My name is Rylan and I am a photographer for Fifth Avenue Digital as well as Imaging Workflow Manager, handling all imagery from acquisition to output.
Iâ€™ll be speaking about the technical aspects that go into the jobs and how to best achieve the ultimate goal- a happy client! Here are a few photography tips for a successful event.
This is my first post:
Those of us in the event photography market often learned early-on that the devil is in the details.Â Special events run like clockwork, not to infer they always run smoothly, but rather they depend on many gears of varying size and complexity, working in unison to create a finished product.
This machine, though, is constructed with human beings, flawed by definition.Â In order to pull off a successful shoot, itâ€™s imperative that you indentify the adverse variables involved and have your ducks in a row before opening your shutter.
Confirm shoot times and dates with your client â€“ in writing.Â Always in writing, so you arenâ€™t liable about what everyone thought they said or heard.Â Event photographers always need to have it in writing!
The gear: Itâ€™s important to remember that your tools are of no use to you if theyâ€™re left on the shelf in your bedroom.Â We all know how easy it is to leave behind an essential piece of gear.Â I combat this risk by packing the night before.Â This grants me a safety cushion so a last-minute addition may come to me at any time â€” or after reviewing the event parameters.
Aside from your default gear bag (body, zoom, flash, cards), you may need to bring supplemental pieces along to suit your clientâ€™s needs.Â For speaking engagements, youâ€™ll need a fast telephoto lens.Â For dĂ©cor shots, youâ€™ll want to pack your tripod and perhaps an ultra-wide angle lens.Â In events with a lot of movement (such as runway shows), a turbo battery pack will help keep you up to speed.
The universal tool: the AA battery. This is the one piece in your equipment tool box that will always be in demand. No matter how measured your approach, youâ€™ll never know exactly how much power youâ€™ll need, so bring extra!
Directions: Before stepping out the door, print detailed directions to your event, or at least bring a GPS-enabled phone.
Arrival time: A cardinal rule in event photography is to always arrive early.Â Thereâ€™s a very thin line between on time and late, and late is the fastest track to a bad first impression.
Onsite contact: Once youâ€™ve arrived, first things first: locate your onsite contact.Â A face-to-face with your contact is a valuable chance to run through the event schedule, identify VIPs and to discuss any last-minute changes, while you still have their undivided attention.
Onsite assistants: If you have a lot of VIP coverage ahead of you, donâ€™t be afraid to ask for an intern or staff member to wrangle the VIPs for you.Â Gaining assistance from somebody familiar with the VIPs will make your impromptu group shots more efficient and save you a lot of hassle and stress.
Small necessities: Now that youâ€™ve appeased the client by showing them youâ€™re up to speed, itâ€™s time to help yourself by finding the bathroom, finding water and finding the chef.Â These elements will sustain you throughout the event.Â A good rapport with the chef or lead caterer will always work in your favor, especially for full-day marathons.
Organize:Â As an event Photographer, youâ€™ll know you will need to familiarized yourself with the venue and the key players, youâ€™ll need to stash your gear bags somewhere.Â Youâ€™ll want to find a spot thatâ€™s both accessible and out of view, if possible, although weâ€™re usually forced to compromise between the two.Â With your bag in place, unpack your gear, assemble it and load fresh batteries.
Always carry as many batteries and memory cards as possible while still remaining comfortable.Â I keep my fresh batteries in one pocket and reserve another pocket for the used.Â Itâ€™s helpful to keep this arrangement consistent from event to event, as not to confuse the pockets and fumble batteries when a quick switch is imperative.Â Â Nowâ€™s a good time to take a few test shots to confirm your gear is in order, and keep an eye out for your VIPs and make sure your photography for the event is all ready to go .
At this point, all your preparation winds down and youâ€™re ready to set your best laid plans into action.Â Things will go wrong, as is the nature of such dynamic, spontaneous environments.Â This capricious nature is where your planning turns priceless.Â With the correct portions of time, practice and foresight, you can bridle such untamed environments on your own terms.