Corporate Photography Tips

There are two types of corporate photography – event photography and portrait photography. Event photography means taking pictures of employees and guests in corporate events such as conferences, birthday parties, Christmas parties, receptions and sales events. Corporate portrait photography means taking formal pictures of employees for websites, magazines and other various publications. In this article, I will provide some tips on how to photograph corporate events.

Corporate Photography

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 3200, 1/25, f/4.0

1) Basics of Corporate Event Photography

Taking pictures of corporate events is a very responsible job. If you get hired to photograph an event or volunteer for event photography, you definitely need to make sure that you have the right equipment and technique before accepting the job. Do not assume that if you can photograph outside portraits, you can easily photograph any event. You really need to know how to work in low-light environments and how to use external flash, since many corporate events take place indoors with a very limited amount of ambient light.

Corporate Photography - Single Portrait

In addition to photography equipment and technique, you also need to know some basics about event photography in general. Here is a quick list of basic tips that I compiled for event photography:

  1. The first and the foremost advice I can give you, is to look like a professional and blend in with the rest of the group. This means that you have to dress up accordingly. Most corporate events require “cocktail attire”, which means wearing a suit or tuxedo for men and a formal dress for women. Other events are more casual, where a “business casual” attire is acceptable. However, you should not guess – just call the event organizer beforehand and find out what the dress code is. It really looks bad when everyone is formally dressed and a photographer shows up in jeans and sneakers. Oh, and make sure that your clothes are all clean and shoes are shiny!
  2. If possible, scout the location and analyze the lighting conditions before the event. Ask your organizer if you can visit the venue beforehand to get a clue about what you will be photographing. You need to find out if you are dealing with plenty of ambient light during the day, or with very minimal light indoors/at night. This is extremely important to know, because you will need to take the right equipment for the job. If for whatever reason you cannot go to the venue, then try to find out as much as you can about the location from the organizer and venue owners/management.
  3. Get a complete schedule of the event from the event organizer. You need to know what is going to happen and when, and when they need you the most.
  4. Find out who is running the show and who you need to concentrate on. Ask your event organizer to introduce you to the senior management. Most of the time, it will be easy to remember the “big guys” because of the way they talk and dress, but you still need to make sure that you know who to photograph.
  5. Try not to interrupt important conversations. You can tell if a conversation is important by looking at how heavily engaged a person is in talking to another person or group. When you approach people in a relaxed environment, they will immediately notice you and even pose for a picture. You do not need to make everyone feel your presence, so try to be as unnoticeable as you can.
  6. I attended many important corporate events and parties and one thing that bugs the hell out of me, is when a photographer tries to pitch in and engage in a conversation. Obviously, out of respect, people will not show that they are annoyed or bothered, but it is still a very inappropriate thing to do. If someone needs your opinion, they will ask you.
  7. Do not drink alcohol, even if you are offered to have some. Nobody needs to see a drunk photographer and you shouldn’t smell like one either.
  8. Have a good lunch/dinner before the event. If the event is long and you are offered something to eat, move away from the crowd to a different location and eat there.
  9. Do not take pictures of people eating food! Would you feel comfortable if someone took your picture while you were chewing on something?
  10. Try to be as polite as you can, even with people that are not polite with you. If someone asks you to take their picture, do it with pleasure!
  11. Do not get locked up with just taking photographs of people. Look around you and most likely you will find something interesting to photograph. If there is a celebration with a cake, do not forget to take pictures of the cake before it gets cut.
Corporate Photography - Cake

NIKON D700 @ 190mm, ISO 400, 1/80, f/4.0

I could add many other things to the list, but you get the idea – just do your best in representing yourself as a true professional and you will be rewarded with great pictures, future opportunities and lots of business referrals!

2) Photo Equipment

Equipment plays a big role in event photography. In addition to a good camera and lenses, you will most likely need other tools as well, especially when working in low-light environments.

2.1) Best Camera

It goes without saying that you will need a professional camera – forget about corporate event photography with a point and shoot. Although you can get away with one camera body, I would recommend two cameras, one with a wide-angle lens and another with a telephoto lens. That way you can quickly capture any action without the need to frequently change lenses. Plus, the second camera body will be your backup in case the first one fails.

In terms of type of a camera, I would recommend a low-noise DSLR camera that can shoot at ISO 800 and above without introducing much noise to the picture. Obviously, full frame cameras such as Nikon D700/D3s or Canon 5D2/1Ds would do best, but crop-sensor bodies can also be used, as long as there is sufficient light or external flash is used. With external flash, there is almost no difference in what DSLR you use – the difference in image quality is not going to be very noticeable. Many event photographers use a full frame camera as their main camera while having a smaller and lighter backup camera for special needs, which also works great.

2.2) Best Lenses

When it comes to lenses, I suggest professional-level lenses that can work very well in low light and produce pleasant bokeh. I highly recommend having at least two lenses – one for portraits and one for wide-angle shots (for groups and extreme close-ups). My favorite Nikon portrait lenses for event photography are Nikon 50mm f/1.4, Nikon 85mm f/1.4/1.8 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 (read my review of the Nikon 70-200mm VRII). Canon has a similar selection for portrait lenses, but has a slight edge in prime lenses: Canon 50mm f/1.2/1.4, Canon 85mm f/1.2/1.8 and Canon 70-200mm f/2.8.

Corporate Photography - Christmas Tree

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 500, 1/200, f/2.8

As far as wide-angle lenses, I prefer to shoot with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 on a full-frame body and with 17-35mm f/2.8 or Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 on a DX body. Canon also has a similar Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 and Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 are also excellent.

If for whatever reason I cannot bring more than one lens, then my choice is the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 – it works great in low light and does a superb job in producing creamy bokeh.

2.3) External Flash

Unless you are shooting during the day outdoors, an external flash is a must! Your in-camera flash is not sufficient for event photography and you do not want to be shooting direct flash, because it will create nasty shadows and really ugly skin tones. Make sure that you get a flash that has an adjustable head, because you can bounce flash off white ceilings and walls, creating a more natural-looking light with very soft shadows. For Nikon cameras, I recommend the Nikon SB-900 flashes, while for Canon cameras, I recommend the Canon 580 EX II. If you do not need much flash power, the Nikon SB-600 and Canon 430EX II will also perform well, however, keep in mind that neither of the latter are equipped with a slot for external battery packs and they have a longer flash recycle time. The Quantum Q-Flash is also a very popular external flash that many professionals prefer over the Nikon or Canon brand flashes.

If flash photography is prohibited, you will need to talk to the event organizer about increasing the amount of ambient light in the room, or perhaps adding more continuous light (such as video light) for your photography. In that case, having a low-noise DSLR camera with a fast lens is going to be extremely useful.

Corporate Photography - Drinking Coffee

NIKON D700 @ 200mm, ISO 800, 1/50, f/2.8

Another nice thing about flashes, is that you can add a nice catchlight to the subject’s eyes.

2.4) Off-Camera Flash

In some cases, you might be asked to take pictures of arriving guests in one specific area. If you are shooting from one location, it might be best to set up a an off-camera flash for better quality light. While bouncing the light off the ceiling or a wall produces nice-looking images, having a separate off-camera flash setup is still undeniably the best way to obtain great-looking portraits.

I always carry at least one umbrella kit with me in case I need to set up a quick off-camera light. You can get a really cheap off-camera flash kit for less than $500.

Here is what’s in my bag for off-camera flash:

  1. A set of trusty PocketWizard Plus II Transceivers. This is the most expensive part of the kit and you will need two of them – one will go on your camera hotshoe and the second will be used as a “slave” in your off-camera flash.
  2. Manfrotto 5001B Light Stand – I have a couple of these and they are very compact and sturdy light stands. There is also a much cheaper alternative by “Impact” that I have used in the past and they also work very well.
  3. I use the Westcott 43″ White Umbrella with Removable Black Cover for most of my flash photography and I’m in love with this umbrella. It is very compact and I carry it with me all the time. Best of all, it only costs $24.95!
  4. Manfrotto 026 Swivel Umbrella Adapter to connect the umbrella.
  5. Stroboframe Shoe to connect the umbrella adapter with an external flash.

Assembling the above parts takes only a few minutes and it is definitely worth every penny!

Corporate Photography - Male Portrait

NIKON D700 @ 200mm, ISO 800, 1/50, f/2.8

2.4) Other Accessories

  1. Take plenty of extra batteries with you, both for your cameras and your flashes. If the event is very long, take your chargers as well and recharge your batteries during breaks. Some of the events will have “award ceremonies” towards the end of the event, so make sure that you have enough power for that portion of the day. Having a camera battery grip can come in handy, since you can use two batteries without having to worry much about swapping batteries in between the shots.
  2. Having a battery pack for your flash is very handy if you are photographing indoors. A good battery pack will not only shorten the recycle time of your flash, but will also last much longer.
  3. Many event photographers use flash brackets to reduce the effect of red-eye and create more natural shadows. If you cannot bounce your flash (ceilings are too high or of different color), then I highly recommend getting a flash bracket. There is a large selection of custom flash brackets for every need, so take a look at the selection and choose what works for you. You will also need to get a cable that goes from your camera hotshoe to the flash.
  4. Make sure to bring plenty of camera memory with you.
  5. Get a good photo backup solution for on-location backup. The Epson P-6000 is a very good compact solution for on-location backup and you can find many other similar solutions from different manufacturers.
  6. Having various light modifiers and bouncers can also be useful. Some people like to use ring-flashes such as Ray Flash for portraits, but I personally do not like them.
  7. If the lighting conditions are very poor, you might also need to get some video light.
Corporate Photography - Single Portrait

NIKON D700 @ 200mm, ISO 800, 1/50, f/2.8

3) Camera Settings

What camera settings should you use and why? I personally have two camera settings that I typically use for different light – one is for low-light photography and the other is for flash photography. While most camera settings remain the same, there are some differences between the two that I would like to point out.

Here are some settings that I suggest you leave the same:

  1. Image Quality: RAW. Read why you should use RAW.
  2. White Balance: Auto. I do not mess with White Balance and deal with it in post-processing. Due to constant changes between shooting with and without a flash, I find that it is easier to keep it in “Auto” and change it later in Lightroom.
  3. Beep: Off. If you are still shooting with your beep on, turn it off, since it is annoying when your camera beeps all the time.
  4. Active D-Lighting: Off (Nikon only). If you are shooting RAW, there is no need to have it turned on.

Everything else stays at default settings, except for the following.

3.1) Camera Mode

For normal photography without flash, I typically use “Aperture Priority” mode. I find that this mode works best for low-light situations and I have complete control over the depth of field by increasing or decreasing the aperture. For flash photography, I always use “Manual” mode and use shutter speeds between 1/50 to 1/200, depending on how much ambient light I want to let in. Aperture varies between f/2.8 and f/5.6.

3.2) ISO Sensitivity

If I’m shooting without a flash, I turn “Auto ISO” on, set its “Maximum sensitivity” to 3200 on FX and 800 on DX and “Minimum shutter speed” to 1/50th of a second. You might want to increase the minimum shutter speed to a higher number like 1/100 if you have shaky hands. When using flash, I turn off “Auto ISO” and set ISO to the base value, which is “200” on almost all modern Nikon cameras. There might be cases when I need more light when using a flash and I might bump up the ISO to 400 or 800 every once in a while, but generally I like to keep it low.

Corporate Photography - Portrait Couple

NIKON D700 @ 145mm, ISO 800, 1/100, f/3.5

3.3) Focusing

Focusing in low-light environments can be very challenging. Be careful about using large apertures between f/1.4 and f/2.8, since you might end up with a very blurry image if the focus lands elsewhere. If your shutter speed drops below 1/50th of a second and you are already near your maximum aperture, you should consider using external flash. I typically do not use my camera shutter for focusing and move the function to “AF” button on the back of my camera. That way, I can focus multiple times and recompose the image, if needed. Most DSLR cameras will let you move the focus function from the shutter to a dedicated button on the back of the camera, so I suggest that you give it a try and see how you like it.

In terms of servo mode, I prefer to use the “Continuous” servo mode (AF-C), in case my subjects move. On Nikon DSLRs, you can switch to the Continuous Servo mode by simply moving the switch to “C” position in the front of the camera.

3.4) Metering

I find that Matrix metering (also known as “Evaluative” metering in Canon world) works best for me. The only exception is when there is a bright background on the back of the subject when I’m shooting without a flash – that’s when I switch to spot metering and let the background overexpose a little. When I use flash, the metering is not important, since I shoot in manual mode anyway.

4) Composition, Background and Bokeh

Although you are primarily photographing people, do not forget about composition and try to be a little more creative in your photographs. It gets boring if all pictures you submit to your client have people centered in the frame. Try to frame your shot differently every once in a while and position yourself so that you do not have messy backgrounds behind your subjects. The background part is not always easy, especially when the place is full of people that move around, but you should still try. If you see a better background with a nicer light, politely ask your subjects to move around a little bit and they will gladly do that for you. This doesn’t mean that you should be moving people from one place to another just to get your shot though!

Corporate Photography - Portrait Left

NIKON D700 @ 200mm, ISO 800, 1/100, f/2.8

In terms of bokeh, pay attention to it and make sure that you are getting a soft, creamy bokeh in your pictures, especially when shooting with 50mm/85mm prime lenses and 70-200mm telephoto. I find that apertures between f/2.0 and f/4.0 yield the best-looking bokeh for individual shots.

5) Group Shots

I find that group shots are the toughest to work on, especially when the group is large and the amount of ambient light is low. You should always plan for these kinds of shots and this is another item that you should ask from the event organizer beforehand.

I prefer to shoot groups outside, because I do not have to worry about setting up the lights and making sure that the light is distributed evenly. If you are taking a picture of a group outside, then your biggest issue is going to be putting the group together and making them all look good for your pictures. Talk to your group, come up with a nice joke or two to make the group laugh naturally. Do not just ask for a “cheese” moment, since you will end up with fake smiles and stupid faces. Take lots of pictures and shoot in bursts. That way, if some of the group members blink, you will still have something to work with.

Photographing groups indoors is a challenging task. You will need to know how many people will be in the group and you will also need to find out about the dimensions of the room, lighting conditions and whether the room has dropped ceilings or not. Bouncing the light off the dropped ceilings produces the best-looking group shots. If you have a small or medium-size group with 8-10 people standing close to each other, you might get away with a single flash, as long as you can bounce it off a white ceiling. Try to keep the group as tight as possible, which means asking the group to stand in multiple rows and close to each other.

If you have a relatively large group of people in three rows, you could set up two or three light stands with external flashes, put them in manual mode to quarter or half power and point them at a 30-45 degree angle towards the group. The flash power will obviously depend on the amount of ambient light in the room, so you will have to play with that beforehand and make sure that you are providing sufficient amount of light to bounce off the ceiling onto your subjects. If you are not getting enough power from your flashes, try increasing the camera ISO. Make sure that the light bounces off and hits the center of the group (middle row), not the front or the rear row. That way, the light will spread evenly across the group and illuminate everyone. If the room is lit with florescent light, you might need to use some gels with your flashes to match the light.

Here is a simple lighting diagram that you can use for group shots:
Group Lighting Diagram

The above diagram is for rooms with dropped ceilings. The flashes are pointed up at a 30-45 degree angle to land on the center row.

Whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors, I highly recommend getting a ladder for group portraits.

In terms of lenses, this is when you need to switch to your wide-angle lens, because you need to fit the group into the frame and need the most depth of field. Do not use super wide angle lenses below 24mm on full frame and 18mm on crop sensors, because you will distort the faces of the people on the sides. I personally use the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for these kinds of shots and like the results.

6) Flash Photography Tips

Here are some tips for event photography indoors:

  1. If you are bouncing the light off the ceiling for the majority of your shots, using TTL (through the lens) mode should yield consistently good results. Just set your camera on TTL mode and you should be good to go for the most part. If you are getting an underexposed/overexposed image, you can always use the flash exposure compensation button on your camera to increase or reduce the amount of flash.
  2. If you set up an off-camera flash and you are using an umbrella in one location, I recommend using a Manual mode on your flash to get consistent results. Test your setup with an assistant or a volunteer and make sure that you are getting enough flash power.
  3. Shoot in single mode to prevent accidental multiple shots with your flash.
  4. Watch your flash, let it recycle and cool off before firing again. If you are shooting at full power, make sure that you are giving enough time for your flash, as recommended in the manual. Many photographers end up burning their flashes, because they do not pay attention to this. In fact, I highly recommend not to shoot your flash at full power and decrease aperture or increase the camera ISO instead.
  5. If your subjects are illuminated well while the background is too dark, it means that you are using a fast shutter speed. Remember, shutter speed controls ambient light in flash photography, so if you need to let more of that background light in, you will need to lower your shutter speed. Also, when shooting at low shutter speeds, I recommend using the “rear curtain sync” function on your camera to fire the flash at the end of the exposure.
Corporate Photography - Posing

NIKON D700 @ 135mm, ISO 900, 1/60, f/4.0

7) Low-light Photography Tips

If you will be shooting indoors in a dim environment without flash, I highly recommend reading my “low-light photography tips” article.


  1. 1) Camellia
    February 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing, it’s highly appreciated!

  2. 2) James
    March 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for the Tips!

    • March 3, 2010 at 10:11 am

      James, you are most welcome! Please let me know if you have any questions.

  3. 3) Jack N.
    March 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks so very much for all the great info and tips. I own 2 Nikon SB 600 flash units. As you indicate, the only down side ( that I have found ) is the fact that they accept no battery pack. So, batteries out the wazoo when I shoot an event.

    I do have a particular question , and it probably won’t be the last, regarding fill flash. More specifically, I plan to shoot a corporate event that actually includes a parade outside obviously ( several blocks ). It will be later this month, and the chances are good that I will be dealing with both harsh afternoon sunlight, and deep shadow…since the “parade” is down city streets.

    Any suggestion how best to mediate the situation? By the way, I still shoot with Nikon D70’s, which I love for such situations.


    • March 18, 2010 at 12:30 am

      Jack, you are most welcome!

      As far as the parade, are you planning to shoot the whole thing with a wide-angle lens, or do you want to photograph individual portraits? For the whole group, there is really not much you can do with flash, since it will be too weak to cover such a large group. So you will have to just deal with the lighting problems and try to find creative ways to photograph the parade. For example, if you are getting harsh shadows from the sun, wait until the parade reaches a shadow area and take pictures. If the day is cloudy, then you will definitely have much better results.

      If you are photographing individuals, you might want to set up a portable light + umbrella and ask them to pose for you in a shadow area.

      Please let me know if you have any questions.

  4. 4) Peter
    April 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Fantastic posting. Great advice.

  5. 5) Hilde
    June 25, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you for the best comprehensive advice I’ve read online so far on corporate event photography! I have a corporate event to shoot situated for the first half outdoors, 2.5hrs before sunset. Do you have any advice on settings for group portrait of 60? The only available space will be in an outdoor veranda, partly shaded, that can accomodate at most 10 in a row, with 6 rows altogether. I will be situating my camera to the left of the veranda, with the sun behind me, facing the ocean/palm tree views. I’ve requested for a ladder for me to get on a higher point to capture everyone and plan to have the basic tall guests in the back with chairs in the front row (with disabled guest). I’m using the Nikond D60 with the 18-55mm kit lens for this shot, manual mode, starting at f/12. I only have a SB600, which I’m not sure if I should use as it may not illuminate the entire group from my distance. Any tips or advice would be very much appreciated! Thank you!

    • July 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Hilde, I apologize for a late response. 2.5 hours before sunset is a good time, so you should not need to worry about lighting problems.

      As far as your group shot, I would use a wide-angle lens and once you put people in 6 rows, use a small aperture between f/8 and f/16 to make sure that everyone in the group stays in focus. If your shutter speeds drops below 1/50th of a second, try increasing ISO to prevent camera shake.

      Don’t use your SB600 for this shot – it won’t be sufficient.

  6. 6) Chris
    June 28, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Thanks for all the great tips.

    I have my first corporate event shoot this Friday, and I’m pretty nervous about it. I’ve made afew notes from this post that I’ll be taking with me.

    Some great advice, thanks for sharing.


    • July 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Chris, you are most welcome, please let me know if you have any questions and good luck!

  7. 7) Lélen
    September 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you fot these pieces of advice, I found them really helpful and I can see how much you have worked on writing them. I had searched a lot in the Internet for tips in spanish, since I’m from Argentina, and found nothing. I was glad to finally find you and your amazing tips! Thank you very much, keep on working like this! Good job! You are helping a lot of us who are starting to work on this !!! :))

  8. 8) regnal k
    September 17, 2010 at 12:22 am

    thankyou for sharing this amazing post, i am an amateur photog and am starting out in corporate photography, i have a nikon D90 & 18-105, in the last few events dat i shot i was shooting at iso 1600 f5.6 and shutter speeds between 1/6 and 1/20 and no flash (damn! i got steady hands)
    i dont shoot at the wide end dat much i only had about 5 photos at 18mm out of the 800 dat have shot so far do i dont think i’ll miss that range,

    After reading your post i am looking into investing in a 35mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8 and i was wondering about ur views,
    i would highly appreciate it if you could guide me in the right direction. i would like to have a 2 lens kit a tele n a wide to normal. budget is not an issue as long as i can justify it.


    Regnal K

    • October 4, 2010 at 9:46 am

      Regnal, both 35mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 are excellent. I would get both – 35mm for normal photography and 85mm for portraits. If you can only afford one, start with the 35mm.

  9. 9) Angela
    November 6, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I have volunteered to be a photographer for a work event without realising that our next event would have a high profile individual. I have a Nikon D5000 and an SB600. I am a keen amateur but am just a bit nervous so thanks for all of the tips above. Is there anything else that I need to take into account when I go? The event will be on Tuesday already….unfortunately the organisers haven’t given me much more information but I did go to the venue and there are windows around the location and there would be external lighting coming from the windows and there seems to be sufficient lighting in the venue. I have a Nikkor 18-200mm lens, would that be enough? It is F3.5 only though. I do have a Nikkor 50mm fixed lens and a 35mm fixed lens – should i use over the 18-200?

    Really appreciate any help! Thank you so much and look forward to hearing from you.

    Angie P

    • November 17, 2010 at 6:36 pm

      Angela, I apologize for a delayed response – I am just now catching up with all comments (I responded to over 300 comments today and still have another 300-400 left). Looks like you needed my response earlier and I hope the event went fine!

      You have a good lens lineup and the three lenses you have should work great for covering events like that. And yes, I would certainly take the 35mm and 50mm with me for low-light/indoors photography.

  10. 10) Andrey
    December 23, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing! Tomorrow will try to shoot my first corporate event

  11. 11) gian paolo perusini
    March 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I like to shoot parties and formal dinners organized by my wife… and had similar problems. your suggestion to shoot raw withot d-lighting and wb compensation is really interesting. however, i had good results with a gel on the sb900 and wb made with ambient lights + flash (to avoid yellow lights). without (bounced) flash, with available light, results are so-so. it would be interesting to know your favourite settings for the d700 in these situations. I found the 17-35 quite useful for parties, in medium-sized rooms like our home (about 50 by 30 feet). I really like your website, where many people discuss together.

    • March 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm

      Gian, using a gel when you shoot indoors with plenty of lamp light is a good idea – I do that pretty often myself to have WB consistency. Without a tungsten gel, the flash colors become blue and it just looks nasty…

  12. 12) Andrey
    March 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Very comprehensive! Thanks a lot!


    In your articles you keep mentioning that you do not use shutter release button for focusing and assign that function to AF-ON (AF-L/AF-E) button.

    ” I typically do not use my camera shutter for focusing and move the function to “AF” button on the back of my camera. That way, I can focus multiple times and recompose the image, if needed. ”

    I’ve been trying to figure out why that might be useful/handy, but hasn’t been able to come up with anything that would seemingly make sense. Can you please expand on why you prefer it that way?

    • March 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      Andrey, when you move the focusing function to AF-ON, half-pressing the shutter does not touch focus. If I have to use the center focus point in low-light situations, then pre-focusing and recomposing is pretty much the only option…

      • 12.1.1) Andrey
        March 4, 2011 at 1:48 am

        Nasim, thanks for the prompt answer!

        But can’t the same be achieved by half-pressing shutter release and then recomposing?

  13. 13) Yalcin
    April 5, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Great resource for event photography, thanks alot.

  14. 14) Mike
    August 16, 2011 at 5:29 am

    So many Google results promise a lot but fall short – but your article is just great. All good advice and tallys with my experience exactly. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 15) KenP
    August 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I had my first formal event shoot (as an assistant) on Saturday night. I followed tips from your article and results surprised me — i’ve been a sceptic of flash photography, mostly because point and shoot photos are flat and appear over-exposed with ugly shadows.

    I shot with an external flash bounced off the ceiling with a 50mm f/2 lens even as I kept this tips in mind. Worked beautifully.

    Thanks for a great article.

  16. October 4, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Your tips for corporate photography is really useful and it works. thank you so much for these useful tips.

  17. 17) Kaushik Aghera
    October 11, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Hello Nasim &Lola
    Thank you for your vary comprehensive tips
    vary useful and i am always reading
    Thanks a lot

  18. 18) xsrave
    October 31, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for those useful tips. Any tips and tricks on how to best utilize the inbuilt flash for a corporate event photography would be greatly appreciated.

  19. 19) z. lynn
    November 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Excellent tips! Thanks for your insight!

  20. 20) Faizal
    November 22, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Dear Naseem. Thank you for redirecting me to this page. It has really helped a lot. Although I may not be able to get my hands on certain equipment, you have given me a good idea on how to prepare for these types of events. Thank you once again!

  21. November 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Brilliant shots and a great article, Naseem. I’m heavily involved in both corporate portrait and event photography. Infact, I’m shooting at a major corporate event in the city this evening, reading your blog has just made it that much more easier to further prepare. Thanks.

  22. 22) Nik
    November 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Hey Nasim

    Great Tips, very thorough. That must have taken a lot of your time.
    I really appreciate it.

    Greetings from Switzerland

  23. 23) Brian
    December 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Fantastic article, Nasim.

    The photos you posted have incrediably soft light. Did you shoot these bouncing the flash off of a white ceiling or did you use a different modifier like an umbrella or small soft box? Also, the backgrounds look nice as most of them are quite a bit darker than the subjects so they add character without being overly distracting. Do you typically do this in post or do you create this by increasing the shutter speed? I love the exposures and white balance that you nailed on these! Thanks for posting this great info!

  24. 24) Scott
    December 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    One of the best blogs I have ever read!

  25. 25) Kamal
    December 6, 2011 at 2:53 am

    HI Nasim,

    Good Article, I have read through most of your blogs the whole day. Very informative and Interesting ones. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and helping the ones with the urge to learn photography. Do you may be have a post on “corporate photography – event photography”??? I was searching, may be am so dumb to get the right link. But if you have one? then please share that with me. Keep doing the good work. Have a great day..

    PS: I’m a nikonian too :-)

    Thanks & Regards,

  26. 26) Kamal
    December 6, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Oopsie… See I’m in the right post asking you for the link…. Sorry Nasim…. Sorry this is one my blond moment at work :-)

  27. 27) Fabian
    December 14, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Hello Nasim,
    Thank you for your tips. Be sure I will follow them on my 1st assignment on corporate events.
    I will have to deal with lots of light and desert sand to make the corporate photos.
    This company wants me taking pics of the guests. It’s very informal because it will happen in the desert, in the event of a rally race. The location will look like this
    There’s no schedule. They guest just come and go.
    Any additional tip for this? I’m carrying a Canon 7D + EF 24-70 f/2.8L + Speedlite 580.

  28. 28) Simonrey
    December 16, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Hi Nasim,
    Thank you very much for these very helpful tips. I haven’t used them yet but I’m planning to implement them tomorrow during our party. People like you makes photography possible for anyone and fun.

  29. 29) Dimitri
    February 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I read a lot of photography tutorials. I mean, a LOT! This is definitely one of the best that I’ve read in a long long time. All useful information. Straight forward and applicable to real life situations.

  30. 30) StaceyG
    March 23, 2012 at 6:59 am

    What a thorough list of tips and pointers–I could apply so many of those ideas to photographing small family functions. Great for new photographers and a good brush-up article for those who have been at it for a while. And some nice pictures to boot!

  31. 31) Cynthia
    April 4, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Thank you for writing this article, it was so detailed and very helpful to me. I really appreciated it.
    It was easy to understand and insightful. I really liked your pictures too
    Thank you

  32. 32) Jackie
    April 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you for the informative article. I’m not an event photographer but rather trying to learn more about taking better indoor portraits. I am having the hardest time figuring out what to set my camera to so that I achieve nice crisp clear pictures. It seems that my indoor pictures always turn out a bit blury. I have a Canon 7D and it seems everytime I try to get off the auto setting and experiment with manual settings I end up being frustrated with my shots. I know there isn’t a “magic potion” or “generic” setting to use in all situations but any advise to send me in the right direction would be great. I can’t seem to get in to the users manual as it’s too confusing to me. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance,

  33. 33) chie
    April 18, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Ive never seen an article about event photography as comprehensive, concise and interesting as this. I am reading this over and over again, mostly before i get to an event to take photos. Thanks, youve been a great help!

  34. 34) Soumya Dasgupta
    April 28, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I don’t think any amount of Adulation is enough for the things you have shared all over your site…I have recommended this site in all my publications….You have an amazing sense and an outstanding concept of photography.
    Thanks for helping so many of us. You have been a PATHFINDER for all of us. Need to meet you soon…

  35. May 17, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Thank you for sharing these great tips. Very concise, easy to follow and helpful.

  36. June 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks again (adding to the chorus). I always appreciate the generous people in the world.

  37. 37) haleem
    June 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    hi, how can i take a confined room (small room) picture in 180 degree.
    i am not a professional photographer, i have just got my first camera nikon 1 j1 with 10-30 mm lens. its taking wide picture but not wide enough, i mean the room is not fitting within.

  38. 38) Niraj
    June 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Hello Nasim.
    You work is Excellent and I come to your tips quite often when I need inputs.
    I have recently bought a Nikon D7000. I have to shoot a Birthday Party event in low light. I also get opportunities to shoot corporate parties.
    Could you suggest a couple of external Flash options and an appropriate DX lens for this kind of need.
    Thanks and Regards

  39. 39) Natalie
    July 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    Thank you so much for this post! I am shooting my first Debutante Ball in 2 weeks and was freaking a bit about the large group lighting, but your post has set my mind at ease and now Im looking forward to shooting it and not dreading it :) Love your website, you are fantastic and I am truely grateful to you for paying it forward.


  40. August 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm


    I think you may have left out a really important alternative flash for this type of photography and that is the “hammerhead” style of flash. I have a Metz 45 (actually a few of them) and the shear power of these flashes make them invaluable, not to mention their flexibility. I agree with your other choices but this type of flash is truly designed for event photography.

  41. 41) Kristin
    August 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Great article. Thanks so much for the tips. I have a couple questions.
    In regards to photographing groups of 3-5 people at corporate events what aperture do you use to keep everyone in focus?
    I will be photographing an Awards Ceremony and Presentations at an upcoming indoor event and plan on renting the Nikon 70-200 2.8 to use with my Nikon D7000. I will also have the 18-105 kit lens and 50mm 1.4. I generally try not to set the shutter speed below 100 when photographing speakers so as to ensure decent facial expressions. What is your opinion on this? Also, when photographing award recipients and presenters what aperture do you recommend?

    Thank you,

  42. January 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm


    WOW! Even though this blog is two years old and I pretty much and dug it up from the past it is an excellent read and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I only got to item number (6) flash photography tips. Before I had to stop and move on with life.

    I did take a moment and drag a link to my desktop and I plan to come back and finish reading it later. Finished or not I wanted to thank you for the beautiful photos and one of the best articles I have read on the subject so far.

    Have a happy day,


  43. 43) Nadia
    January 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Hello Nasim & Lola,
    I just want to say that I started with my photography about 4 years ago & about 3 years ago, I found this article which helped me SO much with an event I photographed at the time. I bought a 50mm f/1.4, used these tips… and never stopped! Your work has been the biggest inspiration for me & these articles, my “schooling” in a way. I have in improved so much over the years & thought it was about time to thank you both. THANKS to all your hard work and your dedication to your readers! Take care.

    • January 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Thank you for your feedback Nadia, we really appreciate it!

      Good luck with your photography!

  44. March 25, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Great article! My favourite lens for events is my Canon 85mm 1.8 – great for bokeh. I’ve also recently upgraded to the 5D mk iii, and the ‘silent shutter’ mode is superb for unobtrusive photography. The 6D also has this feature.

  45. 45) Tom
    March 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Now just tell me how to get the corporate photographer job since most don’t employ them anymore.

  46. April 1, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Some excellent pointers and tips. Particularly the off camera flash and rear synch curtain tips.

  47. 47) Marbert
    April 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Great stuff, but I didn’t see any talk of gels to mix your strobe’s color temp with the ambient. Did I miss that section? A 1/2 CTO gel goes a long way to tie your artificial light in with the room light…which is 99% of the time incandescent in the neighborhood of 3000K, while your strobe is all the way up in 5000K territory. Very blue light in a very orange room. I see wedding and event photogs shooting with ungel’d flash in a tungsten room all the time and wonder why more of them don’t employ this simple step to take their flash shots to the next level.

  48. June 27, 2013 at 11:35 am

    We specialise in corporate and event photography in London. Our biggest problem is badly lit event rooms where we want to avoid using flash as it kills the all natural lighting but normally the levels are so low we have no choice. I think your tip on shooting groups outside is one we will use in future and suggest it at all our coming events.

  49. 49) Tara
    July 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I just got a corporate event gig but I’ve never done one before and I was so lost! I’ll be working out the lighting arrangements shortly. Thanks again!

  50. 50) Кузя
    October 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Прикольные Фотки, (Мы так тоже умеем)

  51. 51) Girish
    October 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Excellent set of points. I am going to photograph a book release tomorrow. This is going to help me a lot. Thanks.

  52. 52) Skvora
    November 6, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Pretty nice guide(s) man! Gives me some inspiration to try and write some more of my own.

  53. 53) monique
    November 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

    you’re awesome, you rock. I’m grateful for this!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  54. 54) greg
    November 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    really appreciate this article, many thanks

  55. November 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Great article. There sure some many different aspects and techniques when shooting events.

  56. December 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Really great studio corporate photography blog. Corporate photography is tricky and so many people you are sent to photograph tell you straight away that they ‘hate having their photo taken’ – I get this all the time and thats where the challenge is, making them comfortable in my studio or at the location. It always works out in the end. You just have to make sure no-one leaves until you have got the shot – and don’t get bossed around by building security, or a jobsworth who says you cant set up where you want. Tell them you’re in charge (nicely) and they’ll bugger off. All best from gideon hart corporate photography studio in london.

  57. 57) Greg
    February 7, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Hi Nasim,

    thanks for all that well written information. It is extremely helpful. I have one question. Would you say that Fuji X system would be sufficient for corporate events photography? Especially now with xt-1 coming out and 2.8 zooms to be announced later this year… I would really appreciate your view on that.



    • February 7, 2014 at 3:06 am

      Greg, absolutely! Add an on-camera or off-camera flash and you will be good to go. I found the Fuji X cameras to focus in low-light pretty well, although it gets a bit slow with just contrast detect. Will have to test the X-T1’s low-light capabilities, particularly focusing.

  58. 58) Arnold
    March 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Somebody just ask me to shoot a corporate christmas party and i haven’t shoot one yet. I shoot lots of family and wedding photography. My question is, how much do you usually charge for a 4 -hour event with profile shots and coverage of programs.

  59. 59) Amy
    April 6, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Thanks for all the great tips and reminders! I’m comfortable with reasonably large group shots (wedding parties), but my church is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month and has asked me to photograph the entire congregation (some 200+ people). I’m hoping for a cloudy day so that I can take them outside and take the photo from above. Any other tips for a REALLY large group? I’m planning to use my Nikon D300, a 24-70mm, f/8 with a pretty fast shutter speed, etc. I could do two off-camera flashes, but it’s tricky outdoors depending on wind.

    Thank you so much!

  60. 60) rodolfo
    May 3, 2014 at 5:33 am


    Thank you, for sharing great tips .

  61. 61) Desmond
    July 17, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Hi Nasim,

    This is a very comprehensive article I ever read, thanks for sharing the great tips. By the way, I have a question regarding the “best lense” use for event photography. Does Nikon 24-120mm f4G lense able to yield good result for event photography especially in low lighting? I am hired to shoot for an event in a cafe next week, and I only owned a 14-24mm f2.8G, 50mm f1.8G and a 24-120mm f4G. First thing to my mind is to bring the 24-120mm and I need some advise from you.

    Thank you

  62. 62) Dona
    July 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to share. Very helpful tips & detailed tips!

  63. 63) Nadia
    February 19, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you very much!!!Very helpful

  64. 64) craig s
    April 20, 2015 at 11:11 am

    You say that when shooting flash, you shoot in manual. I have had trouble with shooting manual while using TTL. When in manual, flash or exposure compensation is disabled and then I cannot control the brightness of the exposure. I had to work in aperture priority to properly control exposure. Am I doing something wrong? Maybe its because I’m using an inexpensive flash? I was using a Metz 44 on a Sony A77. Thanks!

  65. 65) alex
    May 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Do you have any tips for keeping busy at long events? I find it’s difficult to photograph an event that lasts for several hours when all people are doing is eating and talking. After about an hour or so, I’ve already got group shots, detail shots and candid shots. I need to be available, but I can’t keep photographing the same thing for four hours!

  66. 66) Louise St-Amour
    July 27, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Thank you for your great resource. Next week will be my first event. How does it works, Do I need a permission or a release of some sort to take pictures of people during the event?

  67. 67) Nina
    August 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Great article. Quite thorough. You mention modifiers. Which is your favourite?

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