Event Photography

5 Ways to Take Stunning Event Photos

The ability to take sharp, beautiful photos at major life events is a useful skill for everyone, not just professional photographers. You don’t need a ton of experience or a team of experts to take great pictures during a special event. Below are a few photography tips that even novices can employ to capture stunning, evocative photos.

1. Change your Angle

Often shooting from a normal standing position seems instinctual, but that can make for stilted photos. Instead, try to get down low for a better shot of short subjects, or to frame your picture in a different context. Shoot at an upward angle or stand on a chair to capture your subject with an alternate view. Often a simple angle shift of a few degrees can radically alter your photo, making it more dynamic and interesting.

2. Have Patience

There always seems to be time pressure during a major event. You’re in a rush to capture the bride coming down the aisle or you’re nervous you’ll miss the look on a child’s face when they see their birthday cake. While you definitely want to capture major moments, make sure that you’re planning your photos and waiting for your shot. A far off shot of your subject, obstructed by other individuals vying for a picture, will likely produce a less beautiful photo than one where you waited for a closer, clear shot. Even with candids, waiting patiently for a person to move their hand or laugh can make the difference between a so-so photo and a stellar one.

3. Adjust Your Shutter Speed

Event photos often include lots of moving shots, which can be particularly difficult. While everyone loves an action shot, no one likes a picture so blurry that you can’t even make out the subject. A great way to prevent blurry event photos is to adjust the shutter speed on your camera. If you have a DSLR, set your shutter speed to 1/60 or higher, depending on how fast the subject is moving.

4. Get Creative

You often see people taking photos of the exact same moment in the exact same way. If you really want your pictures to stand out, be a bit more creative than the rest of the crowd. While everyone is snapping pictures of a performer, turn to the audience and get some shots. After taking a picture of a graduate crossing the stage, make sure to shoot a few photos of his proud, teary-eyed parents. You can even capture a shot through someone else’s lens.

5. Keep Snapping

One of the best ways to ensure at least one great photo is to take a large number of exposures of each shot. Once you’re correctly positioned for a particular shot, don’t take just snap one photo, take a few. You’d be surprised how slight movements by your subject can provide different photos. Taking more than one picture for each moment also gives you a better chance to capture a wide array of emotion.

Great Cameras for Every Event

Investing in a quality DSLR will help you to master various techniques and take stunning, clear photos in any setting. I’ve been using the Canon EOS Mark III for a few years and it is a great option that can easily handle anything from everyday vacation pictures to professional event photos. Make sure to do your research and purchase compatible lenses that are suitable for the type of shooting you will be doing. The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens is sturdy standard lens that can cover a wide array of photo needs while the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens is a powerful telephoto lens suitable for shooting action from afar and producing bokeh images, where a portion of the image is blurred by using a shallow depth of field. Try the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens if you plan to delve into macro photography, which involves shooting smaller subjects at very close range, making them seem larger.

I hope this short list of tips will be helpful for you. Now go out and take more photos… practice, practice, practice!

Will Moneymaker is a freelance photographer, family historian, a husband of twenty-five years and devoted father of four. The arts have always been a part of his life. Join Will as he shares his thoughts and adventures in photography. Subscribe to his weekly newsletter.

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