Taking Great Event Photos

 September 11, 2008

After spending so much time and energy to plan your event, you want to preserve the memory with good photos. Photos are also great to use for future publicity. You may not have the budget for a professional photographer, but you can still take good photos with a little know-how.

This week’s tips are offered by a guest tipster. Robert Kandel, a staff photographer with the Allentown Morning-Call in Pennsylvania, shares some of his professional tips to help you take great photos of your event:

* Take a variety of photos of your event. Posed photos-where people stand in position, look directly at the camera and smile-are useful. But candid, animated photos capture the moment.
* Get people in your photos. Get people who are doing things in your photos. Take photos of people who are actively involved in doing something. Try to get faces and facial expressions-avoid photographing the backs of people’s heads and bodies. If there is only one person in the photo try to have their face in the top third of the picture.
* If the room is large and the audience is small, create the illusion of a larger crowd by zooming in on the audienceto cut out the empty spaces.
* Take a photo of your display from a distance, showing it next to other displays or its location in a room. This is especially great if you have visitors to your booth.
* Smile–if you smile, the people you’re taking a photo of will smile too. Talk to the people you are photographing to put them at ease.
* Don’t be afraid to get close or take the photo from unusual angles to get a more interesting photo. For example, kneel at the bottom of the stage to get the shot you need of a speaker. Or stand on a chair or stool to get an overhead view of a display table.
* Provide headroom-don’t cut off the tops heads in the shot. Instead of trying to get head and faces dead-center, try to position them in the upper-third of a frame. Medium close-ups are good shots as well (framed from the chest pocket up).
* Keep an eye out for unwanted items in the background or foreground. Try to move anything out of the way, such as garbage cans, trash, cigarette butts or cans. If you can’t move the distracting item, such as a sign or rusting window air conditioner, position yourself or your group away from the object.
* Make sure any bright light sources are not directly behind the subject you are photographing.
* Take lots of photos. This helps to eliminate the possibility of people blinking or making a strange look in your photos. If you’re using a digital camera, you can always delete what you don’t want or need.
* Looking to hire a photographer with a very limited budget? Contact the art or communications department at a local college for the names of students who may be looking to build their portfolio.

Some examples:

Different viewpoints make a so-so photo more compelling:

Capture candid photos and facial expressions:

Pay attention to how you set up a posed photo:

Remember, most newspapers have their own photo staff and do not accept submitted photos. Plus, you never want to send unsolicited e-mail attachments especially files that are as large as photos. Always contact an editor or reporter first and find out their policy. There are other great ways to use your photos. Post the photos on your state association’s Web site, in any newsletters, state publications and send copies to Practice Public Relations so they can be included in the annual PEC report.

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