A few weeks ago, I had the chance to photograph a local event with entrepreneurs from Detroit, who had traveled to Grand Rapids to visit with other “makers” in the area. There were talks and hands-on interaction; a lot of which I’m used to with corporate events.

But there was also a lot of time for me to get creative. The client didn’t have a need for hundreds of photos of each speaker or the crowd. So I went exploring.

Focusing on the Details

The event was held in two shops downtown. One was more of a workspace than a store, while the other served primarily as retail, but also had space where the team could develop lines of clothing.

In the first shop, there was big, heavy machinery to create different clothing lines. There was yarn everywhere, and it was great to focus in, watching the owner show off her skillset. In addition to getting full shots of her at work, I got some of her working with her hands, the machinery by itself and the yarn.

Work the Angles

In the second shop, I had some time to check out their clothing line, and focused on getting close-up shots of some of the elements that were present on the shirts, hats and jackets. During this time I treated it more like a retail shoot, than I did an event.

I played with different angles, going from overhead to straight on to a low angle that would highlight some of the details of the product.

Capturing the People

When I did photograph the people present (still a majority of my shots), I tried to get creative in terms of how I composed the shot. I captured them interacting with the products, others that were present and asking questions to the speaker.

Photos showing interaction or people enjoying themselves are better, in my opinion, than asking groups to pose. It’s more authentic, and you can be more creative with your angles and how you capture the photograph.

Conclusion

If you’ve ever second shot an event or wedding, you know what I’m talking about. Getting those shots that you wouldn’t otherwise focus on, to capture the essence of an event. This could be table decorations, flowers, drinks being poured, the feet of people walking, etc. Your goal isn’t just to capture people — it’s to tell the story of the event. And by focusing on some unique details and angles, you can help to write that story.