Event Photography - Making the Best of a Tough Situation

Peggy Farren 2014-03-10

When I first started as a photographer, event photography did not interest me at all. Over the years my family portrait or wedding clients would ask me to photograph society or corporate events so I slowly added event photography as one of the services our company offers.

We have a team of four of us photographing events now! What I learned is that event photography is like paid advertising! As people get to know us and trust us, they hire us for all their photography needs.

I just got back from photographing a very nice luncheon event with a couple hundred guests. I photograph this event every year and we take a picture of the winners on stage. This year we had a winner who could not master the stairs so the photograph had to be taken right there in the middle of the dining room, with 200 people milling around, tables full of dirty dishes and white tablecloths (oh how we as photographers hate white tablecloths!). Tough shot!

Here is what I did: The first thing I did was to ask the wait staff to pull the table back as far as they could so I could get it out of the picture. I posed the people (ladies cross your legs at the ankles, not the knees) and took 3 quick pictures. There is all kinds of clutter and lots of people milling around behind my subjects. By the way, please notice I separated the people by the color of their clothing.

One more thing - when taking a photograph in an environment like this, it's really tough to get everyone to keep their eyes on the camera. I joke and tell them they need to look this way - it's all about ME! That seems to keep their attention for the three quick pictures!

Now, I'm not going to do serious editing on the photographs I give to the client, unless they ask, and of course, pay. I had to crop in an awkward place because - remember that table with the white tablecloth? It's not back that far. I'm actually on the other side of it. There just wasn't room to push it back far enough.

In event photography, getting the pictures to the clients quickly is extremely important so that they can get them out to the magazines and news outlets. So editing has to be quick and not too complicated.

Stars in the Arts Group Picture

On my finished picture, I desaturated the Exit sign and the lady in pink in the background left. I used the burn tool in Photoshop to darken the clutter in the background and a little of the ladies' legs since I cropped in an awkward place. If you are using Lightroom you can use the adjustment brush to do the same.

I then cropped in very tight and that's it. It's not perfect, but it's a decent picture under the circumstances. The clients will get their image quickly and if they choose, they can hire us to swap out the background later.

~Peggy Farren is the founder of Understand Photography Training Center. She has been a professional portrait photographer for over 15 years.

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About Peggy

Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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