The best way to get those candid shots your customers want is to make your subjects feel at ease. For an event photographer, that's often easier said than done! Portrait models can be difficult enough, and “amateur” subjects will often tense up when they realize you're shooting them. To put them at ease for perfect shots, follow these six tips.
If you're tense, your subjects will be tense, too. This is glaringly apparent in portrait sessions, where you're constantly communicating with your models – but it's also true at events. Confident body language and a sharp appearance will go a long way in putting everyone around you at ease.
Here's where your camera skills will really come into play: Most people won't mind the quick appearance of a photographer, but a lingering cameraman can be unnerving. Before you approach a group of people, think about how you're going to line up your shots. Get in, snap your pictures and get out before they have time to shift their attention toward you.
You can make attendees feel a lot more comfortable by having a little fun yourself. Remain professional, but don't be afraid to mingle a bit – especially if you already know some of the guests. We all respond better to people we know, and you'll get better shots if your subjects don't see you as a “stranger”.
No matter how comfortable guests seem in your presence, you'll still get more candid shots when they don't know you're there. And, even when they do know, they'll be more at ease when you're far away. Just think about the weird dynamic a nearby stranger can create in an intimate conversation. Your job is to capture those intimate moments, so try to remove yourself as much as possible.
Ditch the flash.
A bright, repetitive flash is a surefire way to let people know they're on camera. You'll need one at times, but go without when possible. In low-light conditions, shoot with an open lens, use your highest ISO and turn on as many noise reduction features as possible.
Don't single out.
Shoot guests engaging with others, even if you're going to focus on an individual in the frame. It's much easier for people to ignore you when they're wrapped up in conversation. If you try to catch someone when they're by themselves, they're much more likely to see you and react.
Interested in learning more tips to grow your business? Download our free guide, “Best Business Practices for Event Photographers”.