Business Event Photography – on your Smartphone!

30 killer tips to create impactful event photographs using your smartphone

Attendees perspective. Image by - ZebrafishDM

You have been asked to take business event photos because you share photos on your Instagram/Facebook account. Therefore, you must know what you are doing!

 

Argh, the pressure - it’s all up to you to record the event and make it look really engaging and enticing. Little do they know, you just lift the phone, tap the button and the amazing technology does the rest.

 

This article will provide tips on what to photograph and how to capture the moments. I have broken the tips into three categories:

  • Before the event
  • During the event
  • After the event

Before the Business Event

Smartphone specific tips

1. Use the rear camera

Yes, for those who take daily selfies – there is a much better quality camera on the back of the phone!

2. Turn off the flash by tapping the flash icon then Off

The flash is limited to a short distance and can be quite distracting to someone participating in the event

3. Turn on the grid lines

The two vertical and horizontal lines help you capture a straight image and place a person off-centre to also capture the context of the scene

Turn on grid lines on your phone
Turn on the grid lines
the rule of thirds compositional technique example image

4. iPhone specific tip: Turn on Live Photos  

You can now edit a Live Photo and select the still frame within the quick little video to capture the exact moment and avoid those eye closed images. Alternatively, hold the shutter button to capture a burst of images

5. HDR on auto

An acronym for High Dynamic Range, not high definition resolution! In real time your phone captures and blends multiple images to capture a higher range of light and dark in the scene

6. Tap the subject on the screen to focus

This tells the automatic smartphone camera where you want it to focus and make the subject detailed. It also prioritises how the camera will balance light and dark to create a nicely lit photo

7. Panoramic

The Pano mode on your phone is amazing. Remember movement in the photo can produce ghosting of people

Panoramic photo of a business event
Business Event Photos - make use of the Panoramic mode on your smartphone

8. Stabilise the phone

Hold the phone in two hands, elbows tucked in and ideally resting against something solid. This helps to prevent those blurry images that are often problematic in low-light venues

9. Wide-angle lens attachment

A quality wide angle lens attachment like the Struman Optics cinematic lens captures a wider field of view and gets everyone in the group photo

10. Zoom lens attachment

The Struman Optics 2X portrait lens allows you to get in closer for those candid captures. If you have a dual lens phone, simply tap on the 1X icon

Event photography planning tips

Planning for your event photos will reduce your stress and allow you to get the most out of the planned and impromptu photo opportunities

11. Visit the venue

If practical, visit the venue before the event at the same time of day. The provides an insight into the lighting to expect and the environment

12. Look for a large naturally lit window

If you are taking posed photos/video; such as testimonials – face the posed group toward the large naturally lit window. It is much more flattering than overhead lighting – we have all seen those bathroom selfies!

13. Get a hold of the business event schedule

Identify where and when the activities are going to occur. You don’t want to miss the essential shots. This is why you are getting paid a huge fee (or not!)

14. Identify the best angles

Anticipate where you can capture a clear photo of the speakers without a blocked view – are there locations where you can achieve some height?

15. Create a shot list

Consider your audience and/or branding to determine what you should be capturing and communicating in your images

The venue. Image by - Bannockburn Station
Find the best angles. Image by - Cari Rincker

During the Event

Now that you have planned – you should be feeling super excited and ready!

Don’t stress yourself out over all these responsibilities that have been thrust upon you. You’ve got this – have fun

16. Your demeanour

Be relaxed and move around slowly. Don’t rush and be stressed because it will reflect in your photos

17. Capture logos in the posed photos

Event organisers and sponsors can be a little precious about getting exposure for all the time and money invested!

GSBA Geelong Small Business Awards winner Innovative Business - Smartphone Photogrtaphy Training was known as Better Mobile Photos

18. Minimise the distractions in the photo

Clear table tops of tall wine bottles and move around to include a less busy, cluttered background. The people are the story in the image

19. Avoid eating photos

No one wants to see that!

20. Add energy to the photos

If there isn’t any energy at the event (we have all been to those) add some to your photos by intentionally tilting your phone to capture and angled photo

21. Capture photos where people are mingling

Avoid the photos of one or two people standing on their own. Whenever you capture a group – take at least three photos to avoid someone having their eyes closed!

Storytelling in photos - capture people mingling and in convesations

22. Capture a variety of photos

Take lots of photos, including the presenters, attendees, candid personal exchanges, distant, side and wide. Even capture closes up of catering and any promotional material

23. Take multiple photos of speakers

Select a photo without the mid-word gaping wide mouth and skewed eyes!

24. Look like you belong

Blend in with the audience in your attire and behaviour. This reflects professionalism, respect to the event organiser and enables you to connect with attendees

Blend in when taking photos

25. Communicate the Company brand

An outdoor activity Company would avoid indoor posed photos. They would prefer dynamic images of healthy living - full of energy and vibrant colour

26. Capture candid photos

Did you know you can take a photo using the volume minus button on the side of the phone? You do not need to hold the phone up in front of your face

27. Creative blur in your photos

Capture photos with a foreground and background at a distance to create some interesting depth and blur the background. Some smartphones have a portrait mode that blurs the background. You can also achieve a blurred background using After Focus app

28. Capture tables from a lower angle

Shooting a lower angle across the table fills the frame with people instead of the messy distracting table contents

29. Don’t forget the video

Hold the phone horizontal! When moving left and right, lock in your arms and move with your hips

Image by - ZebrafishDM
Image by - James Crook

After the Event

Double check with event organisers that attendees were informed and provided consent to having their photo taken at registration. The organisers may have a list of people who did not want their photo taken. This is a very real concern for some people who want to control where their photo is shared.

We live in a mobile world, where everyone wants to see the photos within a 24 hour period. Any longer and the photos quickly become less relevant. Capturing the photo on the phone, allows you to edit and share directly to social media and email – without having to connect to a computer.

All photos require some editing to become a storytelling visual image. I know some will argue that they prefer photos that are not edited. That is a debate, I will win another day!

30. Photo editing apps

We live in an exciting time where we are absolutely spoilt for photo editing app options. Snapseed photo editing app by Google (iOS and Android) is my go-to app for quick easy edits to more advanced editing. Touch Retouch, After Focus and Picsart are also saved on my home screen for quick photo edits.

before and after image using white balance amongst other editing techniques using mobile photo apps

Conclusion

To summarise the main learnings covered:

  • Be excited about capturing the business event
  • Become familiar with your phone camera
  • Plan where to position, and how to capture the event
  • Be creative and capture a variety of photos
  • Photo editing can really make your photos pop off the screen
  • Communicate the desired story, consistent to the Company brand

Mike James hosts regular group workshops, workplace training and is a sought after speaker at photography clubs and social media training events. Get in touch with Mike here.

These articles are a great resource to learn a mobile photography specific technique or tip. Your fastest transition to becoming the confident and creative smartphone photographer you want and deserve to be is a strategically designed course.

An impactful and engaging WOW image consists of a strong subject, composition and lighting. The real power and fun transforming the image is then photo editing. Recreate that story, feeling and intention lost in the photo capture by strategically applying visual literacy and mobile apps to enhance your results and passion for photography.

Click/tap here to learn more about the individual modules and reduced bundled courses.


Also published on Medium.

4 Comments

  1. Josiya on January 25, 2018 at 18:26

    great point, yes and thanks for explaining the focus lock “process” as this wasn’t included. I find locking the exposure is another great feature of using this simple function on the iPhone



  2. Mike on January 25, 2018 at 19:02

    How handy is it? I was so excited when I first discovered this feature and swiping up and down to change the brightness (exposure) Thanks for commenting Josiya



  3. Damian Smith on May 24, 2019 at 20:42

    Thanks for this cool article for useful tips in business event photos. It’s good to know that people are coming up with new ways to apply specific business objectives into photos. This seems very ideal, especially to get multiple messages across in different forms of media.



  4. Mike on May 27, 2019 at 12:58

    Thanks very much, Damian. It’s all about storytelling and communicating on brand.



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