Step and repeat photography is a popular method of shooting a lot of portraits in a short period of time. This method is commonly used for large gatherings when a lot of people would like to have their photographs taken to remember the occasion. Popular events requiring the step and repeat method include the Grammys and Oscars.
BackdropsPhotographers will put up a large photo backdrop, usually containing the event’s logo and any sponsor logos. Guests take turns stepping in front of the backdrop and having their picture snapped before the photographer moves on to the next group. When setting up your backdrop make sure that no matter how many people are in front of it, that the logos can be seen.
Carefully plan how you want the backdrop to look and take your time preparing it for the event. The size of your backdrop will determine how many people you plan to take photos of at a time. Will they be single shots, or will you be capturing large groups of people at a time? Select a seamless banner to avoid a seam running directly down the center of the background. Selecting a matte finish will help reduce the glare produced from bright lights and your flash set up. Backdrop Express’ printed custom backdrops are printed on a sweatshirt-like matte material, and are available in up to 20 feet wide.
Also, make sure that the logos are clear and not pixelated or blurry. This can distract from the final look of the photo.
LightingSet up your lighting long before the event is set to begin. Take several test shots to ensure the background is set up correctly, the lighting is not too harsh and you do not get any unnecessary glare. Remember, other photographers may be snapping shots too, so consider this extra light when working with your light set up. Or better yet, if possible, ask the event coordinator to set up a no photograph zone where you will be at.
If you are just starting out and do not have a lot of external light equipment, you can still use your camera’s flash. Turn your camera vertically to help offset the flash to the side. Or if possible, buy an extension cord and hold the flash off to the side of the camera when shooting the photos. Flash brackets are great to use in these situations.
CameraSet your camera up at an angle. Do not point it directly at the person and the backdrop. Place the camera a little off to the side to achieve a more relaxed look.
Be PreparedMake sure that you have everything with you that you may need during an event. Do not forget extra cameras, tripods, flash equipment and batteries. Make a list of these items and check them off as you pack the car before the event.
Multiple ShotsWhen doing step and repeat photography you need to get people in and out fast. However, you also want to make sure you take the time to shoot multiple shots of the same person or group of people. Someone is bound to blink or have a funny look on their face. Shooting multiple photos will help ensure you have at least one turn out perfect.
AssistanceBring someone with you to the event to help keep things organized. This person can be in charge of lining everyone up and letting the next group know when it is their turn. This person should also be the one who brings you fresh batteries and equipment as you need it.
Event photography will keep you busy from start to finish. So make sure everything is set up long before the guests are expected to arrive. When the event is over, take down your equipment and pack it away in an organized manner. Do not forget to roll the backdrop so it does not get wrinkled. Proper storage will allow you to easily pull it out and reuse during the life of your event photography business.
Have you photographed busy events? How did you prepare yourself?
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in learning more about group photography? Check out 11 Group Photography Tips!
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