Whether it’s a birthday party or wedding festivities, you need someone to click beautiful, candid pictures of everyone to preserve memories. You don’t want the camera lens to miss any bursts of laughter or moment of emotional catharsis as you sit with friends and family.

If you’ve hired a professional lifestyle photographer for the event, you’re all set. But if you’re the self-proclaimed photographer, struggling with camera settings to take good pictures, these tips might help.

Find the Best Light

Good lighting is a photographer’s best friend, especially if the event is outdoors. When you’re depending on the sun to illuminate the scene and douse your photography subject with a beautiful warm glow, you’re literally on a clock. You get the best lights at golden hour, so there’s only a brief window for you to work with and click as many photographs as possible.

Set up the camera and everything else before the prime photography hour. This way you won’t waste time fidgeting with camera lenses when the clock strikes photography hour. Observe your subjects—which may be your friends and family—and catch them when they’re being their natural self, not posing for the camera.

Notice the angles that catch light in their eyes or make the shadows dance in a way that makes their form appear more attractive. Balance light and dark in your pictures and see what keeps your pictures closest to the natural scene.

Fill the Frame

If you want to capture the look of wonder on a child’s face as they look at a balloon or a mother getting teary-eyed, fill the frame with that expression. Don’t leave empty spaces in the frame because that takes attention away from the subject. You want to keep your subject in focus; dive right into the moment and zoom into the beauty of that moment as you capture the whole scene.

While it’s easier to hold your camera phone up and click a picture of a panoramic scene, it’s harder to zero in on one object or person and capturing that scene in their entirety. Practice it at home before the event so that you get better at capturing details in high definition.

Don’t Settle for Less

Stiff shots are the worst. They’re unrealistic, forced, and dishonest. However, photographers always struggle with people who are camera shy. They would stop smiling when they see your lens aimed at them or put on a fake expression instinctively that ruins the moment. Here’s a tip when you’re working with camera-shy people: be quick.

When you see someone about to burst into laughter, be ready with your camera and click multiple shots at once. Don’t allow them the time to realize that you’re photographing them. Alternatively, find secret hiding spots to avoid notice.

Keep your hands steady and camera ready so that you click the perfect picture immediately. The swifter you are, the less awkward people will get. People get shy, embarrassed or awkward when you ask them to stand in front of the camera until you get a satisfactory shot.

Does it feel like a lot to take in? If it’s a big event, let our experienced event photographers take over while you learn. We’re based in Toronto, CA, and would be more than happy to cover an event for you. Visit our website for a rundown on our services or get in touch with us right here.