How to take better event photos
Photographs are a great way to generate interest in your
PTA events. Follow our tips to capture energetic images full of
sparkle and life.
Every event the PTA holds is a photo
opportunity, and nothing gives a clearer idea of the proceedings
than a well-shot image. In today's visual culture people expect to
see images everywhere and many of us have a camera to hand on our
phone. Use bright, vibrant photos:
- To remind everyone what a good time they
- To show parents who didn't attend what they
- To allow PTA volunteers to see part of an event
they may have missed
- To show potential PTA members what a fun lot
- To promote your event if you hold it
Permissions: Schools have
different policies around photo usage. Check to see what the
guidelines are at your school to ensure you're using photos with
appropriate permissions. Typically, the school would let parents
know beforehand that the PTA will be photographing at an event.
Whoever has the job of photographer should carry ID and be easy to
spot, for example wearing a fluorescent vest.
Be fit for purpose
A little planning will help you get a range of
shots. The better you plan, the more you will get out of the shoot.
So you don't miss anything important, find out what the event is
about, who will be attending, when and where particular activities
are going to happen. Think about where you might like to use the
photos, who will see them and the reaction you hope to achieve.
Arrive early: Be in the right
place at the right time and make sure you know the event timings.
For example, if you want photos of the raffle draw, make sure
you're there at least ten minutes before it's due to happen. It
helps to become familiar with the layout - know where activities
are happening in case you need to dash from one to another. If
there are there any people who absolutely must be in the
photographs, find about them in advance. Make sure you know who
they are and what they look like.
Lighting: How much light, and
from what source, will be available? Are you shooting in the middle
of the day or at night? Will you be inside or outside? If it's an
inside event, how many lights can you switch on without losing the
atmosphere? The more challenging the lighting situation, the more
an experienced photographer can help.
Tell the whole story: From
set-up to clean-up, let your photos tell a story. People love
seeing behind-the-scenes shots. Set-up is also an excellent time to
recce the layout and take some practise shots.
Use the best equipment you can
If you can find a parent who's a photographer or
keen hobbyist with an array of equipment, that's probably your best
choice. If not, then use your phone. Set the camera to the highest
possible quality; make sure it's charged; check there's enough
storage available to cover everything you might want. A phone can
be ideal if something unusual happens and you can't wait for your
photographer to find the right lens. Be familiar with your kit and
how it works - this is not the time to try out a new piece of
Mix up your shots
Take photos from different angles: try crouching
down, lying down, standing over the heads of people on the ground
or get up on a chair for an overview. See what you can achieve with
a selfie stick, or use a 45-degree angle for fun. Make sure you get
all the shots you've planned, but be ready to shoot spontaneous
images of the action as it happens too. Move around the event,
capturing candid shots, rather than posed images with forced
smiles. Don't interrupt the flow of what's happening. Just observe.
If your event involves food, avoid photographs of people chewing
big mouthfuls - they won't thank you. Try to take a few frames of
each shot just in case one doesn't work for some reason.
The importance of editing
As soon as the event is over, find a quiet place
to edit. Delete any fuzzy pictures, shots where you can't see
what's happening and anything containing your thumb! The number of
shots you present as your final edit will depend on what you want
to use them for - check your original plan.
Delivering your images
Send your images to whoever needs them as soon
as you can. You will be dealing with some large file sizes, so
arrange to use a method that can cope, such as DropBox or
WeTransfer. Make sure you have agreed on how to keep the original
files safe so they are available when you start planning next
Don't forget smartphones also take great video.
Putting video on social media helps you get more views and is an
excellent way to capture the event. If you want to attempt
something even more ambitious, find a time-lapse app and record the
whole event as a three-minute spectacular!
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