Taking event photos in group settings can be challenging for an iPhone photographer, but capturing events can also be very rewarding. We’re not talking about photographing an event as a professional photographer, where you’ll be working with a shot list, an expensive camera, and high levels of stress. Nope. We’re talking about capturing events with your iPhone for fun. You don’t have to be an expert to take amazing event photos of memorable experiences.
Types of event photography
Event photography captures special occasions for work or pleasure and includes any photos that you take of guests, the setting, special moments, and the main attraction. Types of event photography include:
- Parties, reunions, and baby/bridal showers
- Graduation photography
- Corporate events like conferences
- Sporting events
- Concerts, dances, and theater productions
- Wedding photography
How to photograph events outdoors
Outdoor events are the easiest to capture with an iPhone because you will have better light to work with. Here are some tips for taking great event photos outdoors.
1. Use different lenses to capture the entire scene
In order to tell the story of your event, you will need to capture it from different perspectives. Using different lenses is an easy way to photograph small details and large crowds without missing a beat. Depending on your iPhone model, you’ll have access to between 1 and 3 lenses, but even if you only have a single lens, you can purchase external lenses to make your iPhone more versatile. Here are the lenses we’d recommend, along with how to use them:
- Telephoto lens: Best for capturing details and close-ups of speakers, musicians, and individual people. If your iPhone doesn’t have a telephoto lens, we recommend this external telephoto lens from Moment.
- Wide angle: This is the standard camera view available to all iPhone users. It’s extremely versatile and can be used to capture all types of event photography. You’ll still have to move around to find the best composition.
- Ultra-wide angle: This lens is useful for showing expansive scenes with large groups of people. This Xenvo clip-on wide-angle lens allows you to capture 45% more of the scene in front of you.
2. Try to keep the sun behind you
You can get some creative shots by shooting into the sun, but for crisp details and a well-lit scene, we recommend keeping the sun behind you when photographing events. This is the easiest way to ensure that your photo isn’t over or underexposed, and you’ll have a lot less editing to do if you pay attention to the light source when snapping your photo.
3. Be a visual storyteller
Before you head to an event with your camera, ask yourself about the story you want to tell. Make a shot list in the Notes app on your phone that you can use as a cheat sheet at the event. For example, if you are capturing the graduation of a family member, your list may include the procession, speakers, the class throwing their caps in the air, close-ups of your family member with other guests, and an overview of the setting.
4. Use a selfie stick
Selfie sticks aren’t just for selfies! You can use them to capture wide-angle scenes from new perspectives. This is especially useful when you’re photographing crowds of people. Shamelessly hold your selfie stick above your head for fun, unpredictable shots. This selfie stick extends 40 inches and comes with a remote shutter for taking photos.
5. Use Burst mode when capturing dynamic scenes
For capturing fast action in your event photos, Burst mode is indispensable. It’s great for photographing groups where everyone is moving, sporting events, and even special moments at birthday parties and showers. If there is movement, use Burst mode so you don’t miss anything. To use it, hold your finger on the shutter and pull to the left. You can choose your favorites from the series later.
Indoor event photography tips
Indoor event photos may be challenging to capture with an iPhone, but if you have strong artificial lighting, you will be able to get some decent shots. Here are some tips for capturing indoor event images that stand out.
1. Turn off the sound on your iPhone
Unless you have an important reason for keeping your phone on during an event, put it in silent mode. The button for silent mode is on the left side of your phone. This turns off the artificial shutter sound your phone makes when taking a photo, in addition to silencing any notifications, texts, or ringing. It’s quick and easy to do, and it ensures that you aren’t annoying anyone while snapping photos.
2. Use Night mode if you have it
If your iPhone is equipped with Night mode, it will be automatically turned on in low-light situations. Night mode uses a combination of behind-the-scenes tools to make low-light situations appear brighter, but it’s not fool-proof. Continue to seek out good lighting as you practice your event photography.
3. Put your phone on a tripod
There is no question that using a tripod will drastically improve your iPhone photos. The question is whether you want to deal with using a tripod while photographing your event. A small, flexible tripod can fit into the smallest camera bag and will reduce camera shake, making your photos sharper, especially in low light.
4. Adjust and lock your exposure before tapping the shutter
You can ensure that your photos are properly exposed and in focus simply by holding your finger on the focal point of your screen for a few seconds. Once you’ve locked your focus, you can move the slider exposure up to make it brighter or down to make it darker.
5. Use a telephoto lens to be less obtrusive
Indoor events often feel a bit more formal, and it can sometimes feel weird to be pointing your phone in people’s faces while taking event photos. A telephoto lens allows you to capture more candid shots of event attendees without putting them on the spot. It’s also great for capturing speakers on stage when you have less-than-perfect seats.
Should I use my flash for event photos?
When shooting events with your iPhone, indoors or out, you should never use your built-in flash. Not only will using a flash annoy other attendees, but the quality of your photos won’t be improved with a flash. Instead, look for other ways you can improve the lighting in your photo. Move closer to natural or artificial light sources, use Night mode, or adjust the exposure on your phone — whatever it takes to avoid the flash.
How to shoot a live music event
Concert photography is a special type of event photography where you will be focusing on capturing musicians and groups of people in a fun and festive atmosphere. There are plenty of opportunities for creative camera angles, but there are also bound to be some tricky lighting conditions. Here are our top tips for iPhone concert photography.
1. Get close to the stage
The closer you are to the stage, the better chances of a stellar shot. This is where you’ll find the best lighting and the best views. And you don’t have to be a young, enthusiastic fan to make your way to the front of the stage. If roaming around is allowed, go for it. But if you are required to stay in your seat, splurge for the best you can afford and use a telephoto lens.
2. Use an ultra-wide lens to take images of the entire scene
The musicians may be the main attraction at concerts, but you’ll find great photo opportunities wherever you look. If you have an ultra-wide lens, it can be great for shots of the crowd or other expansive compositions. Even a standard wide-angle lens will work in most situations.
3. Don’t forget to capture the crowds
Enjoy the music but don’t keep your eyes, or your camera, glued to the stage. Concert crowds give you a unique opportunity to capture people who are engaging with the music in all kinds of different ways. From the mosh pit at a rock concert to the dance floor at a local bar, you never know what kind of photo opportunities you’ll come across. How do you take photos of crowds? With Burst mode!
4. Use a telephoto lens to capture the musicians on stage
We’ve already discussed using a telephoto lens for various purposes in your event photography, but using one to capture musicians at a concert might just be the best use of your telephoto lens. Unless you are standing right under the stage, your iPhone is unlikely to capture many details of the musicians. A telephoto lens, however, gives you so many more options. Use your iPhone’s telephoto lens if you have one, or utilize an external lens. But whatever you do, don’t use your phone’s digital zoom, as it will degrade the quality of your photo. This gives you plenty of options when people are doing a lot of dancing or moving around.
5. Get creative and capture the unique concert lighting
When taking photos in the dark, you’re not necessarily looking for details. Instead, you’re trying to capture a mood or a feeling. Concert lights are designed to do the same thing — evoke a mood or feeling in the crowd. Capturing unique lighting scenarios in your event photos also gives you a lot of creative license. Lens flares are welcome, as are silhouettes, washed-out highlights, and a bit of blur. It’s all about the feeling, and since you can’t capture music in a photo, this is the next best thing.
Event photography is a great challenge for any iPhone photographer, no matter your skill level. You may not ace every shot you take, but you’ll certainly learn a lot in the process, and hopefully have some fun too!