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The 9 Best Pro Photo Tips To Make Money Photographing Events in 2017

Updated on February 16, 2017
View from top using a ladder
View from top using a ladder

What to take with you to a photo session

If you have already shot an event such as a sport event or a wedding, you know that it can be very stressful because there are tons of things you have to take care about. You, and your models, must be prepared before the photo shoot.

Starting a session without any idea of what will happen, with no preparation of the camera settings, and all the right gear and equipment, it will put you in stress. But before start naming all the items, remember that these are only suggestions. The items you can bring to a photoshoot are endless so bring as many assets as you feel it is right. Always keep in mind that you must feel free to pick what you will need according to your type of photography and leave behind all the rest.

So, after years of shooting events, here are my suggestions:

  • Small ladder - to pick different angles, like this photo
  • Towels - you never know if you will need to clean yourself or your gear
  • Black shirt - don't use bright and vivid colors on your clothes or will have to adjust every single photo
  • Umbrella - you may use it on a rainy day or use it as a prop
  • Toys - for kids or pets. They have fun and your photos work much better.
  • Sunscreen - protect your models in case there is a strong sun
  • Insect Repellant - in case you are shoting in the wild
  • Water - even in cold days, your photo shoot can take a little longer and a bottle of water will be very important
  • Protein bars - if you don't have time to stop, protein bars will feed you to keep it going
  • Antihistamine - we never know if a fever strikes. Be prepared for it.
  • Plastic Bags - very helpful to make weight on your tripod
  • Flash units - if you have one and want to use it. You can use it even in sunny days
  • Camera - digital or analogic. One or more.
  • Memory Cards - never forget a store device or you will shoot nothing
  • Battery - and some extra charged batteries
  • Battery charger - you may need to recharge
  • Cable Release - this is the best way to fire the shutter. No camera shake.
  • Light meter - the best way to read the light
  • Laptop - in case you wanna move photos from your camera
  • Cables - all your gear need. Don't forget one or everything will go wrong
  • Lenses - everything. Don't leave any behind. You never know what can really will happen in a photo session
  • Pocket wizards - for remote flash operations
  • Light stands, umbrella heads, ankle weights
  • Reflectors - they can be the key for great photos. Pick several colors
  • Scissors - or tweezers. Great for clipping small wildflowers that can ruin some photos
  • Microfiber cloth - for cleaning your camera lens and your camera
  • Flashlight - you may use it to highlight your path at night or you share some light on a rock in a dark photo
  • Fishing line - it's great to hold branches out of the way
  • Small coin - to use on those tripod bracket screws
  • Filters - to make more creative photos
  • Filter holder - the object where you place the filters
  • Filter case - to be easy to access them when you need
  • Color card - to make post-production adjustment, like X-Rite Photo Color Checker Passport
  • Reflector - to bring more light to your model.
  • Assistant - bring someone with you to help in the photo shoot, because it will be much easier
  • Make-up kit - to bring the best out of your models
  • Concealer, lipstick (various colours), blush, makeup remover, cotton balls. eyeshadow (various colours), hairpins, cottons swabs, comb - to take care of your models
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mirror - it can help your model to check the make-up or help you shoot creative photos
  • Props - like hats, jewelry, glasses, sunglasses, hair ties, and so on
  • Pre-selected Photo samples - they may give you some creative ideas
  • Knee pads - if you ever worked on your knees, then you know why they are so important
  • Passport - in case you're travelling by air
  • Driver's license - in case you're travelling by car
  • Hat - a wide one to protect your head and your eyes from the sun
  • iPod - filled with your model favorite songs
  • Space heater - for studio sessions. Trust me. Models will love it. :)
  • Business Card - you may find some people that you can share your business and get even more work to do

I encourage you to make your own list from these items before your next session. You know what you really need according to your type of photography. Print your list and make a checkup review of every item before leaving. It will give you a much better chance of success.

Gear to use in events

It all depends on the type of your event and about your type of photography.

For Sport Events:

It is essencial to have a tripod or monopod in everyshot because you will have to use a faster shutter speed. It is also important to take equipment to protect you and your gear from rain or snow.

If your subjects will be close to you, use a very wide angle lens like a 10-20mm. If your subjects are very far away from you, take a zoom lens but with the best apperture you can have it like a 70-200mm F2.8.

Check the table below to see which parameters you should use to have sharp photos on moving elements:

Sharpness Table

Object Speed
Meters per second
1/8000 sec
1/4000 sec
1/2000 sec
1/1000 sec
1/500 sec
1/250 sec
5 MPH - 8KM/H
10 MPH - 16Km/h
25 MPH - 40Km/h
50 MPH - 80Km/h
100 MPH - 160Km/h
150 MPH - 240Km/h
To have a sharp photo, check your object speed and the lens you are equipped with. Bold cells tell you which lens distance you can use so the photo will be sharp.

Wedding Events

These kind of events are particular hard to shoot because you will use very different kind of lenses like zooms and wide angle lenses. So I recommend to have two cammeras with a zoom lens and another one with a wide angle lens.

If you cannot afford two cameras, the best option is to use a lens that can cover from 16mm to 200mm. This way you will be ready to shoot everything and be ready to capture every moment for that unique special event of your models.

Studio Sessions

At the studio you should use all of your light equipment, umbrellas, reflectors, pocket wizards, and so on. About the lenses you should use, it all depends on your kind of photography style. If you shoot living models like people or animals, I recommend for you not to use tripods so you can make creative photos and move along to get the best of your models. Since the light will help you to get fast shoots, you don't need to worry about sharp photos.

Outdoor Sessions

If you are going to take photos in the exterior, take with you all the lenses you have. It all depends on your photography style. I personally use a 70-200mm f2.8 so I can take portraits and also get some details. Because it's a fast lens, I can shoot until almost night with high iso.

I personally don't recommend tripods or monopods when I photograph people because they move and I want to move along with them. If I'm shooting non-moving subjects like rocks or I want steady water shots, I use a tripod and graduated filters.

What time is the best to shoot?

There are many blogs and sites telling you should shoot at the afternoon because of the orange color you can get on your photos. I don't agree at all. You can shoot at the dawn or even at night. You can take great photos at any time, even inside your own home.

If you want to shoot stars or at night, you will need a tripod and a cable release. In the morning, remember to wake up early and get to the place before the sun rise so you can get those unique magenta colors. If you photograph at afternoon, you will get that orange color on your subjects. Some people really like it.

At the middle of the day, like 2pm, you get the sun from above. If you get inside a forest, you will catch those shiny ray lights you can find some great photos.

You really can shoot at any time of the day. You just have to be creative and get the best of the light at the moment. Or pick the right time to make the photo you want.

The light at the middle of the day can create great colors if you get into a forest
The light at the middle of the day can create great colors if you get into a forest

Where to sell photos online?

Postcard Photos
Stock Images
Photo Sessions and Events

Mobile Apps you must use

For Desktop Applications, I recommend:

For Mobile Applications, I recommend:



How much should you charge?

Always be reasonable and make fair prices. Also don't lower your price because your competition make less than you. Stay firm to your convictions and create your brand, and make your work stand out with excellence.

Also, make your price per hour, and not per total of photos. Your work should not be based on number of photos.

Photo Sessions at Studio (for a client)

Depeding on what you have and what you use, set your price between US$100 and $200. Less than this will not help you at all and will destroy your reputation. If you are a superb well-known photographer, raise your fee according to your feelings.

Photo Sessions Outside (for a client)

Set your price between US$50 and $100. If you have to take lights, and all the set, add more US$100.

Events (to sell online)

Set your price between US$ 1 and $5. At SellPhotoEvents you can se your price and there are no comissions.

Set a fair price and don't lower it because of other photographers. Stick to it.
Set a fair price and don't lower it because of other photographers. Stick to it.

Most Profitable Photo Events

Since I have been photographing events, I have noticed that the most profitable ones are those with children. Parents will not even look at the price of your photos if you shoot their kids. Be at events where parents do not have access to special places to shoot kids like inside the ring on a gymnastic contest.

Pet events like dog competitions can also be profitable if you have access to exclusive spots to shot them.

If you pick events like running races, people tend to ignore you or ignore the watermarks. Also, runners go for so many events, that they really don't care about their own photos.

So, once more, go for kids' events, kids at school or kids anywhere. Remember that you must have better photos than the parents so that you can sell them.

Protect Your Photos From Stealing

The best way to protect your photos is to fill them with watermarks like letters or a logo. Most websites do this in the fly. Just upload and people will not be able to steal clean and sharp, full sized photos. This is the most effective way.

Remember that disable mouse right button to save the photos does not work very well since all browsers nowadays can disable javascript.

Some websites also put a transparent image above the image but it does not work also since browsers like Firefox show all the media a webpage has.

Flikr tries to prevent users from stealing photos but you can use Page info to show the photo. And you can click on the "Save As... button" and get the file.
Flikr tries to prevent users from stealing photos but you can use Page info to show the photo. And you can click on the "Save As... button" and get the file.

How To Get Buyers

This is probably the hardest part of your job.

If you shoot stock images, the best places are:

If you shoot events like sport events, there are some tricks:

- Use a shirt with your domain at the front and on the back, like Many websites like or, let you pick your own domain name if available.

- Give flyers to people at entrance of the event

- Ask the organization to put an advertising screen with your info, on the entrance and where people will watch the event

- Ask for people emails or contacts and send them your info using a mailing list application

- Watermark your photos with your domain and upload a few on Facebook event page

My Favorite Books for Photographers

  • - by Keegan Allen
  • It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War - by Lynsey Addario
  • Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time - by Beth Moon
  • How to Create Stunning Digital Photography - by Tony Northrup

© 2015 Francisco Campos


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