Capture the moment: Mastering event photography.

Event photography isn't just about taking pictures; it's about capturing the essence of significant life moments, from intimate gatherings to grand celebrations.

An aeriel view of an outdoor dining event

Help people commemorate events with beautiful photos.

At its core, event photography involves creating lasting memories that encapsulate the spirit and atmosphere of an event. Whether capturing a bride's joyful tears or a spontaneous moment in the mosh pit at a music festival, each shot contributes to a visual narrative of the day. While wedding photography is a specialisation in its own right, the techniques used there—such as anticipating moments and blending into the background to catch candid interactions—are applicable across all types of event photography. The objective is always the same: to deliver a collection of images that balance posed arrangements with the authenticity of unguarded moments.


Event photographers: The storytellers of our time.

“Even though you’ll be interacting with people and saying, ‘Hey, do you mind if I get a photo?’ for the most part you’re walking around being a documentarian,” says commercial photographer Andrew Bennett. In this role, photographers have the unique opportunity to observe and immortalise moments that others might overlook. Armed with a camera, photographers gain entry into environments that offer a kaleidoscope of human emotions and interactions. “A camera grants you access to places you wouldn’t go normally. You end up in unique places and situations.” This privilege turns event photographers into storytellers who not only preserve moments but also tell the broader story of the human experience captured through events.

A caterer putting finishing garnishes on a large number of meals

Preparing for success in event photography.

Prepping for an event is about expecting the unexpected. The magic isn't just in the big moments but also in the fleeting, candid ones that happen in the blink of an eye. Remember, once an event wraps up, there’s no going back to capture what you missed, so it’s essential to be on your toes for both key events and those spontaneous interactions. Key Steps for Seamless Event Photography Preparation include:


1. Check in with the event planner: 

Before you dive into the whirlwind of the event, sit down with the organisers. Understanding the flow of the event, the number of attendees, and the layout of the venue is crucial. “You may even want to visit the venue beforehand if possible,” suggests portrait and event photographer Greta High. She emphasises the importance of being clued into the event’s schedule to ensure you're in the right place at the right time. “I’m very laid back and I like to do things by the seat of my pants. And you can do that. But it helps to have a general idea first of what’s going to happen,” she says.


2. Set clear expectations with your client.

It’s crucial to align with your client’s expectations before the event starts. Discuss the details of what they’re hoping to see in the final images and manage those expectations realistically. “You want to under-sell and overdeliver,” says High. “I want my clients to think, ‘Oh, I got even more than she said I would.’”


3. Create a flexible shot list.

While having a shot list is essential, don’t let it restrict you. Be ready to capture those unscripted, precious moments that often become the highlight of your portfolio. “I prefer to keep it organic,” says High. “If I’m too married to a shot list, I feel like I miss key moments that are special and unique to the event.”

Overhead shot of professional camera equipment

4. Equip yourself for success.

No seasoned event photographer hits the ground without a robust kit. Make sure you've got multiple cameras, plenty of batteries, and extra memory cards. A backup for each piece of equipment is crucial because, let's face it, you can't ask for a time-out during an event. 


Bennett never leaves without his two trusty DSLRs: one with a 16-35mm lens, perfect for getting those vibrant, evenly lit group shots, and a second camera that sports a 150mm lens, ideal for those candid moments that require a bit of artistic flair with a shallower depth of field. 


High prefers to spice things up with a variety of lenses and flashes, and even packs light stands and prisms for those times when she wants to add a unique twist to her shots. 


Tailoring your equipment list to fit your style not only prepares you for any challenge but also allows you to bring your creative vision to life seamlessly.

People putting together numerous bouquets of flowers
A person with their hands out, sitting on someone's shoulder at a concert

Enhancing your skills with advanced event photography tips.


Going above and beyond.

It’s key to know what your client expects, but it's also smart to trust your gut. Often, the shots they didn’t specifically ask for end up being the ones they treasure the most. “If you’re shooting for an indie band who sold out their record release party, it’s always good to show that it’s a packed house,” says Bennett. “I would try to get a super-wide shot showing the whole crowd, because it would make them look good to concert promoters and record labels,” he explains. “If you’re shooting a company party, it’s good to know who the CEO and the C-suite are so you can get some shots of them. Or if you’re shooting a wedding and there are a lot of decorations, it’s good to capture those details.”

Be friendly and engaging.

While it’s easy to focus solely on shooting, remember to also interact with those you're photographing. When there’s time, Bennett likes to show attendees the photos he snaps of them. “It’s fun for people and it gives them the chance to give you their input and joke around. And if they want you to shoot another one, do it again,” he says. “As an event photographer, you have to be down for anything.”


Keep track of names for publications.

If your shoot requires identifying the subjects in your event photos, such as for a magazine's social page, it's practical to have an assistant. They can help by noting down the names of people in each photo right as you take them. This method ensures you match every face to a name without missing a beat, making your workflow much smoother and more organised.


Stay flexible and ready to adapt.

Expect the unexpected with lighting at events—changes in natural or artificial light can happen fast, so be ready to adjust your camera settings, like shutter speed, on the fly. “Sometimes you have everything ready to go and then a videographer comes in and brings in a video light, so you have to quickly change your settings,” says High. “When you’re new it can be overwhelming, but now it’s something that I can do without thinking.”


Polishing your event photography in post-production.


Back up your images.

Always back up your images in multiple locations to prevent any loss. “I don’t delete a memory card until a client has their images,” says High. “Hard drives give out. It happens. I lost one client’s images back when I first started and I never did it again. It’s the worst feeling in the world.”

Editing a wedding photo of a groom and bride in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Make selections and batch edit.

“I vet my photos first and select the ones I think are worthy of showing the client,” says Bennett. “Nobody wants to go through 2000 photos.” After pinpointing the standout images from your shoot, consider how adjustments like white balance, shadows, highlights, and sharpening could enhance them. Using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, create and apply your own customised presets to ensure consistency across all your photos at once, streamlining your editing workflow and maintaining the narrative flow of the event.


To further refine your event photos in Lightroom, consider these additional tips:

  • Create a customised vignette: Softly fade certain elements into the background to focus attention on the main subjects.

  • Share photos with clients directly from Lightroom: Utilise Lightroom’s web gallery feature to efficiently share professional galleries with clients, allowing them to view and select their favourite images seamlessly.

Shadow an experienced photographer.

High recommends “second shooting” as a great way to learn the art of event photography. This role allows you to experiment and learn without the pressure of being the primary photographer. “I cannot recommend enough being a second photographer for events,” she says. “If you can find a photographer to let you shoot with them, you will learn more than you can learn anywhere else.”


Elevating event photography to an art form with Adobe Photoshop.

Mastering event photography is about weaving a narrative that resonates and preserving cherished moments. As you refine your skills, remember the importance of preparation, adaptability, and genuine connections. Each event is a unique story waiting to be told through your lens.


Engage with the community and other professionals, like shadowing experienced photographers or participating in Adobe’s forums. Sharing your work and learning from feedback will refine your techniques and deepen your understanding of this dynamic field. Event photography is not just about capturing moments; it’s about creating art that connects and endures, making every captured memory last a lifetime.


Do more with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Edit photos easily with Lightroom presets, Super Resolution, easily share photos from any device and access your projects anywhere with cloud photo storage management.

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