Author: Jeff Chaves
We know the feeling. You were just asked (volunteered) to take pictures for that upcoming school event. You enter the info into your calendar and breathe a heavy sigh. On the one hand, it is a unique event, and you only get one shot at it. That always comes with some stress. On the other hand, it’s just one more thing to add to your busy schedule. However, don’t think of it as “chore photography.” Instead, think of this as an opportunity to work with your camera and a chance to grow your skills.
Do a great job by asking great questions
Once you get past the initial, obvious questions: Where is the event taking place? Is it day or night? Is this indoors or outside? You will need to find out more information to start planning your strategy. This will help you decide on a camera and lens combination and what kind of accessories you might need.
First, you need to know what you’re taking the photos for. Will they go in a publication, like a school newspaper or yearbook? Is this going to appear on a website, or are the photos going to be printed? These questions will help you know which camera to use. For instance, if the images are for print, you will want the highest resolution camera you can get.
The next important consideration is what type of event you’re going to be shooting. For example, if this is an outdoor sporting event, you’ll want a faster shutter speed and maybe a long zoom lens. If the event is a theatrical production performed under stage lighting, you might need a shorter lens and get as close to the stage as possible. If parents are going to view the images, they will want to see their child’s face. You might want to get a lower aperture lens and stage a few portrait shots with great depth of field. You can understand why photographers carry multiple lenses and cameras. You have to be flexible.
Finally, you’ll want to know if you need just a single image to tell the story, or are multiple photos needed? Is this for in-house use, or are parents going to view them? These questions will help you decide on what additional gear you might need. For example, if this is an indoor dance, you might need a flash so you can see faces. This will also help you know how much memory and battery power you’ll need for your digital camera.
Embrace the challenge
No matter what the event is, you have the chance to learn new things and sharpen your skills as a photographer. Any event can give you the opportunity to try out something new. Whether that’s a new filter, a new piece of equipment or a new setting on your camera, give it a try. Just be sure that you still focus on the event at hand. Don’t miss the one critical shot because you wanted to get that unique angle.
Before you go, it’s always a great idea to get out your camera and refresh yourself with its basic settings and functions. You might even want to review the manual. You also want to ensure you have everything you need and that you fully charge your batteries. Additionally, professional photographers are usually obsessive about cleaning their lenses. That’s a great thing to do the day before or the morning of the event.
Use the teachable moment
Another opportunity that may not have been considered is how can you use this experience to mentor your students? It may not be the place to bring an entire class, but there might certainly be a great setting for a few students who would step up to the challenge. They might also have some surprises for you. Students often come with a fresh set of eyes. They might get a shot or an angle that you might not have imagined.
If not a student, how about another teacher? This could be a great time to collaborate. If the event that you’re shooting is one that you’ve done for years, again, a fresh set of eyes might be needed. Is there a new teacher at your school and new to the area? They may actually be eager for a chance to connect. Or maybe there’s a teacher who knows more about cameras than you do? This could be a great way to increase your camera skills.
As the old saying goes, “attitude is every.” That certainly is true when we take on an added responsibility. The assignment can look like a chore, but you might find it is a blessing in disguise. Photographing that school event will allow you to learn new skills and maybe sharpen some old ones.
photography,photography tips,photography for beginners,event photography,event photography tips,wedding photography,tips for event photography,sports photography for beginners,event photography tutorial,live event photography,photography tutorial,photography tips and tricks,school photography tips for volume photography,learn photography,photography techniques,sports photography tips,event photography for beginners,sports photography