How to Become an Event Photographer (And Be Successful)

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Event photography is a great option for photographers who are planning to expand their photography services, as it guarantees work and provides a lot of opportunities. However, starting as an event photographer can be challenging. There are many things to prepare before you begin, such as gathering the right equipment and learning how to increase your client base.

There are many factors that contribute to being a successful event photographer. The following information provides further details on what an event photographer does and the required steps to achieving your goals.

What Does It Take to Become an Event Photographer?

Event photography covers an array of professional photography as there is a variety of events to cater to. Wedding photography and mitzvah photography became completely separate categories of photography on their own, due to the size of their niche. Thus, event photography usually covers typical events such as birthday celebrations, corporate activities, conferences, award ceremonies, and more. Moreover, event photography helps to create wedding books, birthday books, and brochures for other activities.

To become an event photographer, would require a particular set of skills, and once you gain competence, it would be easier for you to explore different sub-niches of event photography like corporate events or awarding ceremonies for example.

On the other hand, event photography does not require a certain type of character as it works for all photographers. The personality of a photographer is often reflected in their work.

Being an event photographer requires flexibility and some degree of agility, to adapt to various situations. For example, transferring from a wide-open area to indoor spaces, taking photos of subjects aside from people like animals, cars, products, food, and more. To become a successful event photographer, remember to practice constantly and be prepared.

How to start being an event photographer?

The first step to being an event photographer is to develop a mindset that you are a business entity, not a random individual. As a business entity, you must establish your personal branding. Think about what you embody as a photographer, your mission statement, passion, and core values. These must reflect the kind of photographer you want to become.

One of the best ways to have experience working as an event photographer is to do freelance photography. Being a freelancer will allow you to explore event photography by trying out different gigs. This will also help you build your professional portfolio which will be your tool to land a long-term in-house job.

If you can’t decide between being a freelancer and an in-house event photographer, learning the differences will help you choose.

Freelance event photographers have more control over their schedule and they work on a per-job basis. In-house photographers differ in how they are paid. Since they are hired by a company, they work as a standard employee with regular pay and taxes.

Choosing between becoming a freelance or in-house event photographer is really up to what kind of work arrangement you prefer. Once decided, continue working on the following preparations.

Create a Portfolio

Create a Portfolio

A portfolio is one of the key tools a photographer needs to get hired. Whether it be online or printed, a good portfolio should contain at least three important elements: an album of best images, a short biography with a photo of your smiling face, and contact details. You must offer a variety of types of shots. Include formal and candid group photos, set up shots, photos of the corporate sponsor branding, and photos of people having fun at the event.

Always keep in mind that it is the job of an event photographer to visually show the success of an event. Start creating a portfolio if you don’t have one. Event photography is actually general and not limited to formal events and celebrations. Any kind of gathering can be considered as an ‘event’.

Advertise Yourself

After creating a portfolio, the next step is to market yourself and spread your work around. Marketing your photography services is a challenge because clients often look for someone with abundant experience. However, with a good portfolio at hand, it will be easier to promote your name. A portfolio provides an opportunity for potential clients to get to know you as a photographer.

Remember you are a business entity, thus your marketing presentation should indicate capability,effectiveness, great passion and attention to quality. If you consistently deliver these qualities to your work, your clients will appreciate you more and with word of mouth, and you will easily attract more clients.

One of the most effective ways to market your services and exhibit your work is through online advertising. A website and social media accounts are great platforms to showcase those compelling photos. Creating a website helps potential clients to know more about you as an event photographer and it will also serve as a point of contact for future gigs.

Practice Directing People

Practice Directing People

One of the specific skills to learn successful event photography is how to direct people. The key here is a thorough practice. There is always a degree of unpredictability during actual events. There will be times that event photographers are put into rough situations such as equipment malfunction, battery loss, unexpected changes in weather, and more.

Event photographers must be quick to respond to difficult situations and come up with solutions. They must also interact and guide the attendees, move around swiftly, and pay close attention to the flow of the event. Most importantly, event photographers must be able to capture the best moments of the event.

Set your Price

It can be a challenge for photographers to charge their clients an appropriate rate . The rate of an event photographer usually depends on the type and size of the event, and its location, factoring in their years of working experience.

The average rate of experienced professional photographers ranges from $200 to $500 per hour. It is best to set your rates low at the beginning then increase them over time but it also doesn’t mean setting your price so low that you make no profit. Remember you are a professional. If you set your price a bit higher, make sure to deliver matching quality services. It’s important to match your price with your value.

To give you an idea of how much the value should be, do research and find out the rates of photographers in your area.

Equipment to invest in

Camera bodies

Camera bodies

A camera body contains all the controls necessary to take digital photos and this is where you mount your camera lenses. Camera bodies, unfortunately, depreciate in value faster than other assets in photography due to rapid technology changes. So, as an event photographer, invest in a good camera body that will last. 

Camera Lenses

Every photographer should have two camera lenses, a 24-70mm lens, and a 70-200mm lens. The 24-70mm lens is a standard zoom lens that allows photographers to have a wider shot and a close-up shot. The 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens is ideal for different types of events as it has a wider range of focal lengths allowing photographers to achieve creative shots. 

Memory Cards

Memory cards with bigger storage capacity are usually more expensive, and the truth is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money buying SD cards with bigger memory. You can have two 32GB memory cards for a price less than that of a 64GB SD card. You may opt to buy either one of them as long as they have high write speed.

Camera Flash

Camera flash is vital for shooting in areas with poor light exposure. Use an on-camera or off-camera flash instead of the built-in flash to evenly distribute clean light to your subject. You can also use a diffuser.

What Should Your Focus be When Photographing an Event?

What Should Your Focus be When Photographing an Event?

The main duty of an event photographer is to capture defining moments and significant details in an event. They should take photos that tell a story and evoke emotions. These photos can be a guest’s reaction to an announcement, an interaction between families, or someone giving an emotional speech.

The first objective of an event photographer is to take photos that contain the basic details of an event like wide-angle shots of the venue (outdoor and indoors if possible), VIP guests or key personalities invited if any, speakers and panelists, action photos of the highlight activities or programs, audience, and more.

After gathering the essential photos, you may start taking creative shots and using vantage points. You can re-take some of your previous shots from different angles and modes. Also, take photos of the crowd or audience to capture the mood and energy of the event.

How to Select the Images to give to Your Client

How to Select the Images to give to Your Client

A photographer can easily generate thousands of photos in a single event alone, but not all of those photos will be submitted to the clients. Clients do not want to look at several photos of the same subject. Every photo should be different. Select the best image out of a burst shot, one with the best color and exposure.

You can provide them with raw shots and processed shots. An important reminder for processing raw photos is to not alter the images too much. Do basic adjustments as much as possible like increasing or decreasing exposure, saturation, vibrance, shadows, and contrast.

Avoid putting heavy filters unless your clients instructed you to apply blur on some photos. Ask your clients if they wish to particularly edit some parts of the photo. Keep in mind that clients pay you to deliver what they require of you so it is important to ask them if they prefer something for the photos.

Final thoughts on how to become a successful event photographer

I know everyone is thinking about how to make money by hosting events, however, there are simpler ways to get something out of this niche without actually going through all the hassle of actually hosting an event.

By becoming a professional event photographer you can get a piece of the piece with a lot less stress.

If you wish to become a professional event photographer, keep these tips in mind, and they can serve as a guide towards your successful journey. Remember, nothing beats experience as a teacher, so take a lot of gigs and learn from them. Also, no matter how rough the situation is, live through it with a positive attitude. These experiences will help refine and improve your skills and personality as an event photographer.

Once you’ve had a variety of experiences in event photography, determine which niche you prefer and work on that. Focusing on the niche you love will make your job as an event photographer more rewarding.

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If you enjoyed reading this article on becoming an event photographer, you should also read this one about how to get your photography noticed.

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Trafft Team
Trafft Team