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How to Become a Successful Event Photographer


Event photography people on dance floor

Becoming an event photographer offers numerous opportunities. However, starting out in this field can be challenging. To succeed as an event photographer, you need to take several important steps, including acquiring the right equipment and expanding your client base. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to become a successful event photographer.


The first step towards becoming an event photographer is to understand the diverse range of events that fall under this category. While wedding photography has become a separate niche (with it's own set of pricing), event photography covers a wide range of occasions such as birthdays, corporate activities, conferences, and award ceremonies. It also involves creating visual materials for wedding books, birthday albums, and promotional brochures.


To excel as an event photographer, you need a specific set of skills. However, there is no specific personality type required for this role. The personality of a photographer is often reflected in their work. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial attributes for an event photographer as they need to handle different situations and capture various subjects, including people, animals, cars, and products. Regular practice and preparation are key to success in this field.


BUILD YOUR BRAND: The first step to kickstart your journey as an event photographer is to establish yourself as a business entity. Define your personal brand by considering your mission, passion, and core values. This will shape your identity as a photographer and guide your career path. Gaining experience through freelance photography is a great way to explore different aspects of event photography and build your portfolio. It also provides an opportunity to network and secure long-term in-house positions.


PORTFOLIO: Creating a portfolio is essential for showcasing your work and attracting clients. A good portfolio should include your best images, a brief biography, and contact details. It should demonstrate your versatility by including formal and candid shots, as well as images that capture the essence of the event. Remember, event photography encompasses a wide range of gatherings, so diversify your portfolio accordingly.


Screenshot of Hazzard Productions event photography portfolio


MARKETING:

Marketing yourself and spreading the word about your services is crucial to attract clients. With a strong portfolio, you have a valuable tool to promote yourself. Online advertising, through a website and social media platforms, is an effective way to showcase your work and connect with potential clients. Ensure your marketing materials reflect your professionalism, capability, passion, and commitment to quality. Consistently delivering high-quality work will lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations and a growing client base.


DIRECTION & COMMUNICATION:

Directing people is a specific skill required for successful event photography. Practice is essential to master this skill, as real events often present unexpected challenges. Event photographers must be quick to respond, problem-solve, and capture the best moments. Interacting with event attendees and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera is crucial. Creating a friendly and relaxed atmosphere will result in more natural and candid shots. (We also like to capture moments that aren't posed. Capturing people laughing, talking, dancing & being natural always leads to some emotional imagery.)

Girls dancing and smiling at school ball

students smiling at their school ball

(Photography by Hazzard Productions)


PRICING: Determining your pricing structure can be challenging for photographers. Factors such as the type and size of the event, location, and years of experience should be considered. Research the rates of photographers in your area to establish competitive pricing that reflects your value and expertise. While it's recommended to start with lower rates and gradually increase them, ensure that your pricing aligns with the quality of your services.


EQUIPMENT: Investing in the right equipment is essential for event photography.

Sony cameras (A7iv & A6000)

  • CAMERA BODIES: A good camera body that can withstand technological advancements & perform well in low-light conditions is crucial. Personally, we shoot with Sony, but we also have used Canon in the past. We can't speak on other brands as we have not used them ourselves. We recommend carrying two camera bodies on a harness, both equipped with a different lens. (We use the Sony A7IV & A6400).


Sony A7IV, Sony 85mm f/1.8, Sigma 35mm ART f/1.4
  • LENSES: Additionally, having two essential lenses, a 24-70mm lens and a 70-200mm lens, will provide versatility in capturing different types of shots. These lenses are perfect for starting out, but we also LOVE to shoot with prime lenses. A 35mm f/1.4 & 85mm f1.8 prime lens are our go to. You get the best of both worlds with this combo.

  • STORAGE: Having enough storage will ensure you won't run out of space or miss anything important. Memory cards with sufficient storage capacity and high write speed are also important.

  • EXTERNAL LIGHTING: Utilizing camera flash and diffusers for lighting challenges will help you capture high-quality images.

When photographing an event, your focus should be on capturing defining moments and the overall mood of the occasion. Use the button below to see our entire list of equipment that we use when shooting events.


DELIVER A STORY: Take shots that tell a story and evoke emotions. Start with capturing the basic details of the event, such as wide-angle shots of the venue, VIP guests, speakers, and key activities. Once you have covered the essentials, you can explore creative shots and unique angles. Don't forget to capture the crowd and the energy of the event.

Crowd raising their glasses for a cheers at an engagement party

(Photography by Hazzard Productions)


CHOOSE ONLY THE BEST: Selecting the best images to deliver to your clients is a crucial part of the process. Clients don't want to see multiple photos of the same subject, so choose the best image from each set and ensure diversity in your selection. Provide only your best, retouched shots. Make basic adjustments without altering the images too much. Communicate with your clients to understand their specific editing preferences.


BOOKING SOFTWARE: To maximize your efficiency and success as an event photographer, consider using scheduling and booking software, (like the one we use.) This software streamlines your business operations, manages appointments, sends automated reminders, and helps grow your brand.


CONCLUSION: In conclusion, becoming a successful event photographer requires a combination of skills, equipment, marketing, and effective client management. By following the steps outlined in this article and continuously improving your craft, you can thrive in this exciting and rewarding field. Remember to stay positive, gain experience, and focus on your preferred niche to make your journey as an event photographer truly fulfilling.

Group of men dressed in suits wearing funny costume props posing for a photobooth photo

(Photography by Hazzard Productions)

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