About 80% of my workload has to do with photographing corporate events. These can range from a speaking event to a social, happy hour event, but one thing is clear — there are five “must-take” photographs for every event I shoot.
1) The Speaker
One of the most important shots is that of the main speaker. Usually, an event always has at least one speaker, either formally or informally. Be sure to capture this from multiple angles to give a unique perspective. If there are multiple speakers, be sure to repeat this process.
2) Candid Attendee Shots
With most events, I have a lot of time to capture action shots of attendees. Focus on capturing small groups and act like a fly on the wall.
Don’t be afraid to show partial backs in order to showcase a specific person in the shot. And don’t forget to capture some candid shots of people sitting down during the presentation — if you can capture a few people laughing, that’ll be a big win for the client.
3) Posed Attendee Shots
Probably the easiest type of shot at an event, be sure to capture some posed photographs of small groups.
I like to deal with groups of 3-5 people, which retains the interest in your photograph and helps to show some of the fun and emotion that people are having at the event. A small group is also easier to deal with if you’re shooting with an on-camera flash or limited lighting situation, as it means you don’t have to change your settings just for one shot.
4) The Setup
Try to get to an event early and capture the setup before the chaos begins. This can mean photographing the room prior to seats being filled, tables with appetizers present and more. Give a sense of space with some wide shots, but don’t forget to capture some detailed shots too.
Want to get creative? Find a surface (or bring a Platypod) that you can set your camera on, and capture a long exposure that blurs the organizers getting ready for the event in the space.
Setup shots can also help organizers prepare for next year’s event — and this helps to ensure that you’re top of mind when it’s time to hire a photographer again.
5) The Organizers
Often overlooked, it’s important to get some photographs of organizers getting ready for the event and interacting with guests. Sure, the focus should be on the attendees and the main program of the event, but organizers will appreciate seeing photos of them working and enjoying themselves amongst the chaos. Don’t be afraid to ask them to pose, either.
Shooting an event means you have to be on your feet and capture the essence of the atmosphere as best as possible. And while the above shots might seem obvious, it’s important to capture them with some different angles and unique perspectives. While it’s great to stick to basic rules like the rule of thirds, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.