Event Photography – The Ins & Outs

I thought I would write a blog about what is involved in Event photography and what you can expect from me or any photographer charged with capturing your event, using my most recent event: The BNI Staffordshire Awards Evening as a working example.

I was privileged to be able to capture the BNI Staffordshire Awards ceremony celebrating the achievements of 2018 at the Moat House, Stoke on Trent, last weekend. Against all the odds, with the inclement weather, the majority were in attendance and everybody looked absolutely stunning with the gentlemen in their tuxedos and the women in their cocktail dresses.

BNI Staffordshire Awards evening at the Moat House
BNI Staffordshire Awards evening at the Moat House

I was there to capture everything from the little details that the organisers had spent time and thought on, the items that the sponsors had donated such as the flower bouquets from Floral Designs by Clare, the fabulous guest speaker Jay Allen, the guests who attended, the award winners and finally the atmosphere of the evening.

Jay Allen – Guest speaker at the BNI Awards Evening
Floral Designs by Clare, located in Stoke on Trent

As you will see from just a few of the images within this article they tell the story of the night itself, so that those who couldn’t make it can see for themselves. Obviously this is a different type of photography from your normal baby/family/outdoor photo shoots and requires a certain expertise and skill set, as well as the right kit (camera equipment) to do it well.

Firstly, it is absolutely vital to plan and prepare, this includes getting the timings of the evening so you know what to expect and when to expect it. I always get there well before the guests, so that I can capture the room in all its glory. Why? So that the venue or the organisers can use the images to promote/sell their services in the future. They may want to target the same type of event in the same space again and therefore will give them images to show prospective clients.

BNI Staffordshire Awards evening at the Moat House
BNI Staffordshire Awards evening at the Moat House

Secondly, I try not to over shoot and you shouldn’t have to if you are a skilled photographer, but at the same time not to under shoot. The most important aspect of the evening is that the guests have a good time, as the photographer you have to find the balance, remember who you have photographed, both posed and candid, so that you are not overshooting the same people. Then as a good rule of thumb, I never photograph people when eating, so if the guest speaker is presenting whilst people are eating focus on the stage and not the crowd.

BNI Staffordshire Awards evening – Jay Allen – My True North
Staffordshire Baby Photoshoot with Toland Photography

Thirdly, have the right equipment and be quick. Every event is different and this event in particular was very dark inside with lots of gel coloured lighting. So, having speed lights, diffusors and lenses and cameras that can deal with low light (high ISO capability) with out producing a ton of grain is key! Within my kit bag I have a number or zoom, prime and wide angle lenses and each have a particular role to play. The zoom was important for this event so that I could capture those on the stage and then change to my second camera body which had a wide lens on it in order to get those intimate shots. Its always nice to get shots of people up close, but you need to be ready, quick, quiet and stay as low as possible, making sure you not blocking guests view of the stage.

Event Photography with Toland Photography
BNI Staffordshire Awards evening at the Moat House
BNI Staffordshire Awards evening at the Moat House

Finally, I like to edit and deliver quickly, even with my wedding photography but especially event photography as I know organisers will want to post about the event as soon as possible! For example, this particular event was on a Friday and all images were culled, edited and ready for the client by Sunday morning. How did I manage this? Well, as I said before, I try to not over shoot at any event. I will still shoot three frames of every group I photograph (which is typical) which gives me a choice of three images, but the client only needs the best, one might say the cream of the crop! Once I have my ‘cream of the crop’ from the entire set I will start to edit.

I am insistent about getting it right in camera first, as the dream is to import into Photoshop, apply preset, crop, and then export. The great thing about corporate events is that everything (lightening, white balance etc) should be consistent and can be edited in no time. From here, I then deliver my files via an online photo gallery named Shoot proof, where the client can download and share with ease. They are also able to purchases a number of different products such as prints, canvases etc.

So, if you’re still reading well done and you now have an understanding of what I do, how I work and the standard I produce. If you are looking to organise an event and are interested in professional photography I would love to hear from you so send me a message or better still call me on 07808111575.

BNI Staffordshire Awards evening at the Moat House

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