We’ve all seen those event photographs on our Instagram or Facebook Live feeds. The shots of a plate of food, or a nameless group of people standing there smiling at the camera. Even if the event was a success and a good time was had by all, there’s often not much in these shots that evokes the true feeling or specialness of the event for your social media viewers. Nor is there much to entice them to return or join in the next time.
So how does an amateur, armed only with a phone, take photos that truly capture the specialness or spirit of an event? How can they convey that special “thing” that made it memorable and stand out from all the other events going on around town? Short of hiring a professional, learning the “rule of thirds” or loading up on expensive camera gear, there is a way to create those captivating photos that better reflects or sells your next event.
Find Your Storyline
Begin by choosing the story you’re going to tell in your photo montage. By using the term ‘story,’ we mean some kind an angle on your event, a single theme or visual element that winds through and unites the photos, giving them a kind of collective visual weight or punch. By featuring this one aspect throughout your photo montage, you create a kind of consistent visual story or narrative. But you need to figure out which storyline makes the most sense for your event. We suggest choosing any one of the following five visual stories.
Evoking Your Story
1. When it comes to putting the primary focus on people, try choosing only those whose faces consistently show the mood or feeling of the evening, such as contemplation or joyful celebration. Include group shots and close ups. Don’t include those who are clearly uncomfortable in front of a camera. By consistently showing a particular visual expression, you give great weight to that being the predominant feeling or mood of the event.
2. If you’re photographing a fairly routine event, such as a staff party at your office, then a colour theme can get you out of a photographic rut. Seasonal parties offer great opportunities to use colour, especially ones where ruby crantinis, Santa ties or bright red outfits are easy to find. Or for a corporate dinner in an visually plain private room, snap the corporate logo colours in your first pic and make that colour front and centre in all your photos, whether it’s in food items, art on the wall or someone’s purse.
3. Choose to show the event as if through the personal experience of one, or several, of the attendees. You can do this by taking your shots from behind people’s shoulders, or slightly behind and to the side of their heads. The side of their head or body frames the objects or scenes you’re photographing, presenting them as if seen through the eyes of the person whose (back of) shoulder or head you’re partially showing. It provides the photographs with a suggestion that the viewer is sharing in the experience of the person or people who actually were there.
4. Create your own photo theme using a piece of the décor (think balloons, logoed mugs, or the corporate party favours handed out when guests arrive). Use whatever object best represents the theme or mood of the event as a whole. Then make sure that object makes an appearance in most of your photos. You can ask people to hold the object, or use it some fun, unexpected way. Or try putting it on a table (with the object’s side visible only along one edge of the shot) and use it as part of the foreground that partially frames the people or scenes in the background.
5. And if you’re lucky enough to be holding your event in a unique space with stand-out architectural features, then make one a recurring character in your story. Flaunt it in your photos. Use it as a distant backdrop in panoramic event shots. Then use it as a mid-distance backdrop, with standing people or tables of food in the foreground. And, finally, sprinkle in some close ups of that unique feature, perhaps taken from some unusual angles or perspectives.
When it comes to unique spaces, we’re excited by the possibilities of Civic Hotel’s stunning ‘glass box’ lobby as a background. This vibrant social space boasts a modern, clean-cut style with lots of wood and hip furniture, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of Civic Plaza. It’s a natural when it comes to finding that unique event space. And it’s an easy way to help tell a captivating photographic story about your business or social occasion through your social media feeds.