Ep 227: How to photograph small, medium and large events for beginners and pros

Photographing an event can be something small and informal like a child’s birthday or family gathering to more formal like an engagement wedding, charity fundraiser, PR product launch or corporate event.

Photographing events looks and sound easy but this is probably one of the most challenging niches for a photographer. It’s often the first professional shoot a photographer will be asked to do.

In this episode, Gina and Valerie will give you an event photography survival guide with all the information you need to nail your next event shoot.

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Show Notes

Via Gold member Emma Mcpherson

There are the guests, the food, the lighting, signage and difficult Uncles to contend with and organising and lighting group shots

So with the holiday season approaching, I thought I’d create a holiday event survival guide with tips and techniques to help you nail your next event shoot.


This is the most important part of the event.

Don’t be afraid to consult with the client and suggest better ways to schedule and plan the event so you as the photographer are able to get better shots.

The client is focussed on how things look in real life and don’t give a lot of thought to how things will be photographed

  • time of day
  • space
  • overhead lighting
  • signage


  • Bride and groom want ALL the guests (200+) photographed in front of the church at 2pm
    Church is half shade half full sun on a main road and flat.
  • Group shot in a small room with low ceilings
  • Client wall is lit with 5 dirty big spotlights and downlights and made of high gloss material
    Looks good to the eye. Photographs like shite.

Ask lots of questions and get a detailed brief.

Write out a shot list and tick everything off as you go.

Give them everything they ask for and add your own interpretation of the day

Check you have spare cards and batteries are fully charged

  • Check and double check as you go
  • Shoot more than you think you need
  • Check exposure and focus constantly
  • Spread the load over several memory cards
  • Have a designated case for cards that need to be downloaded
  • AA and AAA batteries or rechargeable


  • 2 bodies 1 wide 24-105 or fixed fast ( 35mm) 1 long 7.-200
  • 2 x speedlights + Gary Fong or similar
  • Tripod or monopod
  • Small LED for detail shots
  • Small sling bag of a backpack to carry gear + spare cards batteries

Next Level

  • Additional speedlights for OCF
  • Ipad to view images
  • External hard drives

High ISO and fast shutter speed is your friend
Vary your shots tight, mid, wide
Room shots
Candid and set up shots
Little details help tell the story of the day

Candid/natural light

If it’s a daytime event and the brief is to shoot candid here are some tips


  • Go mirrorless and 35mm fixed fast lens
  • Watch and wait
  • Look for stages
  • Leave the mess in the background (these hold the precious memories)

Fast shutter speed
Narrow depth of field

Expose for highlights

Set up a few shots “just because”

Don’t be afraid to move people to better spots away from

Watch out for downlights

Adding lighting

Dark rooms

Use extra flash mounted in the ceiling

High ISO

Grey card

Gary Fong or softbox with speedlight

Shoot TTL and auto ISO

Balance ambient lighting and flash

Add ¼ CTO gel to speedlight

Next level

Bounce flash off white wall or ceiling

Control TTL flash power to avoid overlighting images


People shots

Shoot groups of 2/3/5/7

Move people to better positions

Tell group what you are doing

Check focus

Check shot for distracting elements in the background

If shooting wide step back to avoid lens distortion

Shoot 3- 5 frames to avoid blinkers


Group shots

What to say

Back up and name files

You are on show the entire time you are shooting, don’t be a dick.

Value add to your clients

Shoot video
Do a time lapse (Andrew Mac)


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About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE