How to be.... An Event Photographer

Last year we brought you Q+As on how to be A Theatre Producer and A Production Manager. Now, with the help of Simon Callaghan Photography, you can find out how to take brilliant, professional-looking photographs, even if you're an amateur! 

Here are my top 5 tips to hugely improve your event photography.

Whether you're at an event with friends, run social media through a phone, have a decent DLSR or hire professional photographers, I hope these tips will develop your skills to make a better set of event photographs.

Wait for an expression

When capturing people, wait for a smile, a laugh or a hand gesture. These happen every 10-15 seconds, so be patient and be ready to capture. A photo of someone looking happy or interested is really engaging to the viewer.

Give the subject context

There is a tendency to zoom in on people. I say zoom out. Capture where the subject is standing, who they are talking to or what they’re looking at. It paints a better picture of what the event was like.

Tell a Story

A simple story has a beginning, middle and an end. You want people viewing the photos to feel like they attended the event. So take them on a journey...
Beginning: Show what attendees see entering the event: the building, foyer, registration/ticket desk, drinks area. Pick out odd details like chandeliers or art work. Set the scene.
Middle: The purpose of the event; a speaker or performance. Try to take a wide shot that includes the audience to show the scale of the event, then some close ups for real details.
End: You don’t need many of these photographs, three or four at most. We want to wrap up our tale with images of the audience clapping, chatting after the event or even the final bow of the performer/speaker.

Now for some easier, quick fire tips:

Camera phones

Follow these simple steps for instantly improved phone photography
i. Hold the phone very still – even until after the photo is taken
ii. Click the subject to focus the camera
iii. Holding your finger on the subject, drag up to make the image brighter and down to darken.
iv. Don’t zoom in, walk closer. Zooming lowers the resolution
v. Edit your photograph


There’s no need to be a Photoshop wizard, but editing photos is like ironing your clothes or polishing your shoes. It adds that finishing touch to really wow the viewer. For this article, we’ll keep to simple recommendations of editing software. Some are free, others cost a little:
Phone editing: Snapseed, Instagram, Fotor
Computer editing: Lightroom, Picasa, Fotor
When editing the images – less is more. Adding small amounts of several adjustments will give you amazing results. Adding high amounts of one adjustment (say contrast) won’t look as good.

Putting it all together and you transport any viewer back to the event, like this five-day event at Brighton Dome: WMS Congress 2015.

Simon Callaghan Photography captures events and conferences in the Brighton, Sussex and London regions. To hire Simon & his team for an event, please visit or email [javascript protected email address]

Subject = person in the photograph. Viewer = person looking at the photograph.