What does an event photographer do anyway?

Becoming an event photographer is an exciting dream for many people. If you are the type of person that loves a variety of experiences, then you may have all the characteristics necessary to become a successful event photographer. If you are wondering what an event photographer does, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll help you answer that question in detail.

What does an event photographer do anyway? Event photographers are hired to take pictures of memorable moments at gatherings like:

  • Weddings
  • Parties
  • Anniversaries
  • Shows, like fashion shows
  • Sporting events

Since there isn’t much information available today on the Internet discussing the specific duties of an event photographer, we created this article to help you. Below we’ll discuss everything you need to know about an event photographer’s responsibilities, including

  • The duties of an event photographer
  • Types of event photography
  • The event photography equipment that you’ll need
  • How much money you can make as an event photographer

What are the duties of an event photographer?

Event photographers work at specific gatherings and capture what happens at that event by using a professional camera set-up. Some event photographers also shoot photographs to sell to other clients, depending on what those clients might request.

Event Photography is an umbrella term for photographers that take pictures to record memories at certain functions. Event photographers can specialize in taking photographs at a wide variety of events, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Local fairs, parades, and celebrations
  • Fundraising dinners or galas
  • Religious events and gatherings
  • Corporate or private party functions
  • Music festivals or concerts
  • Sporting events, including practices and games
  • Political meetings and functions
  • Store grand openings
  • Award ceremonies
  • School or college events

Event Photography Style

When shooting a function as an event photographer, you’ll be expected to utilize a certain stylistic approach when taking pictures. Event photographers typically avoid taking too many posed pictures. While some posing may be involved when the moment applies, like when somebody receives an award, often, you’ll be using a documentary style that involves candid pictures.

Your clients will generally expect you to document the gathering with your camera as the event progresses.

Some event photographers also perform other types of jobs for extra money, including:

  • Taking crime scene photographs while working with law enforcement agencies
  • Snapping stills used for films
  • Snapping pictures for newspapers also called photojournalism

Most of the above forms of photography involve the photographer being hired on a freelance basis. Opening yourself up to the above forms of photography as event photography will bolster your portfolio and also allow you to earn an extra side income.

Client Expectations

If you are hired as a part-time or freelance photographer by a client, then you’ll need to make sure you respect the client’s wishes and pay attention to everything that your client wants. That means you’ll need to be able to effectively communicate and understand the client, and create a business model that’s transparent to those who are hiring you.

Some event photographers also work in studios to earn a side income. Working in a studio means you’ll snap pictures in an environment that is controlled and typically work with models. For this type of work, you may be hired by a fashion company or magazine. However, this is an exception to the rule, and much of the work you’ll do as an event photographer won’t involve working in a controlled setting; More often than not, you won’t be able to control your environment.

Once you are hired as an event photographer, you’ll also need to take control of the digital or physical creation of your pictures by developing them. You might also need to perform some editing when it comes to finishing the pictures.

When you need to edit pictures digitally, you’ll be doing things like

  • Changing color schemes
  • Cropping
  • Improving the lighting
  • Adding or deleting objects in the picture

If you use physical prints, then you’ll need to know how to develop your film well, or you may need to hire somebody else to help you.

Some clients will tell you that they would prefer to edit their pictures. However, more often than not, the client will expect the photographer to clean up the pictures.

Now that you understand what the expectations are when you become an event photographer, we’ll discuss types of event photography below.

Types of Event Photography

There are several different types of event photographers. Below we’ll cover some of the fields that you can get involved in as an event photographer. Remember, as an event photographer; you aren’t limited to any one specific category unless you decide to place limits on your skills. The more types of event photography you specialize in, chances are, the more money you will make.  As an event photographer, you can specialize in the following:

  • Fashion show photography
  • Wedding photography
  • Sports photography
  • Music festival photography

Fashion Show Photography

The responsibilities of a fashion photographer include:

  • Taking pictures of specific apparel
  • Photographing accessories
  • Shooting fashion models
  • Working with stylists and fashion designers

Fashion photographers can:

  • Perform freelance work
  • Be hired by a fashion designer
  • Be hired by a fashion publication
  • Work with a fashion magazine

When working as a fashion photographer, you’ll want to achieve a certain aura with your pictures that represent the nature of beauty and style. When you work as a fashion photographer, your duties will include things like:

  • Communicating with stylists
  • Working with fashion designers to represent their brand
  • Setting up a photoshoot
  • Running the photoshoot

Wedding Photography

As a form of event photography, wedding photography tends to be very specialized. Since one’s wedding day is one of the most important and most memorable times of a person’s life, wedding photographers have to respect the need to take wonderful pictures. That way, the couple can remember their special day years down the road. As a wedding photographer, you’ll need to capture important moments with innovative, candid shots during the wedding and reception.

Before taking any wedding pictures, you’ll need to communicate with your clients for several months before the couple gets married. By knowing what your clients enjoy and comprehending their likes and interests, you’ll gain a better perspective about the couple’s vision as a team. By communicating well and comprehending what the couple wants, you’ll be able to grasp the couple’s ultimate vision on their wedding day. After you agree on the details with the couple, you’ll need to sign an agreement between yourself and the couple.

Once the wedding day is finished, you’ll need to process and produce your wedding pictures as rapidly as possible. After that’s done, you’ll meet with the couple to discuss the images. That way, you’ll finalize all of the order details. As a wedding photographer, you’ll have to offer an excessive amount of customer service and communication to succeed in this field. You’ll also need to learn how to understand the couple’s wants and needs before the wedding day so that you can succeed each time you photograph a wedding.

Sports Photography

Sports photographers take pictures of both sporting events and the athletes that are present. Some sports photographers handle large events and obtain VIP access for their photography sessions. That typically provides the photographer with access to the best areas to see the action and capture the sporting event with their cameras.

Most sports photographers capture pictures for editorial reasons. That means many sports photographers work for places, including magazines and newspapers. Some sports photographers work for advertising agencies, however, that utilize athletes to promote a sport or an item. Most sports photographers are employed full-time to work with their sporting teams. On the other hand, there are a few freelancers that work in sports photography, too.

Depending on what type of sport a sports photographer covers, working conditions can be different. Some sports photographers will only take pictures of athletes, while others will only take pictures of games taking place. If you decide to get involved in taking pictures of live actions sports, then you’ll need to develop a good deal of confidence and experience to become successful in this line of work.

Sports photographers must learn to adjust to series of items as they shoot photographs. So, becoming a sports photographer does require much experience and plenty of photographic knowledge. Since you’ll most likely be shooting live events and live action shots, you’ll need to know how to adjust your photos on the fly so that you can reproduce the moment effectively with your camera. You may also have specific limitations placed on you by the venue that you’ll need to work around.

The size of the venue you are at as well as the enthusiasm of the crowd are other factors that can play into sports photography. You may need to adjust your style if you are shooting in a larger or smaller venue, for example. Also, if the crowd is overly excited and rowdy, you may need to adjust for their enthusiasm as you shoot, because they may push into your shots or distract from the main point of your photos.

Music Festival and Concert Photography

Many event photographers also take pictures at music festivals and concerts. Music festival and concert photography involves being confident when taking live action pictures. That means more experienced event photographers usually shoot at musical events, because more knowledge and experience is required to produce excellent shots when photographing an event like this.

When it comes to shooting music festivals and concerts, you won’t be able to use a one-size-fits-all approach to every shoot that you perform. How you should approach your photography can depend on many things, including:

  • The genre of music
  • The quality of the lighting at the venue
  • How large the venue is
  • How rowdy or excited the crowd acts
  • Possible photographic regulations that the band or venue puts on the photographer.

All of these above issues can vastly influence how you approach shooting the band and crowd during the event. So, you’ll need to utilize a good deal of communication prior to the event’s occurrence. By doing that, you’ll be able to gauge what the venue’s expectations are, and what the band’s expectations are for the photoshoot.

Becoming a live music photographer is an attractive and lucrative career, but it also means that you’ll need to learn how to adjust to things on the fly. While the profession is attractive, no matter how much you prepare for your upcoming live music photoshoot, things can drastically change and vary. You’ll need to learn how to adjust and adapt to a wide variety of difficult issues during the show, including:

  • Difficult lighting that can vary drastically with color and brightness
  • Musicians that are moving rapidly around the stage
  • A large crowd of individuals pushing into the sightlines and winding up in the shots.

A photographer that shoots live musical events needs to convey the massive unfiltered energy that both the band and crowd produce during a live performance. As a music photographer, you’ll want to grasp the character and personality of the band’s live performance as they depict their music on stage. Your shots should be able to reproduce and represent what it would have been like to be a member of the crowd for those that were not able to attend the show.

Live music event photographers wind up shooting pictures at various venues, including places like:

  • Basements
  • Stadiums
  • Concert venues
  • Dive bars

Because the nature of musical venues themselves can vary so dramatically, so can the way you shoot particular events to capture the band’s character. Live music photography requires the ability to think on the fly and problem solve quickly. Plus, you’ll need to have a good deal of creativity and a solid understanding of how to use your photography skills to capture the best shots.

Necessary Equipment for Event Photographers

Event photography requires particular equipment, and much of that depends on what the client asks for before the event. So, as an event photographer, you’ll need to ask several important questions to understand what you’ll need to bring. Still, there is a basic equipment list we can provide to you to help you get and started with your event photography necessities.

As an event photographer, you won’t need to worry about purchasing a ton of expensive, fancy equipment. Hopefully, that comes as a relief. To work as an event photographer, you’ll need some type of DSLR or mirrorless camera that has interchangeable lenses. It’s best if you have a zoom lens as well because it’ll add more diversity to your shots. You should also consider purchasing a camera and lens that does well in low lighting since you won’t always be able to utilize your flash.

So, for most standard types of event photography, you’ll need the following:

You may also need to bring along step and repeat photography equipment depending on what types of photography you are performing. If the event requires you to have a photo backdrop and lighting for a step and repeat photo booth, then you’ll need to bring along extra equipment. However, some clients will provide the backdrops for these events. Either way, you’ll need to communicate well with your client, so you can figure out his or her needs before you attend the event.

If you are required to use step and repeat photo booth equipment, then you’ll need some of the following items:

It’s a good idea to bring along two of each item. That way, if one of your items fails to work properly, you have a back-up for the event. Remember, preparation is key when it comes to success as an event photographer, and back-up equipment is a must because you won’t get a second chance to repeat that event and capture it with your photography.

Making Money with Event Photography

There are plenty of opportunities available to make money as an event photographer. That means it is easy to become a full-time event photographer if you use the right amount of professionalism and develop an awesome portfolio. Your location may also factor in how many events photography opportunities you have. For instance, if you live in a small town, it may be harder to find gigs.

To become successful in this industry, you’ll want to develop a great reputation since word-of-mouth is often key to achievement. Knowing how to advertise well can also help you. It’s a good idea to approach event coordinators to see if they need photographers. Networking will be key to developing your opportunities as an event photographer.

Event photographers make decent money. Most of them make about:

  • $100 to $250 per hour
  • $25 per $100 per final edited image
  • For an average birthday party, event photographers make $300 to $500.
  • For an average wedding, event photographers make $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Yearly, event photographers make between $17,000 and $78,000.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about becoming an event photographer, then you’ve learned that you have several options to choose from, including:

  • Sports Photography
  • Fashion Photography
  • Music Photography
  • Wedding Photography

Depending on your interests and your photographic style, you’ll be able to find the right type of event photography for yourself. Plus, becoming an event photographer can be a very lucrative and intrinsically rewarding career, making this a very attractive career.



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