“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Clichés are clichés because they are true. Photographs can be potent storytellers. They can make people laugh, cry, despair, and celebrate. It all depends on the person behind the camera. The knowledge, skill, tips, and tricks of the photographer can help the final product convey the emotions of real life. No matter what the occasion is, the opportunity for creativity and expression is always present.
What Story Do You Want To Tell?
A simple but profound tip that will improve, and in some cases revolutionize, the kind of pictures you end up with is simply to stop and think of what you want your photograph to say before you click the shutter.
What is the story behind the photos? Is it the wedding of long-time lovers? A student earning a hard-won diploma? A reunion of a far-flung, multigenerational family? A block party of neighbors meeting for the first time?
When thinking about a picture’s message before you take it becomes second nature, you will soon discover the huge difference it makes in your work.
This is what you must keep in mind about event photography: the action of the day will unfold quickly, but the photographs will outlive the participants and last forever. This is a daunting responsibility – but not an impossible one.
Long before the time comes to take your photographs, consider the key moments you must capture. Imagine the story of the upcoming event. Focus on the important shots that must be taken – the first kiss of spouses, the moment when the graduate receives the diploma, the goofy behavior of close friends. This will help you capture images that will stand out in both message and composition.
Don’t be self-conscious about asking for help from the people you are photographing. They can help you orchestrate the perfect pose.
You will also need to be quick in most instances when it comes to events. Magic moments can happen in an instant, and you just can’t rewind real life.
Don’t Forget About the Light
Outdoors, photos look best when the sun is behind the photographer. However, even indoors you need to check what kind of light you are working with. Look at where the shadows are falling and how they are affecting your subject(s). Be careful with side light – it can be rather tricky. Side light can add drama to a photo, but it can also create extreme contrasts which could give you serious problems when it comes time to print.
What is exposure compensation? It is the ability to adjust the exposure of your camera as it shoots a photo. Exposure involves three components – shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. There is an exposure compensation tool on most cameras that makes it possible to easily correct a poorly exposed photo in small increments. The button for this tool is usually marked +/-. This allows you to adjust the exposure of your pictures in the negative or positive direction by either increasing or decreasing the exposure.
How to Adjust White Balance for Better Pictures
Most digital cameras can change the color information from their sensors to make up for the different colors from various light sources. This is basically what white balance is. This feature is usually used by artistic photographers to make colors “warmer” by intensifying the red shades or “cooler” by intensifying the blue. As a photographer, you can use this feature to correct the colors in your shots so that they come out much sharper and clearer.
When Getting the Right Mode Is Tricky
When your pictures end up being blurry, the cause is usually not using the right mode for the shot you are taking.
For instance, you will find that most DSLR cameras have four basic modes for autofocus. These are auto, manual, single, and continuous. Is what you want to capture standing still? You need to select “One Shot” if your camera is a Canon and “AF-S” if it is a Nikon. This mode only works if your subject remains at the same distance from you and your camera. That is the only way the photo will stay in focus.
If your target is moving, then you will need to use “Al Servo” for Canon and “AF-C” (continuous autofocus) for Nikon. This will keep your subject in focus even in motion.
What if what you want to photograph is not moving, but might move as you take your shot? Then you will need to use the option that merges continuous autofocus and single autofocus. This is the “Al Focus” mode in Canon and “AF-A” in Nikon.
The lasting story of an event is in its photographs – and the most memorable photographs start with a knowledgeable and thoughtful photographer. Why not you?