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Mastering Event Photography: A Comprehensive Guide to Capturing Memorable Moments

Each event is its own story. At Extensia Studios, we craft a visual narrative through our event photography. Whether it’s a Multi-Day Conference, a black tie Award Ceremony, or a company team-building event, we want to tell the story of your company and its people, all while showcasing your event.

Over the years, I’ve built a framework (more like a helpful guide) that ensures I capture a well-rounded coverage of any event.  Here are the five categories of photos that I always focus on capturing.

1. Photographing the Event Facility and Decor

Setting the Stage for the event to come.

This is the opening act, as the first photos of the venue set the tone and atmosphere of the event to come.  In this category, I always capture a mix of wide, medium and detail-focused close-up shots.  I generally start with an exterior shot of the venue, then naturally work my way in.  As I enter the reception area, I always capture the theme of the event, all subtle branding, and any sponsor's presence.  As I continue into the main hall, I always start with wide photos of the entire facility, then take closer looks and capture the finer details.

2. Registration & Welcome

Connecting and Networking with a Smile
Registration booth at the Xero Roadshow Select 2023 - Cananda -  - Event Photography by Cory Meli - Extensia Studios

Bringing people together is one of the greatest benefits of a conference. Once the attendees start to arrive, I turn focus on capturing key introductions and networking. The photographs at this time are a mix of candid handshakes, hugs and smiles. People are happy to be present, and I always show that.  Most often, clients will set up a photo wall in the registration or lobby areas.  This is the perfect chance to engage guests with the event and build excitement as they strike their pose. 

An empty stage with three chairs - preparing for panel - welcome image projected behind the chairs -  - Event Photography by Cory Meli - Extensia Studios

 3. Podium and Presentations

Every presenter has something worth listening to
CEO at Xero Awards Canada 2023 - Conference and Awards Ceremony - woman on stage -  - Event Photography by Cory Meli - Extensia Studios

The podium is the center of the event. This is where all the key stakeholders will appear and where visions for the future (Eg, Global domination) are revealed. Whether it is a CEO, managing partner, keynote speaker, or all-around funny guy whom you hired to host your event, we always capture multiple angles of the presenter on stage. This gives our clients a wider comprehensive perspective of the event. And offers views POV that they never would have seen.  (I love capturing a point of view that no one could have seen or experienced and then sharing those photos with my clients.)

4. Candid Interactions

Genuine Emotions and Memorable Moments 

Candid interactions are the entertaining plot twists in the event’s narrative. At this stage, we focus on capturing smiles, hugs, and the overall excitement from attendees. To achieve this, I shift my lens to spy mode…sort of. I switch to a telephoto lens and sit on the fringes of the event, allowing people uninterrupted time and space to be themselves. More of a photojournalistic style. This is when I capture genuine emotion, and for some reason, these are the photos my clients love most. 

5. Direct to the Camera

Building Bonds and Capturing the Energy
Candid shots during a conference - Event Photography by Cory Meli - Extensia Studios

This style of photography allows me to capture some of the most excited expressions from the attendees.  Getting people's attention and having them look right at the camera creates a deeper connection. This is when team members and co-workers come together (many times, with arms over shoulders) to give their biggest smile to the camera. These photos capture the energy of the event, revealing the bonds and relationships that have been built. 

Two people at a corporate event singing into a microphone on stage - photos by Extensia Studios

So if you’re planning an event and need to hire a photographer, be sure to secure someone who can deliver to these 5 categories. This is a proper mix that will give you comprehensive coverage that blends different styles and attributes that will tell the full story of your event.

To see these five steps in action, click here.

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