Saving Lives

Tell Your Event’s Story with Compelling Pictures

Photos should tell a story. That means photographers must consider all the elements of good storytelling, including who, why, what, where and when.

The Who

The people and animals attending your event are the main characters of your story, so make sure you capture them in a variety of poses and candid pictures. Create a list of any dignitaries or VIPs and be sure to snag a shot of them before they leave your event. Assign a staff person to accompany the photographer to help with identifying VIPs if necessary.

Jot down important details about the people you are photographing to make sure your captions are correct. Include name, title, age, town/city of residence, and contact info for any follow-up (phone or email).

The Why

The “why” is the reason for holding the event. Photographing signage is a great way to capture this.

The What

Photographers need to capture the beginning, middle and end of an event, which means getting complete coverage of the entire event, including wide shots, details and close-ups, media shots, group shots and action shots.

The When and Where

Make sure you capture the ambiance by shooting the venue and show any relevant details about the timing of the event. For example, if it is an outdoor event, lighting, foliage and weather conditions will give a sense of what the setting was like during the event.

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Picture-Perfect Photos

Use these techniques to keep your audience engaged:

1) Keep Out Distractions

  • Zero in on the subjects
  • Politely ask people to move out of your shot
  • Crop out unwanted distractions in the background (while maintaining the integrity of the overall shot)

2) Follow the Rule of Thirds

The human eye is naturally drawn to a point about two-thirds up a page. Arrange your photo so that the main subject(s) are located around one of the intersection points circled below, not the center of the image.

3) Pay Attention to Backdrops

Taking a picture in front of a mural, entrance or sign provides excellent context, so make sure the backdrop is visible.

  • Make sure you have permission to use a business or organization as a backdrop
  • Position subjects close enough to you so that you can see them and the backdrop in the same shot

4) Find Interesting Shots

Getting good pictures requires that you move.

  • Get down on the subject’s level
  • Find an unusual vantage point—for example, shoot from an animal’s perspective

5) Keep Eyes in Focus

Eyes are what make your viewers feel a connection to the subject:

  • The subject can be looking directly at the camera or slightly away
  • After taking a picture, use your camera’s image viewer to zoom in on the subject’s eyes to make sure they are clear and in focus
  • Don’t worry if other parts of the body or the background are blurry—concentrate on the eyes

6) Use Your Flash

  • Make sure your flash is turned on
  • A flash can improve even outdoor photos
  • A bounce flash can be used indoors to diffuse light and prevent “glowing eyes”

7) Move In

When in doubt, get closer to your subject.

Get photos and details about these tips:

Download photo tips

More Lifesaving Resources

10 Tips for Shooting Great-Looking Video
Create a Call to Action: Digital Storytelling


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