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9 Best Practices for Event Photography

Capture the atmosphere of big scenes like music concerts, art performances and athletic games. Event photography gives you a way to remember and relive big moments, for either personal or commercial use. As you bring your camera to a live event, have a strategy for shooting amazing quality photos.

 

Here are nine ways you can optimise your opportunities to get live event photos:

 

  1. Shoot in RAW format.

The main advantage of RAW is it retains all the image detail in the file as it utilises all the pixels on the imaging sensor. Exposure, sharpness, saturation and white balance can then be changed in post processing software without losing too much image detail.

 

  1. Avoid using flash and use a fast aperture.

Most entertainment venues are quite dark and taking photos from a distance can be a challenge. If possible to get the best shot in these lighting conditions try two things. First, get as close as possible to the stage and second use a lens with a large aperture. For instance, if you use the Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 wide open (at F1.2) then the lens will be able to gather as much light as possible therefore providing you with a faster shutter speed, negating the need for a flash.

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“Atari Teenage Riot,” by Tilman Jentzsch Fujifilm X-T1 + XF16mmF1.4

  1. Use fast shutter speeds for action shots.

If you want to capture an athlete’s gait or a singer’s croon, then you want to time your shot to the perfect millisecond. Use fast shutter speeds, even if that requires using a high ISO setting. For music and performance art shots that may contain noise from using a high ISO, try changing the shot into black and white for a timeless aesthetic.

 

  1. Illuminate with help from spot and beam lights.

Concert and theatre venues are often dimly lit, but you can use spot and beam lights for the brightness you need. Time your shot so that oscillating or flashing lights illuminate your subject, and see how different colours in venue lighting affect your subject’s appearance. Shoot straight into the light source for a striking effect.

“RedFoo,” by Tilman Jentzsch

“RedFoo,” by Tilman Jentzsch Fujifilm X-T1 + XF16-55mmF2.8

  1. Click, click, click that shutter. 

Your time to get photos is limited, and your attention has to be on the action. Don’t check your camera display after each shot to critique your previous image. Keep shooting and take many more shots than you think you need.

 

  1. Move with your feet, not with your lens. 

It is easy to feel timid about moving through a crowd to get the best image and to instead rely on your zoom. But no zoom makes up for a great angle, so move your body to the right shooting spot.

“Confetti walk” by Kevin Belson

“Confetti walk” by Kevin Belson, Fujifilm X-T2

  1. Show up early and stay late.

Another way to get close shots without a competing crowd is to arrive for practise or rehearsal. That is an easier time to approach subjects and to witness their candid and personable expressions.

 

  1. Know which moments matter.

Capture action from significant scenes. Get the basketball player dunking, not dribbling. Get the singer shouting into the mic, not waiting for the drummer to start the song. Capture the biggest moments for the biggest impact.

 

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“Samuele Zanella / The Two Romans,” by Tilman Jentzsch, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF16-55mmF2.8

  1. Take caution with photo rights.

If you want to sell your images from an event, then select images over which you have legal rights. Copyright law gives athletes, musicians and other public figures the right to seek compensation from you if you try to profit from their unlicensed likeness.

 

By following these best practices, your event photography will tell the best story from the big scene.

 

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