So have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an event photographer?
It can be exciting, it takes you to new places you’ve never been before, you get to hear high profile speakers and even meet the odd celeb! So what’s the catch I hear you saying? You can expect 12-15 hour shifts with no breaks, the kit bag is around 14kg (2 stone ish) and most jobs are away from home so expect a long journey before / after and then a 12-15 hour edit of the photos when you get home.
I often get asked if I’ve photographed many famous people at events the answer is yes; over the years I’ve photographed Princess Anne, Nick Hewer (from the Apprentice), Jo Malone (candles, scents), Sir Dave Brailsford (head of Team Sky). Meera Syal (actress from Meet the Kumars), Nadia Sawalha (Loose Women) and lots former Olympians. I see this as a real privilege of the job and I really enjoy it.
On the flip side there are tough aspects to the job. The long hours can be full on and at times painful, I train in the gym to make sure I’m fit enough for the job, but sometimes after 15 hours your body has had enough lol! I find having my diet for the day in someone else’s hands challenging, I prefer to eat healthily and some events the catering is fantastic, but at others it’s very chip, biscuit and triangle sandwich heavy, which isn’t ideal for sustaining ones energy for the day.
When I photograph an event I’m telling a story, the story for me starts with “where are we”, I make sure the venue exterior features in my pictures, who are the “cast” I make sure all the main speakers are thoroughly covered. Behind the scenes making this all happen are usually an event company or team and the AV crew, if I’m present for the set up it’s really nice to be able shoot that process e.g. is there a makeup room, have the crew been set dressing? Getting those images can be really handy for those event people afterwards to show what really goes on to make the whole thing happen! During the event itself getting images behind the AV desks can also set the scene really well.
Post event the edit can be a long slog, the time pressure is on from the client and you can expect a lots of emails asking for the photos. So the key is I make sure before a really big event I have food in the house, it’s tidy, no chores are outstanding, so when I get back I can literally jump straight into the edit suite with no distractions. When the client does receive the photos, it’s always lovely getting that positive feedback and it’s great seeing them used on social media/collateral and their websites.
Lastly the most important quality when being an event photographer is listen carefully to your brief, keep checking it all day long, get a good rapport with the client, when you do need to move around an auditorium make your movements as discreet as possible and just be really nice to everyone.