I quickly learned as an intern here at D+P that the beginning of spring means the onset of event season. In the past two weeks, we had a ribbon cutting for a major science convention, a press conference for the launch of a new leg of the regional Circuit trail network, and a string of charitable food pantry donations in Chicago. And now we’re gearing up for the opening of the KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo & Faris Family Education Center at the Philadelphia Zoo in mid-April.
Event visuals make for great traditional and social media fodder. And even when publications can’t make it out to cover events, they’re often open to running submitted photos and captions, if you can provide a strong, compelling image.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer, and you don’t even need a sophisticated camera. Smartphone cameras produce photos that are a high-enough resolution for online sites and blogs.
Here are a few tips for capturing newsworthy event images:
- Get as close to the action as you can, and use natural light as much as possible.
- At a large gathering, get an establishing shot – an image that gives your audience a sense of the event size and scope and provides context.
- Photograph people from the front. [A picture of the back of people’s heads is visually unappealing.] And get close-ups of facial expressions, to relay the tone and emotion of the event.
- Take a mixture of candid and posed shots, for variety. If it’s a posed shot, ensure that everyone is making eye contact with the camera.
- Active shots, i.e. photos of people doing things, can help tell the story of your event.
- Don’t be afraid to play around with different angles and perspectives. You might end up with something really dramatic or expressive.
- Be cognizant of what is in the background of your shot, and take the time to “clean up” your frame. You can reposition people, move objects out of the way, etc.
- Avoid taking photos of people drinking or eating.
- Especially if it’s a sponsored event, make sure to position company signage in the shot, to help drive brand awareness.
- After you’ve snapped a photo, always jot down people’s names and, when appropriate, their organizations and hometowns. This is critical for caption info, and sometimes is a make-or-break for photo publication.
Now get out there and snap away!