Many amateur photographers would like to make a career out of their passion. They dream of becoming one of the most sought-after photographers who can command a high price, attain a celebrity-like status and simply make it big. But just like anything else, making it is the hardest part. A high-tech camera and a passion for the art of photography cannot instantly make you a professional event photographer.
There are some serious challenges you will meet.
Lack of experience
Covering an event is entirely different from any photo-shoot you’ve experienced before. The number of opportunities to shoot great photos are as much as the number of challenges you’ll face. Unless you’ve actually experienced it, you cannot simply underestimate the difficulties.
There will be a lot of nuisances. Not everyone in the event will be willing to join in the fun. Some would not welcome the idea of you directing them, a few will misconstrue your effort as an annoying and intrusive act. You will always be in the move. You cannot stay in one spot and simply wait for people to come your way so you can take their photos. While being constantly in motion, the elements changes as well, you’ll go to some parts where there wouldn’t be or there’d be too much light, so you would have to constantly change the settings of your equipment as well. You are covering a live event, so you’d only have one chance to shoot the most important moments, and you cannot afford to miss that one chance.
This is why you need to have some sort of experience covering an event. Ask any experienced event photographer you know if they can get you on board as a second photographer or volunteer as the main photographer for your family events. There is nothing more valuable than experience.
Landing a Gig
Once you feel ready, you can then market your event photography business. You would have to learn how to use the different social media to advertise and sell your services. You’d probably be over the moon when you land your first gig. Wait until your feeling of elation subside and you’d realize how much prep work needs to be done. From meeting and getting to know your clients, contract signing and surveying the venue to predesigning the albums, prepping the equipment and attending the rehearsals. There are too many things to do and most photographers usually devise a workflow which they religiously follow so as not to miss anything during the preparation.
Getting the Shots
Before a client hires you, he’ll tell you about the kind of event that you’d be covering and will probably make it clear to you the type of shots he wants, mostly about what and who to focus on. Whether it be a wedding or a corporate party, you should make sure you get the shots you were commissioned for in the first place. As an artist, you are given and you should have the freedom to show your creativity. However, as a professional you have to make sure you meet your client’s demands.
Make sure you maintain the delicate balance between your aesthetics and what the client asks for. Do not get too creative to the point that you and your work no longer makes sense to your client.
Telling the Story
When you cover an event, you cannot be happy with simply taking hundreds of pictures randomly without any artistic or narrative direction. Once you organize your photos, you should be able to tell a story using them. Take photos and organize them in a way that the album would tell a complete story of how fun or sophisticated the whole event was. Be an effective storyteller .
Being a People Person
Bring your ‘A’ game when it comes to socializing with the people attending the event. Wear something appropriate to the event and practice a subtle form of leadership. Smile and have a lot patience. You’ll surely need it when capturing group shots. Make sure your presence is known, without being annoying. You can probably chit-chat with some people during breaks or after the event. There is a good chance that you’ll find your next client or at least get the attendees to spread the word to other people they know about your photography services.