event in mind, don’t be hesitant to reach out to a professional photographer to assist in shooting the best shots you need for your event. Often, they can advise you on how to plan your event to consider getting various shots required for personal or corporate usage.