Event Photography Examples
Event Photography Examples
If you’re thinking about becoming an event photographer, this guide can be helpful. I’ve been looking for the complete kit for a long time to become a successful event photographer. I have carefully tested and calculated the cost. All current articles are available so that it is up to date unlike some of the instructions I’ve read.
I have attended training and held several different events to help others avoid some of the common mistakes. This guide to event photography is based on my personal experiences. You are welcome to reproduce it as long as you credit the website address to this article
I recommend anyone who is interested in event photography to attend the excellent Systems Insight training course. Talk to Mike Orr, Stuart or Darren at Systems Insight. I also found the Event Photographers Society very useful.
It is divided into the following sections:
1, camera equipment required for event photographers;
2. Lighting equipment for event photography;
3. Printer for instant event photos;
4. Mitsubishi click system for event photography;
5. Green Screen Event Photography;
6. Start an Event Photography Business.
1. Camera equipment for event photographers.
You DO NOT NEED the latest professional DSLR with professional glass lenses to shoot an event! It’s nice to have a good kit, but that should be self-evident for any professional photographer. In fact, at a football tournament, school prom or black tie event, the customer does not care what equipment he has, as long as the results are good, and he does not want to carry a heavy camera with a fragile glass in an environment that does is often hilarious and busy!
You do not have to shoot RAW files in high resolution and you do not have time to work with hundreds of settings. You want to create a sharp, vivid, and well-lit photo with sufficient resolution to print it to your final output size. Concentrate on making people look great!
I recommend a wireless workflow, which I will explain later. Again, the files must be so small that they can be sent quickly. I use a Nikon D700, but that’s just because I have one for real estate photography because I need full-frame and low-light features.
I shoot JPG images for most medium-resolution events using a Sigma 24-70mm HSM lens so I can quickly zoom in between individuals and groups. A Nikon D40 with a kit lens is also sufficient. and I always have one as backup. It also houses my Nikon flashes and is much lighter than a D700.
It is important to have a rear view camera. I was even satisfied with a Nikon Coolpix P6000 when my D700 was used on a pitch-side cricket event. With proper lighting (see Lighting section), I achieved almost identical results when I photographed people in front of a green screen. You must have at least one fully charged spare battery, a few spare and preformatted memory cards, and replacement batteries for each flash unit for each camera. I use the new Duracell batteries for the flash units while they stay.
So do not go crazy on the camera kit, it will be beaten at an event! In the settings, I photograph indoors with about f7.1 to f8 for groups, so I get a good depth of field. I use shutter speeds of about 125 to get sharp shots as I do not like a tripod, too restrictive, and I use ISO 400 for sufficient sensitivity. White balance is easy on a Nikon, see Lighting, but the flash setting is fine. For individuals and couples, I open up to about f5 and shoot full length, head and shoulders and a close-up. Outdoor events depend more on the available light and lens.
A tip: Use a wireless transmitter to send the images directly to your PC, Mac or your Click system. This avoids the risk of people (especially the ladies) wanting to see every shot on the back of the camera while you record it! This will help you get through it faster and your workstation team will display the full size images correctly. Actually, I keep the images stored in the camera as a backup if the wireless system stops working.
Another tip: If you photograph groups at a school graduation ball or corporate event, take a step ladder with you! When you climb over them and shoot down, the angle changes and the front person looks much bigger than the back! In this way you can compress even larger groups. This is especially useful when photographing in front of a green screen at an event.
Even if you ever have a large group of girls at a graduation ball or sweet sixteen event, take MANY shots! It’s very hard to get a single photo that every girl is happy with. The boys are really not that picky. The girls buy the photo they look best on.
We usually charge a standard rate of £ 10 per shot, including a 6×9 photograph. However, we offer incentives for groups, such as For example, to discount copies of the same photograph or to offer 3 for the price of 2 if they are different shots that need to be edited.
2. Lighting fixture for event photography
I do not use studio lighting for indoor events! Initially I used the standard large softbox above the camera and shot in front of a gray, back or white background. But this is boring and old-fashioned nowadays, the lighting is very shallow and there is always the danger that people will trip over cables and find a power point nearby.
School graduation, bar mitzvah parties, and especially sweet sixteen parties are getting very crowded, and although we are fully insured, I do not want a heavy studio light to fall on a guest. It’s the same at corporate events and Black Tie dinners, after dinner there’s usually a huge rush of photos, and even a taped-off light can be overrun by a drunken party-goer!
So now I use a Nikon SB-900 for the camera with the wide-angle flap down and the built-in soft diffuser. This controls two more Nikon SB-600s, which are also equipped with wide-angle flaps and use Nikon’s superb CLS lighting system. The two SB-600s are mounted on sturdy but portable stands and shoot through white umbrellas for a pleasantly soft light.
At an event, you do not want to play around in changing light when you have queues, but this setup is flexible and light enough to move quickly when needed. With the Nikon system, I can control the brightness of each flash directly from the camera without having to touch the lights.
Because we use green screen backgrounds at most events to add effects and digital backgrounds, we need to make sure that the background is evenly lit to avoid problems when coloring the green. By placing the umbrellas high on both sides and shooting them, the green (or blue) background will be evenly lit where it matters. Guests receive a beautiful, flattering lighting that I can easily customize for large groups or close-ups. I
I shoot with full manual effort with a camera flash of about 1/32 to create a little fill light, but mainly to trigger the two mounted lights. These are usually at about 1/8 power, which is sufficient! Recycling is very fast and I never had to change the batteries at an event, even though I have spare parts at hand.
If I get a big group like a football or cricket team at a sporting event, can I quickly move the two sidelights back and up. When it calms down and we get a guest who wants some special shots, the lights can be moved like this One acts as a keylight and one as a filling for classic Rembrandt lighting. The workstations are running a professional rework software that can quickly enhance images when someone wants to take portfolio shots.
The SB-900 on the camera can also be removed and used as a slave for hair lighting or other effects triggered by the on-canera flash. So we can easily make a three light setup! White balance is crucial. For Nikon cameras, set white balance to “ahead” and press and hold the wb button for three seconds. When the display flashes, point the camera back between the lights and take the picture. If “good” appears in the display, you can start. If not, try again with one of the sb600s, it will work!
The beauty of this system is that everything fits in a suitcase and is easy to carry! It is very flexible for other types of photography. These flashguns are just as powerful as studio lights, and we even bring fong diffusers and softboxes if we have the opportunity to do some glamor photography. (and yes, you can book us for private shoots!)
3. Printer for instant event photos.
Previously, I ran a large independent company that sold calibrated color printers, scanners, and displays for the corporate design market. Previously, I worked as a color consultant with Canon, Xerox, Mitsubishi and Tektronix. Choosing the best event printers was an interesting task!
Inkjets and color lasers were fired immediately because I needed portability, reliability and photo quality. Also, I needed to know exactly what each print would cost. An inkjet printer produces quality with a little bit of fine tuning, but never achieves the quality, speed or durability of a particular dye sublimation printer.
I do not believe in compatible inks because I’ve seen first-hand how much R & D flows into a manufacturer’s ink. Therefore, inkjet prints are too expensive for event printing. Lasers are fast but do not have good color quality and are extremely difficult to transport. After testing all the latest offers, I chose the Mitsubishi 9550 DW, which is connected to the Mitsubishi Click system.
Since I use a full screen camera, this is exactly the size with which the camera takes, so no cropping is required! The photos are fast and very accurate thanks to the special color profiles we use and have been refined by Systems Insight!
The dye subprocess essentially involves heating the ink on a ribbon until it turns into a gas and sublimates into the specialty paper. This is a truly continuous color tone process, so the color gamut is much wider than other processes, resulting in smooth and accurate skin tones without dot patterns.
You can actually roll up a photo and leave it in half a liter of Coke, let it stand for hours, and then wipe it dry with no signs of running or fading, as shown on the Stuart training course! These photos really do not fade and are fingerprint-proof thanks to the special coating. They last longer than any other photo!
The fixed cost per photo allows us to offer pre-paid events such as weddings or school evenings at discounted prices because we know exactly how much each photo costs, regardless of how much of each color is used.
But we also offer a unique digital make-up service for events that use a very special PC with professional retouching software, requiring a printer that we can connect directly to. And we wanted to be able to instantly offer 12 “x 10” photos and other large formats for sporting events, such as football and cricket events, where team shots are popular.
So we decided to go for the larger format Mitsubishi and have now found out that it also works on the click! Consumables for the Mitsubishi event printers are available immediately, and therefore discounted prices lower costs. Some of the less known brands, such as Shinko and Olmec, are often difficult to obtain.
We are pleased with the speed, quality and reliability of our printers, but more importantly, our customers love the results.
4. Mitsubishi Click System for Event Photographers.
As mentioned before, I have a background in color technology, but before that I was a DEC system manager, with a degree in computer science and a qualified programmer. Yeah, I’m old enough to do all this, and spent 7 years in the army to control the Artlillery fire with computers, slide rules, and logbooks when those systems were taken out.
So I’m more of a techie than most photographers. Why did I choose a turnkey solution for creating event photos instead of using my experience with PC and Mac solutions?
Laziness really why reinvent the wheel! I quickly realized that you have to produce very good photos very quickly to a very high standard in order to earn money in event photography! The workflow is very important. Originally, I wanted to either use a large 27-inch Mac with a studio display to ensure the quality of all incoming images, or with a few quick Sony Vaio AW notebooks with their beautiful Adobe RGB 18-inch monitors the Windows 7 Route. with one or two dye sub-linked systems.
But as I looked at the workflow and software required, I realized that the Mitsubishi Click would cover all the basics. Yes, I could run both systems quickly and use special green screen software and professional retouching software to achieve impressive results. But who would take the pictures? I needed a lean and user-friendly system to train others in it.
My first event was a Christmas dinner for companies and the only person available for the green-screen effects, printing, montage and sales was my wife! The click system is very simple, you set up a new event and the pictures are sent wirelessly by the photographer. If you select them by simply touching the screen, you will get a preview in full screen mode. Once customers have decided which photos they want, you can easily put them on a green screen background and print them at the touch of a button.
Camera cards and CDs are easy to read or burn, multiple printers are supported and the whole system runs smoothly and looks very professional. We even forced customers to connect their own cameras or cell phones via Bluetooth and print out their own photos! My wife did well at our first event, and we had over thirty satisfied customers that night in a very short period of about two hours from the end of the meal to our return home.
Many bought several photos with different backgrounds and effects, but she took care of everything while I took the pictures. Now we have more trained assistants, as it has drained them a bit 🙂 But I still wanted the flexibility and power to use more specialized green-screen software to insert overlays and tweak some of the more difficult effects.
With some help from the System Insight engineers, I found out how to access the system directly, and under the smooth software front-end is a powerful Windows PC. So, if we get a very special request (like “Take me to the Oval Office with President Obama”), I can jump to Photokey or Portrait pro and run in the background! And yes, you can print directly to the dedicated 9550DW by queuing jobs directly.
You can also increase processor speed, add more RAM, use an HDMI graphics card to support external displays, and even replace the motherboard, if you’re brave enough and do not mind canceling your warranty!
I would recommend this system to anyone starting with it, and I would also recommend you to buy it from Stuart or Darren at Systems Insight as they know the system well!
5. Green screen event photography
To succeed in event photography as in any business, you need an important differentiator that makes you unique. We all basically offer the same service, take pictures of people who have fun, and offer prints or downloads. Some specialize in niche markets such as weddings or school photos or certain types of events such as equestrian or motorcycling. I chose Green Screen Event Photography for a variety of reasons.
I like the portability of our lighting system and did not want to spoil it by having to carry around different huge colored backgrounds for different occasions. I think it’s boring that dozens of people shoot in the same way, and I’m sure most people attending events are fed up with the same blue-and-gray backdrop or “state-of-the-art” white or black high- or low-key shoot.
I would like to have fun at an event and want the guests to experience something new. So we all shoot in front of a blue or usually a green screen and then our special software can replace that color with one of our 2500 digital backgrounds! This gives us the flexibility to decorate Black Tie and Corporate events with stylish studio backdrops, and allows us to choose suitable colors to enhance what guests wear.
For graduation and Sweet Sixteens, we can fly guests through space, onto the stage with their favorite rock bands, or into the latest movies. Bar and Bat Mitzvah are great fun as we can transport guests anywhere in the world. For all events, we offer free personalized overlays and designs to make the event memorable and unique.
The secret of Chromakey Event Photography is to keep the workflow fast! If you offer a guest 2500 opportunities, expect a large queue or many disappointed people. We tend to design 10 choices for each event and each print an example so they can decide before we shoot. In this way, they can take a suitable pose when posing next to a Twilight vampire or on the dance floor with John Travolta. Although it slows down adding backdrops, we prefer interaction and guests enjoy the experience.
It’s not just about photographing and printing them, some event companies work like a slaughterhouse, which is more about quantity than quality. The car cameras in the theme parks are meant for that. We would rather spend some time to earn our money!
We prefer green screens to blue screens because fewer people wear the actual green tone we use. Blue clothing, eyes, and jewelry are more common and can cause problems unless you know how to hide those areas. We now use very special green screen material directly from the movie studios. This is a special white back material that absorbs light and shines evenly. Ordinary green muslin reflects light and causes problems, especially with very blond hair. Contact me for details, it’s twice as expensive, but it’s worth it!
Do not worry that the scenery is illuminated evenly, as this only leads to more wastage and you need more light output and wiring! At an event, you can not get your guests to the recommended 10-12 feet distance that you need when lighting the scenery! Imagine that you were photographing a group and that everyone was standing one meter in front of the fabric! How big should the group be! With the Pro software, you can quickly adjust to spilled and reflected green light.
The trick is to shed light on people, not the background that should be in the gaps anyway, and if you have a light that’s green enough, it will work. Less is more, light from the sides and above, so that all the shadows are still green and disappear. We use overlays and backgrounds to get realistic title pages and special effects.
People do not realize that usually the models in magazines are in front of the headline, but behind the informative text! And watch out for copyrights, make your own title pages that are similar but not identical. You can buy them as overlays in the US. PNG files are best, but do not work with the click. You have to do what we do and switch.
The shot of President Obama is a good example. He is in the background, the guests are placed in the top, then the desk is added as an overlay in front of it.
6. Start an Event Photography Business.
Do not believe the sellers who say it’s a license to print money! That’s their job and they do it well, but like any business you really need to work on it. Most professional photographers would not dream of taking a photo shoot AND delivering a framed large photo for a tens! And do not just think, because you get a booking at a Black Tie event, for example, with 100 people, that you will sell 100 photos!
30% of these people do not even want a picture! That’s the way it is. There will not be many individuals who want a photo on their own, and there is always a large group that only want one shot of them, but buy additional copies at a discounted price. That leaves the couple so that they come down to about five singles, a large group and twenty couples.
At an event of this size you will earn about £ 300. Ok, that’s a small event, but it’s almost possible that two people will report it. So that’s just an assistant who pays for it. Add to that the cost of prints, mounts, and bags, travel, insurance, an hour to set up and pack, and sometimes many hours to wait for a dinner speech.
Do not forget the website you need, the ads to get bookings, the cost of all the equipment, the marketing of your website, the administration and post-production work to put the pictures online. The usual business costs for stationery, telephone bills, promotional items and all insurance.
Also keep in mind that there are a lot of excellent photographers and anyone can buy and buy a good camera, a lens and a fast printer. The big companies have already finished the big events. So you need to use your contacts, look around, advertise and advertise. Offer to host some small events for training for free, but charge the running price. Even if you sell only 10 shots a night, the experience is invaluable before you tackle a busy event.
Once you have received a booking, you can appear on some pop-up banners that show your activities, flyers and business cards. When you get there and set up, take a few test shots of the bar staff, the waitresses and the organizers to test everything. Put them together and give them away by asking them to show the guests! Great advertisement! Let the DJ tell the guests where you are and what you do. Work the tables when it’s quiet. Above all, enjoy it and be polite and professional as you all represent us!
These are enough secrets that will be revealed for the time being, if someone wants to ask questions, feel free. This is just my opinion and experience, I will add more when I have time. If you find that useful at all, please tell others. I do not pay anything to write nor do I sell anything, but links to my site are really appreciated, or a mention in blogs etc. Cheers, Paul Harrison
I have been an avid photographer for many years, but at the age of 50, I decided to become a professional. Great excuse to buy the best equipment! After much research, I brought along a new Nikon D700, a Sigma 24-70 HSM lens, a Nikon SB-900 main gun with two SB-600 flash guns as slave.
Then I opted for the Mitsubishi Click system with a 9550-capable photo printer that produces very fast 9 x 6 inch photos! I’ve been editing a few events since then, especially over Christmas, and I’ve earned well with it. More importantly, the organizers loved what we do, and the guests loved our green screen effects and were very happy to buy what we produced.