As we specialize in corporate event photography, we’ve learned the importance of capturing corporate event staff, speakers, and venues. But one of most enjoyable types of shots to capture and view are candids. For many photographers, getting those great candid shots can oftentimes seem like a matter of luck, or just being in the right place at the right time. However, by utilizing a few tricks, getting these fun and impromptu moments at an event can be easier than you think.
Get to Know the Event Schedule and Location
The best way to get candid shots is to prepare for every aspect of the event ahead of time. Whenever possible, scope out the event venue beforehand. This is a great time to see what each room looks like and check out which areas and angles offer the best lighting or backgrounds.
It’s also important to learn the event schedule beforehand. This way, you can be in the right position to take candid photos of key speakers as they step onto or off the stage. Knowing the schedule also lets you get ready to take photos of the audience’s reactions during or at the end of a speech or presentation.
This pre-planning makes it easier to find those candid opportunities, as you can simply shoot from previously scoped out locations at the right times.
Utilize Meet and Greets or Signings
The specific activities that take place during an event depend on the type of event, but most corporate events have signings, meet and greets, or moments when a speaker steps off the stage to talk to people in the audience. These activities can offer some excellent spontaneous moments. And as mentioned above, knowing when these are set to occur, and being in position to capture them, will bring forth many opportunities.
Look for Reactions and Emotions
The best candid photos are often those where people are laughing, talking together, or listening intently to a speaker. During the event, take a few moments to scan the room and look for people who are reacting to a speaker or expressing emotion at what is being said. You’ll be surprised at how fruitful this is and how this simple proactive approach will provide ample candid shots.
When you’re photographing a corporate event or party, consider the context of your photos and how they’ll showcase that brand. If you can get a sign or other branding material into the photo, you’ll be telling a cohesive story with your pictures and tying the entire event together. Many photos from corporate events are used on business websites, so when you’re taking pictures, think about what these pictures should say about the brand and how they’ll reflect on the company. But when you attempt to include branding in these candids, don’t lose sight of the candid moment itself, as those moments are over as quickly as they appeared. It is better to capture that candid, and position yourself to get another one with branding included, later during the event.
Photo shoots for businesses, even when they include pictures of people having a good time, can sometimes feel a little stiff. This is because many of these photos are posed. Candid shots, on the other hand, give an inside look into an event and make the occasion feel more vibrant and exciting.
To get the best candid shots, think outside of the box. For example, consider taking photos from across the room. This creates a more natural look and can often help you capture candid photos that don’t feel posed or forced.
You can also take a full room shot to show how many people are in attendance but thinking creatively can also be beneficial when it comes to group photos. If you can, find a higher vantage point to get a bird’s eye view. This angle can often help you capture the movement of the people in the room, making for a more dynamic shot. Conversely, think about getting a lower vantage point during quieter moments. For example, a lower angle sets a more intimate tone for photos of the audience and speakers during a Q and A session.
Read The Room & Build Rapport
You’ll also want to be thoughtful when you photograph people. Some people are perfectly comfortable being photographed, and they make wonderful subjects for candid pictures. Other people are a bit nervous or self-conscious when the camera turns to them, and they might tense up. Chat with your subjects to make them feel more comfortable or wait until they’re feeling more at ease. Staying unobtrusive can also be helpful—if people feel that you aren’t hovering over them with the camera, they’ll often act more naturally. Shooting in stealth mode with a 70-200mm 2.8 lens is perfect for getting shots of candid moments from a distance without anyone knowing they’re being photographed.
Be Flexible in Your Approach
Many photographers go into an event with a specific idea in mind for how they want their photos to look. But being too rigid can sometimes backfire when looking for candids. This is especially true in a setting that you’re less familiar with or when you’re looking to take more unplanned photos. Instead, be flexible. Keep your goals for the photos in mind but take photo opportunities even when they don’t fit the exact theme or look you had in mind. Photographing events can be a challenge, but you’ll have a much better experience, and achieve better photos, if you go with the flow and let the setting and situation guide your creativity.