Event Photography: Capturing your Audience

The first in a series of posts related to the specialized field of Event Photography       

By Karen Hendricks

Actions and emotions are always the focal points in event photography.  Similar to photojournalism, event photography strives to capture “the news” surrounding a brand or client, as it unfolds.  Just as breaking news offers no second chances, event photography is based upon the photographer’s ability to capture scenes that summarize the essence of a narrative, or story, about that client.  Event photography can refer to social events, performances, benefits, fundraisers, special events, sporting events or publicity events.  These are great opportunities to showcase brands or clients in their shining moments!

Shots of the audience are essential to event photography.  Several types of audience shots are often needed–consider the various uses these images will fulfill for the client.  For example, a wide angle shot at an outdoor concert will convey success to event sponsors (see example at the top of this post).

The emotions or reactions of an engaged audience capture the spirit of an event.  These shots can serve multiple purposes including distribution to the media, and placement  on a client’s website, social media sites or in marketing materials such as brochures.  These images are treasured reminders of a wonderful experience for audience members, as well as positive motivators for future audiences (see example below).

Cameo shots of audience members are also essential; consider a mixture of candid as well as posed shots.  Scan the crowd for couples or small groups who catch your eye and are obviously enjoying the event.

Given social media trends, there’s a greater need for excellent event photography than ever before.  The rise of Pinterest and Instagram, along with Facebook’s Timeline design, are all placing greater emphasis on photography.  And when photos generate likes, shares or feedback, they’re engaging customers with clients.

Photography goes to the very heart of marketing.  Remember the American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”  What better way to communicate value than through beautiful, powerful or creative images?

All images are © 2011 Hendricks Communications, taken for the Gettysburg Festival’s June 10, 2011 Straight No Chaser concert

More Inspiration: Check out the amazing event photography on the following websites:

MOOSE, Mayor’s Office of Special Events, Lancaster, PA

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

Gettysburg Festival’s Flickr Photostream

International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA)

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