Here Is What To Look For In An Event Photographer


There’s no denying that photography plays an integral part of our lives.

Just look at social media to see how images have dominated the landscape of your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages.

But not all photographs are created equal.

And not all photographers are created equal.


It sounds like it’s common sense but first things first, if you’re hiring a photographer for your event, make sure they’re an event photographer!

Some photographers excel in portraits, others focus on food, while others do sports.


Let’s start off with a basic definition, an event photographer is a photographer who captures moments as they’re happening rather than setting up the shot and taking it.

Event photography is its own specialty and requires a different eye and attention to detail.

But what makes a good event photographer?

What skills should they have?

Why shouldn’t you just use your smartphone?

I’m glad you’ve asked because I’ll be covering those questions plus more in this post on choosing an event photographer!


Qualities Of A Good Event Photographer

When hiring an event photographer, the first thing you’ll want is someone who thrives on spontaneity.

Picture the last event you threw or attended, there was probably a lot going on.

It can be challenging to focus on what needs to be photographed when you’re the host.

Or maybe a friend took pictures on their smartphone (we’ll talk more about that later on) and maybe, just maybe they captured the perfect spontaneous shot!

That’s brilliant and lucky!

But hiring a professional event photographer helps remove some of that luck and replaces it with skill.

For example, a great event photographer will request a VIP list ahead of the event, so they make sure they capture the people you need photographs of.

They’ll also survey the event and begin to size folks up for potential photo opportunities.

But more importantly, they won’t agonize over the shot that was missed because they know that there will be other photographs to take.

After spontaneity, friendliness is my second recommendation.

You may want your photographer to be like a ninja and avoid any interruptions of the event flow, but it’s still important to have a friendly face behind the camera.

And there’s a lot to be said for having your event photographer engage with your guests.

They can help break the ice for shyer guests and make introductions by suggesting a group photo.

They can help ease a VIP who isn’t too keen on being photographed.

Next up is someone with excellent communication skills.

Your event has specific needs, and it’s vital for your event photographer to ask you a series of questions to make sure they give you what you want.


Who should I photograph?

I mentioned this above about knowing who the VIPs are and having a list handy.


Who shouldn’t I photograph?

You may have a list of people who hate having their picture taken, and you want them to feel at ease.


What are the photographs being used for?

This may seem nosey, but it’s beneficial for the photographer because your primary use will help dictate what they shoot.


Will there be an event coordinator to work with?

If you have a coordinator, they can help manage any group photos you want as well as provide details about specific opportunities to capture moments.


Why are you having this event?

Depending on the event, this may be obvious, but I think it’s still important to include because it gives some more insight into your needs.


What is the location/venue?

We’ll get to lighting in a bit, but depending on the location and venue, your photographer may need additional equipment to make sure your pictures turn out perfect.


Skills Of A Good Event Photographer

You may be wondering why I choose personality before skills, and it’s pretty simple, a photographer with mad skills and a personality that you don’t like won’t be a good fit.

But a photographer with a personality that meshes with yours and gets you is key to helping you tell your story.

Lighting is probably the most important skill to look for in your event photographer.

Here’s a fun little fact for you, photography comes from two Greek words, phos, which translates as light, and graphein, meaning to write.

Without light, there’s no writing, and there are no photos!

If you notice that a photographer’s portfolio is full of vivid and beautiful outdoor events and your event is indoors, they may not be the right photographer for you.

You’ll want to learn more for sure and ask for examples of their work.

I do believe that it’s possible to take great photography without a lot of fancy equipment, but indoor event photography benefits from having an external flash unit and diffuser.

While all cameras come in with a built-in flash, they’re often not enough of a burst of bright light to illuminate the subject, so external units solve this problem!

And to avoid red-eye and overly saturated pictures, a diffuser comes in handy to scatter that burst of light to the light and diffuse the harshness.

Diffusers are particularly helpful for event photography because there isn’t always time to perfect the lighting of the subject.



The film used to be the medium when taking pictures and it was a two-step process.

The first step was taking the picture and the second step was developing the film.

Now we take digital pictures and step one is the same.

But there’s still more that can be done to a photograph in the editing phase.

Most computers with photography software have an “auto enhance,” but there can be more to editing than just clicking a button to bring out all the nuances of the image.

And when you hire a photographer, you’re getting that editing time included in the price.


Creative Angles

The best way to keep photographs interesting is to use compelling angles!

This is especially true if the event is a conference of seated guests or a dinner.

It’s a great way to bring the energy of the event to your pictures.


Pros Of Hiring A Pro Versus Using Your Smartphone

iPhone has done a fantastic campaign called “Shot on iPhone.”

But did you notice that it includes the following “Additional equipment and software used”?

A smartphone can be a great tool to have to take pictures, but it won’t give you the quality you want or the professionalism you’re trying to convey, and it may require additional equipment and software!

I can also tell you that it can be difficult to capture someone’s attention when you’re holding your smartphone as opposed to a DSLR.

But let’s push all of that aside for a moment and think about logistics.

If you’re the person throwing the event, are you also going to have time to be the photographer?

And if you have a friend, family member, or employee take pictures on their smartphone, will they be solely focused on that task?

Or will their attention be diverted to other stimuli at the event?



Finding a photographer who specializes in event photography can make all the difference.

Focus first on their personality and professionalism to make sure it matches you and what your event needs.

Next, look to their skills in photography, lighting, and editing to help you make a decision you’ll be happy with.

Having the right event photos and hiring the right event photographer can make a significant impact on the success of your event.

Scot Maitland