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Event Photography Tips and Tricks (6 Shot Types)

Below is a List of your Main Shot Types when Shooting an Event

Establishing shots:

You do not need many of these. A few wide shots are essential to give a sense of place and establish scale at an event. I will typically shoot these at 17mm with my 17-40mm lens. I try to get a shot from several different perspectives. Shots like these can be each corner of a banquet hall, a wide shot of a crowd from

Close Candids:

These are the shots that really capture the emotional high points of an event. They can be shot in a variety of ways, but usually with a telephoto lens and a shallow depth of field in order to focus the viewers reaction on the emotion of the shot.

Candid Interactions:

Similar to close candids, candid interactions but provide context to the moment you are highlighting. In other words you can see the person or persons the subject is interacting with. You will typically want to stop down your aperture a bit for these to allow each of your subjects to be in focus.

Posed Photos:

Sometimes you will shoot posed portraits of an individual, but most of the time posed portraits are of groups of two or more. These are simple to do. Anytime you see a small group conversing, approach them with a smile and simply ask, “hey can I get a shot of you guys?” These should be shot at narrow enough apertures to capture everyone in focus. F2.8 or lower can work depending on distance, focal length, and how similarly distanced they are to you, but a rule of thumb I use is to shoot at f4 or higher to capture groups of three or more. I usually do not feel the need to go any higher unless the group is somewhat staggered in distance from me.


This can be a professional headshot or something more artistic. Once in a while, you may be asked to shoot one of a notable speaker or such. But usually, I’m shooting these for myself. It gives me an opportunity to work more intimately with someone, get creative in a different way than I spend most of my time shooting, and a fun way to build a portfolio.

Detail Shots:

There are many ways to shoot detail shots. I have shot these with a 24-70mm lens, 70-200mm lens, 50mm vintage lenses, 135mm lens and more. These shots will compliment your wider establishing shots to tell a story.

Details matter at an event. Organizers put in a lot of work to produce an event of any size with many details to show for it. When photographing an event put on to showcase a product, the product should be your focus. That said, be sure to get shots of attendees interacting with the product. You should always discuss what your client is looking for, but this will most likely be it.
Although a photographer’s job is in part to capture details, their focus should typically be on capturing defining moments. These moments tell a story and evoke a feeling regardless of the type of event. Every photograph delivered should be about something. It can be about an emotion, someone’s reaction, or an interaction between people, but there should be meaning behind each image. These highlights offer a window into what it was like to be there. Always shoot with intention and never raise your camera to your eye just to snap a shot. Event organizers and marketers do not need thousands of lousy images, they need photographs they can actually use. At private events people want emotion filled images that bring them back to a moment. Capturing the height of an expression can be a ringing reminder of exactly how they felt in that moment.

I have been a professional event photographer and photography teacher for 10 years. Follow the links below to see my work.


Instagram | @retrograding https://www.instagram.com/retrograding/

Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/mikmilman/

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