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7 Tips for Shooting Event Video and Photography at the Same Time

Jourdan Aldredge

Consider the following advice for recording video and taking photos (at the same time) before shooting your next live event.

On paper, it makes perfect sense. You have a nice, multipurpose, digital camera with great video recording and photography capabilities. On top, there is a simple button to quickly switch between the two. You’ve probably already attended an event and shot either video or photos, which seems pretty straightforward. So, how hard could it be to just shoot both?

I mean, it’s double the paycheck, right?

Having made the mistake (several times, sadly) covering events with both photo and video options, I can tell you it’s no walk in the park. It can be a terribly complicated and crazy adventure.

However, don’t let me dissuade you. Before you dive in, follow these tips to keep your sanity (and deliver quality results).

7 Tips for Shooting Event Video and Photography at the Same Time — Shooting Event

Image via Surachet Jo.

The Right Camera and Gear

First off, you’ll need a good multi-purpose camera that can easily switch between photography and video modes. And given the situation, it should be a good camera for both. Personal preference is important here. It doesn’t really matter if you prefer DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, the key is to find the right camera for your needs.

Consider things like low-light capabilities for photography and rolling shutter for videography — depending on the event and the type of coverage you’ll need. Also, look into flash options for photos and a good tripod, monopod, or shoulder mount.

Here’s a great list of multipurpose cameras to consider.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Personally, I feel like I’ve always been an unusual photographer/videographer because I feel stronger shooting video than photos. Often, photographers are looking to add video to their coverage. In which case, this is a great resource.

However, regardless of your first vocation, it’s important to understand which elements are your strengths and which are your weaknesses. If photography is your weaker skill set, as it was for me, I would focus on getting good photos first by giving myself ample time, knowing I could use the tighter windows to shoot video later.

Video Loves Motion

7 Tips for Shooting Event Video and Photography at the Same Time — Video Loves Motion

Image via Standret.

Also, when deciding when to shoot video over photography, a general rule is to decide what looks good in motion versus static. Video loves motion. Yes, it may be a little harder to set the focus and adjust on the fly. However, consider the situation. If there is something interesting going on that is in motion, say a first dance or a popping champagne bottle, always go for video.

Photography Appreciates Static

Meanwhile, for photography, I’d look for more static situations. Obviously, shooting event photography requires singling out groups of people and getting them to turn, smile, and pause — photography is simple and elegant. There’s no need to record people awkwardly waiting for a flash.

But don’t let this bog you down. There are plenty of opportunities to shoot fantastic photos when things are in motion. The trick is to ask yourself what would look more appealing then adapt to the situation to create a combination of both.

Lighting and Sound

Now for the nitty-gritty. If you’re not familiar with shooting video over photography, sound is a huge concern. Whether that means adding a boom mic to your camera, snapping wireless lapels onto your event key subjects, or plugging an audio recorder directly into a soundboard (or, preferably, all of the above), getting quality audio should be a very high priority when planning your videography.

Lighting, on the other hand, is a constant concern for both photo and video. At many events, unless they’re outdoors (typically), lighting is a constant challenge. Dark dance floors and poorly lit conference halls mean you have to get inventive with your camera angles, push your ISOs, and even experiment with lighting sources of your own.

Communicate and Be Vocal

When taking on the challenge of shooting both video and photos, communication is key. If you have a team with you, dividing and conquering is a great approach. However, the key is communication and planning.

If you’re running solo, your voice is your best friend, and you’ll need it to constantly let your subjects know what you’re doing and what you expect of them. If you’re shooting photos, you’ll need them to smile and wait for a flash. If you’re shooting video, you’ll want them to ignore you and act naturally.

Be direct, confident, and loud.

Edit Photos First, Video Second

Once the event has concluded, it’s best to dive into the photos first — sometimes immediately after the event. Editing photos, to most, will be the quicker of the two edits, and it will help you get the ball rolling on your deliverables.

It also helps you put together a timeline of the event’s best moments from start to finish. You can start working with colors and finding the best angles, moments, and subjects. You can also deliver the photos before diving into your video edit, which can take anywhere from several days to several weeks, depending on the scope and your promised delivery dates.

Cover image by Alexei Zatevakhin.

For more event videography advice, check out some of these articles.

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