¶¶ Tips on Photographing Events

Photographing events is always a fun challenge!
People are nervous, act differently around cameras &they WON’T. SIT. STILL.

I prefer to take photos of animals, plants, buildings, food, textures, rocks…. anything that IS NOT PEOPLE. The moment you pull out a camera, everybody feels like they need to pose or run away.  It gets really frustrating and looks so fake.

Samm-selfie

A few years back I wrote for, photographed and designed the Lighthouse’s quarterly newsletter. It was an interesting experience working with a multi-cultural Christian community and support centre. I do not identify any religion and I am a very ‘out there’ kind of gal who is open to trying new things… let’s just say that everybody liked me, but I stuck out like a Slayer fan at a Ke$ha concert.

During that experience, I learned a lot about photographing events.

  1. ALWAYS ask permission if you are going to publish the images.
    Hell, whenever you take a picture, ask if the person is okay with it. BUT! Ask afterwards… that way you will get a genuine picture and not those awful “say cheese!” photos. If someone asks, calmly explain why. Delete the image if they tell you to.
  2. Keep a Notebook. Write down important information. First & Last Name. Age. Where they’re from. How you/others feel. Things to get better at for next time, etc.
    Basically  whatever you think you, or the writer will need to know later.
  3. Be Open-Minded. Don’t worry about being ‘the annoying photographer’.
    Try taking pictures of unique people/angles/moments throughout the event.
    Respect people’s spaces, if needed.
  4. Take too many Photos! Put your camera on ‘Continuous Shooting Mode’ or, Burst. This will take 3 or more photos at once so your chances of taking a good photo when somebody is talking/dancing/etc will be better.
  5. Blend into the Group. Don’t stick out with neon colours, weird hair or a loud presence… unless the event you are photographing calls for it. As much as I hate dressing for other people, I’ve realized that you can stick out negatively at times… and when trying to photograph people at an event, you want them to interact with each other about the event. Not sit there whispering about your pink fishnet shirt.

Technical elements are always important when taking photographs –especially when you have a paid gig. I have studied photography for 2 years but am in no way a master. Because we have so many different types of cameras and electronic recording devices on the market, I will just explain the basic elements of an eye-pleasing photograph. If you want to be better, these are good to keep in mind. When you can think and do all these different things… that’s when you can start breaking rules.

Rule of Thirds Grid – A compositional diagram used for framing objects.  You can imagine the lines, but some cameras come with these lines in the viewfinder. Place important elements of the image on or near where the grid lines intersect [ dark grey lines ]
For interestingness, this guide will help you offset straight lines or key elements of the image.

  • Awareness of Lines & Obstructions
    –  A common mistake I see in amateur photography is crooked lines, nasty trash cans, people doing silly things or dogs pooping in the background of an otherwise appealing image.
    Can you spot two boo-boos?

If you use the imaginary grid lines of the Rule of Thirds and stay relatively aware of your environment at all times, these photobombs can be avoided.

  • Lighting / Red Eye
    – If its dark, turn on the flash. Be prepared with a longer, better exposure or if you are a serious photographer, a better lens. There is a setting on most cameras for Red Eye. Two separate flashes will go, hopefully reducing the discovery of demon-eyes in a soulless being.
  • Severing Limbs
    – You heard me right!  Cutting off people’s limbs in places they shouldn’t be cut off from.
    When you look at a photograph and see the top of heads cut off, mid thighs being cut… well, it just looks weird. AND scary!
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