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Event photography on an iPhone?
In one of our previous blog posts we talked about event photography in general and what equipment you should be on the lookout for. This time we will cover the scenario that you don't have sufficient budget to arrange the equipment and you need to rely on your phone . We would like to emphasize that this should be only in case of emergency, when you really can't get a photographer. Also we strongly recommend you to read our previous blog about photography.
First of all we have to take into consideration what kind of venue we are going to take photos at. Is it an open building or outside with enough light or a dark hall with artificial lighting? These are major players in terms of phone photography.
Camera app and settings
You can stick with your normal iPhone camera app or take a look at some 3rd party ones. They can offer you more settings and features so you can set up the shot just as you like, however, they often cost money and can be a bit buggy. We would stick only with those that have high ratings and are easy to use.
When it comes to the settings itself you have to keep in mind 3 main values. Shutter speed, aperture and ISO. These magical terms are a basic building block of photography.
ISO - is an image sensor sensitivity, in the other words the higher the number the more sensitive your sensor is. This comes with more grain and light in the picture.
Aperture - is usually expressed in a number like f/1,8. It is the number which says how much the “pupil” of your camera opens. This influences two things - Bokeh (background blur) and the amount of light coming to the sensor (lower the number, the more light it gets).
Shutter speed - is how quickly the camera shutter closes. These days it is done digitally, so you won't hear any click in your phone. It is the number which usually looks like this - 1/200 or any other number. The bigger the number the faster the shutter closes - thus your photos will be frozen in time, however less light will reach the sensor, so the image will be darker. Ever seen those crispy action photos? They usually have around shutter speed of 1/4000 or even 1/8000 to really freeze the moment in time.
This whole 3 values idea is based on balance, you always have to balance them in a way, so that your photo looks nice and you can work with it further.
Now you are like “So what am I supposed to do with this crazy stuff?” Patience, young padawan. We talked about the venue, apps, camera settings… So now you want to know how to do it, right?
When taking photos with an Iphone you have to keep in mind that you don't have any advantages of the big cameras. So you need to leverage everything you have at your disposal. Is there a better light a few meters to the right? Then ask your attendees to move a bit if you are taking photos of them. Don't forget to use the burst mode, so you capture more photos. You never know when someone is going to have closed eyes.
One of the great hacks is to use the volume button to take photos. You will prevent a lot of shaking so you can keep your shutter speed low. When you are at the venue, look for unique angles, phones nowadays are able to capture photos with fairly decent blur, so try to look for perspectives that can separate the object from the background. Also don't forget that you can use HDR if you are in an environment where there are a lot of light and shadow differences.
Never put your subject in the middle of the frame, unless it really makes sense. Use the rule of thirds, you basically divide your frame into a 3x3 frame, you always want to put your subject to one of the sides. When you do that, try to keep in mind that your subject should be looking in a way that has more space on the photo (look at the picture below).
The subject face is in one of the crossing points of the lines and is looking towards the left side, where there is more space and you feel like a par of the conversation.
Lines… Look for lines, our brain is very simple in this and likes symmetrical things that lead to your subject. Imagine you have the main aisle leading to the podium of your event, frame the photo in a way so that chairs on the sides create a line leading to it. Lines are everywhere, just take a look around.
Red lines are highlighting the natural flow of your eyes leading towards the speakers
Vertical or landscape? In today's world it seems to be impossible to decide what is better. However, here is a simple tip. Vertical for portraits, landscape for everything else.
Creativity is your friend
Viral photography, or how to get the most out of the event. Since not having the camera limits you quite a lot in technical standpoint, you have to be a bit more creative. Does your event have a specific merch that stands out? Use it! Imagine you have a branded hat, just take it and walk around the event and ask people if you can take a photo of them in the hat. Then just create a reel of a few dozen of these photos and you suddenly have a viral video, which you can share to your attendees. In this field, you can't really be wrong, creativity knows no boundaries. Try it out yourself.
Now you have a better idea of what it takes to use your phone for photography. It is important that you don't forget to be creative, in the end it is not only about how the photo looks but also what emotion it captures. Because that is what you want to be showing to your audience and future attendees, the atmosphere of your event.