Photo Tips Friday: Photographing Special Events

by Mary Denman

Documenting special events 
Today's photography tip is learning how to photograph special events. These are special times in our lives that we want to document. Some special events are recurring like Christmas, Hanukah, or birthdays. Others occur infrequently like each child's graduation from high school. Others are once in a lifetime. A wedding or special vacation trip.

Photographing special events is fun. At least to me! It's a challenge to photograph small details and meaningful shots that capture the feel of the event.

What are some tips that will help? 

Let's get started.

TIP 1: Document the food. 
Document the food
Recently, my close friend Edie Melson had a book signing at Barnes & Noble for her new book. It was so much fun. She knows how to do it well. She had a give away going on. 

And decorations and a great cake, complete with her book cover! 

So, before we cut the cake, I got a shot to document it. Yes, it was really good! 

TIP 2: Take an overall shot of the venue.
Then, I wanted to get an overall shot of Edie with the cake and decorations. So I took Edie with her friend Alycia. 

This is one of the few times in photography where a cluttered background works.

Overall shots of the venue and event 
Why? Well, we were in Barnes & Noble. There are rows and rows of magazines and books everywhere. 

So, that creates a bit of "clutter" in the background of the shot, but it shows that we were really inside B&N. 

But, I always wanted a nice shot of the exterior with Edie under the outside marquee. Also, I thought the sign they put on her table documented where we were and why very clearly. 

TIP 3: Take closeups. Look for interesting details.
Closeup shot commemorating the event
I also wanted to show the reason for us being there. It was a book signing after all. 

So I took a shot of Edie signing a copy of her book. 

Then, I played with a filter and made her signature clear with the rest of the shot soft and blurred.

TIP 4: Take photos of the people who attend. 
Take pictures of the attendees.
Make sure you photograph the special people who attend. 

This is Edie with friends who came to get a copy of their book signed. 

Taking pictures of friends with the host or alone is a great way to remember those who came! 

Photographing special events is a good way to document those times. And, they're a great gift for the person the event is commemorating. Think about it. They can probably meet most people that come, but may be so occupied that they don't get to notice the details. Or they can't remember all the details. 

So shooting special events for others is a great blessing for them! 

NOTE: Since I was in a public place, I was careful of not taking shots of patrons I didn't know. It may seem like overkill, but one man who stopped by the table seemed very reserved. I didn't take his picture out of respect of that. 

BLOGGERS: Try taking photos this week to use for your blog. Carry a camera with you and capture a detail of something that strikes your fancy. Then, use it on your blog! 

Hope these tips help.
Keep on clicking! 

Photography Tips - Photographing Special Events (click and share)



  1. Thanks for sharing these! YOu are really generous with your knowledge =)

    1. You're welcome Merlinda! I'm glad my tips can help. :)

      Have great weekend.

  2. I learn so much from you and my pictures reflect that! I don't know what I'd do without you!!!

    1. :) You know I'm so happy for you!! And I love taking your picture!

  3. Thanks for sharing Mary :) Always love reading your photo tips..

  4. This was a great lesson. I especially since I "met" Edie at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. The closeup of the book signing was a great example. When my book is published, I want a cake with my cover on it. Super idea.