How to – Photograph events

Event Photography – a diverse subject

Event photography is such a wide ranging topic and includes, weddings, black tie dinners, awards ceremonies and a bit of this and that and even a chunk of those over there BUT  if you had to encapsulate the whole genre of event photography into just two words, for me, they would be “story telling”

Event Photography – telling a story

Irrespective of what the event is, if you work on the simple task of telling the story of the occasion you won’t go far wrong. Weddings, awards ceremonies and black tie events are three examples that come instantly to mind. Imagine you are going to read a book, would you jump in at Chapter 4 or would you want to start at the beginning? Would you start your wedding photography as the bride and groom walk back up the aisle or some hours before?

So it is is with photographing an event, you need to get there early  so you can photograph the build up – the empty auditorium, the empty church, the venue – and gradually see guests, onlookers and anyone else arriving.

Get briefed

Even if  you get there early if you have no idea what the client wants, who the important people are, what the important parts of the event are you will end up shooting without a script and probably getting stuff that the client doesn’t want and missing the stuff they really do want.

You must ask for a brief and if possible when you get there early you find the client and do a walk through of what’s going to happen and when so you are in the right place at the right time.

Bluebell Wood Hospice – Colour Dash at Rother Valley Country Park

For my example photographs in this tutorial I’m going to use an event I photographed for Bluebell Wood Hospice a few weeks ago. Not just to be different for different’s sake but to give the hospice a massive plug for the amazing work they do and to show that story telling and being briefed applies to any event you shoot.

Getting the brief – I received a written brief from the hospice but when I arrived 90 minutes or so before the start of the event I did a walk round of what was required with the organisers so I was in the right place at the right time.

Telling the story – Once I knew what time to be where for the important bits I started to tell the story of the day. People arriving, booking in, getting covered in colourful powder. Mums, dads, kids, officials – it didn’t matter, everyone was there to help raise money and to have a good time.

The photographs

The photos below are just a tiny selection of the several hundred images I shot that day. Click on any image to expand it and then use the side arrows on the screen or your keyboard to scroll through the rest.