Tip #1: Know everything about the event beforehand
Knowing who the most important acts on stage are and when they are going to go up is extremely important for you to have a successful shoot. You can get the most incredible shots through out the entire experience, but if you miss the most famous acts on stage: it’s a bummer.
Think about it this way, the ones who hired you to capture this event paid a lot of money for the biggest acts to get up there and entertain the crowd. They want their professional photographer to capture the most strategic angles, the best lighting, and to optimize their time based on the performance line-up.
You can always ask around to the attendees and get a feel of which performer most people are excited for as well and go chase and capture that energy.
Tip #2: Feel the energy
You are the hired event photographer and your goal is to capture content that will make people want to come to this event. The best way to do this is to put yourself in the perspective of an attendee.
What excites you? What are the things that separates this event from others? What makes it special? If you were an attendee, why did you choose to come to this specific event?
Answer these questions with your photographs.
Tip #3: Make sure you have your ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed set properly
This is important especially when it comes to getting those incredible night time shots. For starters, you want your aperture to be as low as possible at night, shutter speed at least 150 because you will be capturing motion so you shouldn’t crank it too low, and ISO as low as you can because the higher it is, the more grain. Above I show a photo of a fire dancer which I captured during Envision festival and the settings which I used to create that image.
This is just a suggestion, and we hope to see your spin on this in the comments
Camera Settings Recommendation: ISO- 800 ~ Aperture- 1.8 ~ Shutter Speed- 350
Tip #4: Shoot in continuous mode
It is extremely important to shoot in continuous during an event because when the moment comes, it comes quickly. The same moment can never be replicated and it tends to happen in a matter of seconds.
Continuous mode will make it so your camera rapidly clicks the shutter multiple times the second you hit that button. Another important reason to shoot continuous is because, especially while capturing night time event photography, the one and only shot you get of that moment could happen to be out of focus. If you have at least 3 shots you will feel a gust of relief after looking past that blurry photo of that moment you were hoping to capture.
Tip #5: The recommended lens is a nifty 50mm
However, you do not need this. I shot Envision festival with an 80mm. The goal here is to have at least one lens with low aperture settings. This is not only important if you are capturing the event at night, but also important to capture portraits of the attendees and artists during the day. A nice bokeh effect is always well-received.
Tip #6: Connect with the artists beforehand
Your goal is to get the best photographs of the performers, speakers, or artists. A big help to getting better photographs is to establish a connection beforehand. What I tend to do is if I have time I capture them a bit during their rehearsal so they see me as someone familiar when I photograph them up on the big stage.
In order to do this you must have a Media/Press Pass. Or if you have time as well, you can speak to them beforehand. Introduce yourself as the photographer. Trust me, they do not mind being photographed and many appreciate the publicity which you can provide them.