Event Photography Tips From a Professional Photographer in Dubai

Perhaps a family member has asked you to take photos of a holiday party, or your best friend from school wants you to capture moments at their engagement party. Whatever it is, you’ve been asked to be an event photographer, and you aren’t exactly sure what you have to do.

If this is the case, don’t fret, this guide is here to help you.

So, keep reading for the ultimate event photography tips from a professional photographer in Dubai.

1. Assemble the right gear

First and foremost, you want to make sure you have the appropriate gear to get the shots you need.

The most essential piece of equipment is your camera body, and the right one to use is going to depend mainly on the space you are shooting. For example, if you are shooting in an indoor venue, a low light camera is the most suitable as it will have more sensitive sensors and produce less noise at higher ISO levels.

For outdoor event photography, a camera body that shoots a higher number of frames per second is generally recommended. Keep in mind that whatever camera body you choose, you want to ensure it is light enough for you to carry it around for hours at a time. And don’t forget to include several large memory cards in your camera bag.

The lenses you take with you are also vital to shoot excellent event photography. If you are shooting in a low-light situation, you don’t want your lens to have a higher f/stop than 2.8.

If you have these in your collection, always opt for a  prime, or any other high-end lens. These create significantly sharper and clearer images, while also being quicker at snapping photos.

Finally, you may want to bring portable artificial lighting so you can always brighten up the space when you need to. And, of course, bring extra batteries!

2. Always shoot in RAW

If this is your first time being a photographer for events, it is crucial that you switch your camera settings to help you get the highest quality shots.

For these types of photography sessions, always make sure you are shooting in RAW format. When you take photos in RAW format, the camera records all data from the sensor, providing you with the highest possible quality image. By having all of this data, you are better positioned to do effective post-editing work as it is easier to correct exposure, colors, and tones with complete data.

Keep in mind that shooting in RAW format does take up more space on your memory cards, which is why it is so important to have multiple back-ups, just in case.

3. Create a shot list

One of the hardest parts of event photography is making sure that you capture all the different event elements. After all, this is what the host would want. However, with so much going on around you, it can be challenging to remember what is important.

For this reason, most professional event photographers opt to create a shot list that works as a checklist you can refer to throughout the event. Whether you are taking photos of your sister’s birthday party or are capturing images at your company’s launch party, having a shot list will help to ensure that you get all the photos you want.

Discuss the shot list with the organizers to get a clear idea of what they expect from you. Ask them what types of shots they want and whether there are specific groups of people that they want you to capture together. What key moments are going to happen that they want you to shoot? And do they want styled photographs, candid moments, or a mixture of the two?

Generally, it is recommended that on your shot list, you include some wide shots that set the scene, closer shots that capture the attendees and their activities, behind-the-scenes images (if applicable), and detailed shots.

By creating a detailed shot list with the organizer, you can feel safe that you have on-paper proof of what you discussed and what is expected of your time behind the camera.

4. Immerse yourself in the crowd

Many people feel shy or self-conscious as soon as they see a giant camera. Seeing one can also be off-putting and distracting. This is the last thing you want because you want your subjects to feel relaxed and focused on the event.

Therefore, to capture natural photos from the event, you need to learn to immerse yourself in the crowd. To do this, think carefully about how much you are moving around the space and the manner in which you are interacting with people.

Additionally, wear clothes that don’t make you stand out but are still appropriate for the occasion. You always want to be displaying professionalism while not attracting too much attention. After all, you are there to document others’ experiences.

5. Hire a professional event photographer

As an amateur photographer, some events are too important to get wrong. In these cases, it may be best to hire a professional event photographer. After all, there is a reason that these experts are in high demand – they know precisely what to do to capture an event.

The best event photographers in Dubai already have all the necessary equipment, and they have the experience and expertise required to capture all the beautiful moments in an event and utilize creative angles.

With a professional shooting your event, you never have to worry about low-quality photos. You can be assured that the resulting images will show your event in the best possible light.

What’s more, you can sit back and enjoy the event yourself instead of stressing over taking the right photos. You need not be worried about balancing your responsibilities and can, instead, be featured in the photos, too.

Are you looking to improve your event photography skills? What do you find to be some of the most challenging aspects? What do you want to work on?

Let us know your thoughts and relevant experiences in the comments below!


American artist Shea Winter Roggio is a documentary and fine art photographer living in Dubai, UAE. Shea Winter Photography LLC provides documentary, editorial and commercial photography services, along with video, television and film production services, and retails photographic souvenirs such as fine art prints, canvas and frames.

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