Tips to Get the Most out of Your Event Photography

Tips to Get the Most out of Your Event PhotographyMost people think documenting an event is as easy as taking a camera and shooting the day away. In most cases, hosts would think it is okay to let an amateur, like Uncle Bob or little 12-year-old Johnny, run around the venue with a point-and-shoot camera to cover the entire event. Well, there might be photos taken of the event’s highlights and attendees but it may not be of high-quality – expect blurry faces, outrageous flash sparks, and even a few important scenes which are missing.

Unlike weddings wherein there are specific shot lists, general event photography is another field of its own. Events deal with gatherings ranging from small family parties to full-blown corporate functions. In each of these events, there are varying elements of highlights, several possible locations, and different times for each event. Each of these factors can affect you capturing quality photos without preparation and the right equipment.

Here are a few basic tips on how to capture high quality event photos like a pro:

Do your homework. As in any other kind of photo shoot, you should first know everything there is to know about the event. Learn the location, the program, the key persons, and the time it begins and ends. It is very handy when packing or choosing your own gear when you know how big the venue is and how long the event will run, as well as knowing how long you will need to prepare for – equipment wise.

Pack the right gear. In terms of bringing your own lenses, the selection greatly depends on the event’s activities and the possible atmosphere at the venue itself. Most professionals recommend bringing wide angle and telephoto lenses. These will allow you to take great establishing photos of the venue and the set up while also enabling you to zoom into the people on stage without minding the long distance. Others may throw in mid range lenses for capturing people’s emotions up close, like a viewer’s surprise or the speaker’s thank-you smile.

Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. The entire success of your documentation relies on preparation. Even while packing up the camera bag, visualize the venue and the ambiance that you might encounter. Imagine what kind of shots you would want to take at the event. Include in a contingency plan for bad weather, terrible lighting conditions, and even a Plan B when the crowd’s area is too cramped.

Be prepared to get flashy. Yes, external flashes are expected to be used in events that are held indoors, that involve dramatic stage lights, and that are happening during the night. Learn how to operate and trigger the flash, being able to use it without dissolving the entire scene into a blast of white light needs a little practice. Test the camera settings with the flash settings before heading out into the sea of people to take a stage dive capture. Also, understand when to use a flash and when not to use a flash to ruin a moment, like in laser shows and in intimate moments between a speaker and his crowd.

The closer, the better. Being able to take a wide shot of the party is indeed great, you get to show off the venue, the audience, and the action. However, the best shots of the night might be right where the action is. Whenever possible, move close to the key person and snap away at the climax of their emotion. Especially for sporting events, stay close to the sidelines to feel the rush of excitement first hand and then get another head-rush as you get that money shot of the first runner at the finish line.

Get the full story of the day. In fairy tales and stories, there is always a beginning, a middle, and an end. Basically, you, as the photographer, are tasked to bring the entire event’s story together in photos. So get the establishing shots to open the story, using detailed shots of the invites, the preparations that took place, and the full venue without people in it. Slowly build up on the frames as the day progresses, the guests come in and then the party starts. End it up with amazing shots of the different emotions presented for the night, be it happiness, relief, excitement, or simply exhaustion. Who knows, your beautiful personal take on the event’s storyline might just book you for another round of photos for the next year’s event as well.

wedding-photography-101As one of the most important day in a couple’s journey, the wedding day is a gigantic feat entrusted on to the official photographer to be captured and immortalized to last a lifetime. Imagine a day as big as it is – with all the teeny tiny details waiting to be shot, with all the running back and forth from breakfast to make up, and with all the key people to capture, how can a single photographer manage to cover every single moment?

First off, tackle the problem bit by bit and take down the entire wedding day into several manageable parts. The good thing about events like this is that the flow is systematic and expected. The entire day is organized from one venue to another, with the scheduled itinerary on hand. Always anticipate the next move of the bride, the groom and whoever is with them, be it the minister or the master of ceremonies.In getting down to the gist of the wedding day, shot lists may differ from one photographer to another. Some prefer to take on a more traditional approach on the classic wedding shots, while others simply shoot moments as it unfolds naturally. Here is a basic wedding photography checklist of what clients may expect out of the day’s coverage and the important moments which are not to be missed.

During the preparation, highlight the tense emotions of nervousness, excitement and bliss as the bride and the groom dress up for the most awaited I do’s. The key shots are as follows:

  • The bride and the bridesmaids without make up and during make up. Throw in the mirror shots and capture moments as the girls get all giddy with excitement.
  • The sparkling white dress. This will be the only time that the dress is perfectly clean and luxuriously wrinkle-free, so snap away and let the gown’s glory be celebrated before it is donned.
  • The bridal accessories. As with the gown, a lot of money and effort were given to orchestrate the most amazing outfit for the bride. Shine the limelight on the little details, like the bouquet, shoes, veil, earrings, and other accessories.
  • The groom and his gang. Getting suited up, the groom with the boys are a sure fun to shoot with. Play around with the setting and also get a few portrait shots of the groom with the speech, the best man with the rings, and the parents putting on the groom’s pin.
  • The proud father and the emotional mother. Great shots of these precious moments are priceless. The formal, posed shot is great for the picture frame by the living room but then it is in the stolen shots of the mom tearing up as the bride embraces her father before heading out for the church.

At the church or at the ceremony venue, everyone might be all excited for the breath-taking flight of the bride towards the groom.

  • Details of the venue and decors. Wide-angled shots of the empty pews with the breath-taking arrangements piled along the aisle, these are a few of the details which the couple would greatly appreciate since they aren’t able to take a better look at these during the day itself.
  • The bridal car. As the car arrives, be prepared to take a quick shot as the bride looks out of the car window and flashes a winning smile. Other shots may be the father of the bride helping her out of the car, the bridal entourage scurrying about to prepare for the march, and the bride as she waits behind the church doors – plus points for a wind-blown veil effect.
  • The march. This one is tricky, as there are so many great scenes uncovering the moment the bride steps into the venue. Basically, capture the bride’s silhouette from the front and then take a wide shot of the bride with the entire crowd looking at her as she takes flight. The groom’s reaction is a must shot, and then add in other emotional shots of the parents tearing up or the bride’s sister wiping off her tear. Be alert that as the bride reaches the foot of the altar, her father will hand her off to the groom and this is another key moment you would not want to miss.
  • The vows and the rings. During the entire ceremony, roam around and play with the scene with the use of different angles, lenses, and compositions. Don’t forget to take detail or macro shots of the rings inside the church and be prepared to rush up front during the exchange of vows.
  • The first kiss. Capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment and be 100% sure about the shot, this usually goes into a frame or hanged by their bedside. Take a second to capture the crowd’s reaction to the kiss, too.
  • The exit. Know when they are going to march out and get a great spot directly at the end of the aisle. If the crowd tosses petals or confetti, both wide angle and tight shots of the bride and groom smiling while running out of the venue are wonderful money shots.

The last and most exciting part of the wedding day is during the reception. Most couples do a post-nuptial shoot in another venue along with the bridal entourage, while other brides soak up the time in their grand wedding dress as they plan to change into another comfier dress for the dinner. Either way, don’t forget to allot time in being early to the reception venue and taking shots of the details and the decors before the guests arrive. Here’s a quick rundown of the shots taken during the reception.

  • The venue. Take a snap shot of the decorated venue without guests at first and then filled with guests afterwards. Play with the elements of flowers, candles, bows, signage, and other adornments.
  • A must – cake, table setting, centerpiece, favors, room’s focal point. The couple spent a huge effort on perfect each and every one of these so be sure to give them credit by making a piece of art out of their masterpiece.
  • The entrance of the newlyweds. Be ready with a flash as most entrances are done in dim lighting or with a use of a spotlight on the couple.
  • Highlights of the evening. Toasts, first dance, father-daughter dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, and other important events should still be documented. These are optional as some couples do away with the traditional way of going on with their feast while others incorporate rituals of their own culture.
  • The party and the exit. Still as essential as other events during the wedding day, the bride and groom partying with their friends is another great opportunity to snag a few intimate photos of the couple. Plus, if you stick around longer, some couple plan amazing exits like a horse-driven carriage or a helicopter ride.

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Photo Credit: Iridescent Photography

Wedding photos are like priceless gems, they are meant to be kept and cherished for a lifetime. No couple would ever dream of looking less than perfect in wedding portraits. However, not everyone is accustomed to being in front of the camera. Imagine having a photographer follow you from the moment you put on your gown in the morning until the wee hours of night.

Yes, wedding photographers make sure they do not miss a moment of the wedding day. Scared? Nervous? Don’t know what to do? Not everyone is born comfortable when in front of a camera so don’t worry. Here are a few wedding photography tips to help battle the anxiety of paparazzi pressure while still ensuring a picture-perfect, frame-worthy shot from the wedding day.

Comfort is key. The most important factor in getting awesome photos is a great photographer-client relationship. Learn his style in posing and shooting, listen to his ideas when it comes to wedding photography, and know what he anticipates given the time and venue of the wedding. You and your partner must find a photographer who is friendly and approachable, this helps alleviate any wedding day jitters and also makes smiling for the camera more natural and less awkward.

Schedule a test run. Engagement shoots can be handy, it allows for you and the photographer to have a trial shoot before the actual wedding day itself. He gets to see which angles and views work best for the newlyweds while the couple gets more accustomed to the shooter’s style and techniques. When previewing the photos from the session, voice out your opinions to give the photographer an idea on which shots you like most.

The importance of the “first look!” Couples may think this shoot is a fad and that they can go without it, especially when they are running behind schedule en route to the ceremony. However, the first look is a really emotional and intimate moment between the bride and the groom. Nothing best encapsulates that wonderful feeling of seeing your beloved all dressed up just to say “I do” to you for her entire lifetime.

Stick to the given schedule. On the day of the wedding, try to follow the given itinerary as much as possible. It allows for the photographers to anticipate the flow of events well and it eliminates the need to rush from one event to the other. As no wedding is ever perfect, inform the photographer in advance if there are any changes to the day’s schedule.

Assign a key person to arrange the folks. The photographer does not know who is who but he does know who is needed in each photo. Get a bridesmaid or a family member to point out the people needed in each scene or to arrange people during the group photos. Saves time for the photographer and also prevents uncles and aunts from being left out in family photos.

Smiling 101. Yes, the day-long shoot may be tiring and smiles do fade after an hour of endless flashes and grins. In between shots, take your time and rest your muscles by either taking a sip of water or asking for a retouch on your powder. To avoid squinting, close your eyes briefly and open then on cue when the photographer counts, “…2, 3, smile!” Don’t hesitate to ask for a retake if you feel that your eyes where closed during the shot or if you weren’t looking at the camera. The photo editor will thank you for this.

Being aware and being conscious. The photographer is your friend, he is on your team and he will try to get the best photos of you and your partner possible. Always favor the camera, when sitting, walking, or even when standing still. But be mindful not to look conscious. Spend more time in enjoying your day and celebrating your love for one another rather than being worried as to how you would look like in your photos.

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video-production-tipsWith the advent of the internet, all the different forms of communication have evolved to reach more audiences over a span of short time. Messaging has gone from one continent to another within seconds, calling can now be made with video conferences involving more than two people, and videos can spread faster than the speed of light. Add in the sudden ease of owning a camera, whether it is a high-tech DSLR or a super zoom camera attached to a phone, an MP3 player, or even mounted to a wall. In the 21st century, making a video and posting it for the world to see is nothing but an ordinary feat.Web videos are a huge today, be it about a simple product review or a funny home video. The rise of video sharing sites coupled by social networking sites have helped make any short video clip become viral all over the globe. Though the fame may come in a snap, making high quality web videos is no laughing matter. Getting the viewers to go to your video channel or page is one thing, getting them to stay and watch the entire webcast is another.

Browsing through different web videos, it is obvious how much audiences appreciate videos with great content and quality appearance. So if you are planning to start your own online video channel or your own tutorial guru career, here are a few simple tips in capturing great quality web videos.

Content is key. No matter how advanced a video camera or how experienced the video editor may be, it all boils down to the video’s main message. Build a firm storyline for the video; it will run for only a few minutes but make every second count.

Highlight the content with good framing. As the speaker delivers the message on-screen, allow the viewers to clearly understand the speech through good composition. In cinematography, framing pertains to the way the subject is placed on the screen. Imagine the screen as a tic tac toe grid and frame the person’s face onto the spot where the lines intersect. If framed well, the audience can easily spot the speaker’s facial expressions and also have a clear view of what the topic is all about.

Two-faced light. In general, lighting is the video-maker’s best friend and also his worst enemy. Newbies think that standing below a lamp or shooting the video under direct lighting would pass for a clearer resolution. It would be best to set up facing a window or to have a good amount of light hitting the speaker’s face. Avoid shadows below the eyes and also avoid too much lighting that may produce an unreal-looking skin complexion for the speaker. If used well, light works wonders for the video’s quality. However, it may also destroy the video’s own clarity if not used effectively.

Zooming in and zooming out. Since the video is meant to be watched online, be mindful that viewers can watch it using different gadgets – laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc. For the most part, the viewing screens are smaller and more compact. So whenever possible, zoom in when the speaker is explaining a subject to capture a clearer view of the speaker’s face. Do not over do the zooming in though, frame it from the chest or shoulders and leave a small space above the speaker’s head as well. Zoom outs or wide shots can still be used during introductions and also when arm gestures are to be included in the video.

Clearly said, clearly heard. Audio is another aspect of presentations which is often taken for granted. Built-in microphones in camcorders and laptops can do a fair recording of the lengthy explanations and spiels, if shot in a quiet environment. To ensure crisp, no-fail audio recordings to accompany a quality web video, use external microphones which can be positioned near the speaker to get optimal results. For newbies, it would be better to make use of clip-on lapels since bulky overhead recorders may be too intimidating.

Do not be scared to do trial runs and continuously readjust settings to get the best video possible. If unsure of the clip’s clarity with regards to the video or the audio, check it by running the clip through a computer to view it just as the audience will.

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