My career as a professional photographer hasn’t been that long, but I’ve worked my fair share of events, whether they were corporate or parties, dance productions, concerts, weddings etc. I had all kinds of experience and learned along the way, so today I wanna share with you tips on how to capture emotions on your photos.
The idea came to me few days ago when I edited the photos I took at the Blame it on the Boogie event that placed this Friday in Crikvenica, Croatia. I was so happy with the photos that I decided to make a blog post that won’t be just another boring post, but a useful one that will give you some experience based advice you maybe haven’t thought of before and can implement it in your photography and workflow.
*I just wanna note that tips I give you apply to any field of photography while trying to capture emotions, I just used this example.*
- GET THERE EARLY
Make sure you’re at the event few hours before it starts, sometimes less, but arrive earlier and walk around the place, search for good angles from which you can take photos when the event starts. Also it’s good because you can take few photos of the place, arrangements, details and everything before people just flood the place.
2. GET CLOSE
When I say get close, I mean that on two different levels. First means literally get close to the people on the stage who are performing. Don’t be afraid to take one step more than usual because it will reward you with amazing shots. The second thing is to get close with people socially. My advantage here is the fact that I already worked with girls from Trinity&co and met the boys from Supercover band, so we know each other and it’s much more easier to create that contact on photos when they’re familiar with me. If you don’t know the people who are gonna perform at the event, get to know them, mingle around a bit, introduce yourself, take a few casual photos and feel out the vibe. It will give much more feeling to the photos.
3. LET THE LIGHT GUIDE YOU
At 90% of events it gets dark pretty soon because they usually start before the sunset and last +hours even after midnight. Shooting in low light is always a problem because if you crank up your ISO, noise will appear, so you really need to know your camera settings and it’s range so you can take the best possible shots. There are ways you can remove noise in post production and I encourage you to research a bit about it before going for a shoot. The good thing is that most of the times there are stage lights that light up the stage and the crowd, so figure out how lightning works for that event or talk to the guys in charge. Ask if they can shortly explain which reflector is in charge of particular part of the stage. This is one of the most important parts because light gives life to everything. Even if the scene is basic, lightning will pop out everything so pay attention where it moves.
4. SHOOT WIDE
I used to shoot everything with my 50mm f/1.8, but since I bought my new Canon and got 24-105mm f/4 kit lens, I’ve realised that shooting with a fixed focal length isn’t always best choice while shooting events. You constantly need to move. With zoom lens, as the name itself says, you can zoom in and out of the scene, getting wide and close up shots. It would be a thousand times better if the aperture was f/2.8 because of the beautiful depth of field, but f/4 will do if you don’t have anything better at the moment. But also make sure to take some photos with your 50mm as well to have a variety of photos you can send to the client.
5. BE ONE WITH EVENT + SMILE
When I say that I don’t mean get drunk and hug everyone, just relax. I know it’s hard sometimes, specially if you’re working with some new people, but the energy you give in returns right back to you. That means if you get more comfortable and smiling that will make people around you smile too when they see you take their photos in a good mood. I saw one more photographer at the event (I think it was just some tourist with a camera who took a thousand shots) and he was soooo serious all the time. Looked so grumpy and like he didn’t want to be there. That’s a killer mood for everyone you’re shooting, and especially for yourself. If you’re doing this I guess it’s because you enjoy it, so don’t take that away from yourself. At this event I mingled with people, waved at kids, smiled at people who were dancing, danced a bit myself too and had amazing time that produced even better work.
6. DON’T BLINK
I believe you need to pay attention to your surroundings all the time. You never know when the perfect moment will happen and you’re somewhere in the back looking at your phone. You’ll be sorry if you miss it. I never put my Canon down when I’m working. I have muscle ache in my right hand the day after but it’s always worth it. Giving yourself a break now and then is totally okay, but don’t go out of the flow, stay conscious about what’s happening so you don’t miss the perfect shot.
7. SEARCH FOR EMOTIONS
At every event and particularly these kinds, you’re gonna witness a wave of emotions in people, whether they were giving speeches, saying I do or just dancing off at their favourite part of the song. That’s especially evident when you’re working with any kind of musicians or dancers. Those people are artists just like us who take their photos. Just think of how your face turns into an expression of your emotions when you shot something you’re proud of or pleased with, you laugh or just have that satisfactory smile on your face. You can catch those feelings in other people if you pay attention to what they’re doing while performing.
8. GET IN THE ACTION
This advice is kind of related to my first one but it’s more concerned with the fact that if you want good shoots you can’t just stay at one place the entire night. Move, walk, climb up to the stage (if it’s allowed and try being as subtle as possible), climb anywhere if it will give you a new angle from which you can shoot something amazing, but please be careful I don’t wanna be responsible if you break something. I’ve done my share of falls, scratches, bruises, dirty clothes, but it was always worth it.
9. LEAVE IT CROOKED
I love symmetry and I always adjust my photos, but when I shoot at the event, specially like this one when everything is crazy and loud and full of light and the vibe screams ”Party!” I leave some of my photos crooked. It just gives more feel to some of them. So adjust some, leave some, the composition of your shot will speak for itself.
Well I think I managed to sum it up as much as I could and still give you the best personal advice I could come up with. I hope you’ll find this post useful and if do, feel free to leave a comment or write in my DM. I would love to see some of your shots.
If you’re somewhere in Rijeka 1st of July, make sure you don’t miss out girls from Trinity&co, Supercover band and dboki Sound and Lights at another Blame it on the Boogie event as part of RetrOpatija festival. Click here for the official website of the event. And today I’m off for another shoot with the girls from Trinity&co because they’re having their final studio production, so if you’re somewhere around, there’s still few tickets left, so feel free to stop by. You can find more details here. Sea of love, S.
LISTEN TO THIS AS YOU GO THROUGH THE PHOTOS