How to prep for shooting an event.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when shooting events is to keep an eye out for memorable moments, even ones that you might not expect. Once it’s over, you won’t be able to re-create it, so prepare to shoot key scheduled items but also small details and candid shots. It’s not unusual to end up with thousands of shots of a single event, which you can edit down later.
Follow the tips below to set yourself up for a successful shoot.
Check in with the event planner.
Get all the details you need about the event. Set up a time to talk with your client or whoever the event organizer is, so you can get a picture of exactly what the event will look like. Ask how many attendees will be there, what’s going to take place, and how the space will look. “You may even want to go and lay eyes on the space, if you can,” recommends portrait and event photographer Greta High. But getting clued in on the schedule of the event is essential, so you know where you need to be at certain times. “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,” says High.
Set clear expectations with your client.
Once you know what’s going to happen at the event and how the physical setup will look, check in with the person who hired you to make sure you’re on the same page about what you’ll deliver. If it might be a challenge to get the images the client wants in the available space and environment, voice that concern. Let your client know how many final images you expect to create and never over-promise. A reasonable offer might be about 50 to 75 images for an hour-long event. “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.’”
Create a shot list but don’t let it limit you.
After you talk with your client, you should be able to make a list of shots that they definitely want. You may add some other shots you think they’d like, if they’re ossible. But during the shoot, don’t forget to look for unplanned moments outside your shot list. “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.”