How to Shoot Event Photography with Paul McKelvey

In this video, ay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens talks to Paul McKelvey of Kobra Modifiers and discuss the topic of event photography.

The first part of the video sees Jay and Paul chatting about the various pieces of equipment that Paul takes to an event, covering camera bodies, lenses, tripods, and flashes.

After this, Paul discusses the techniques he uses to get the best event shots and passes over some invaluable tips for all event photographers, no matter how experienced.

These include:

  1. Shooting with the flash OFF camera so you can direct the light where you want it, and is not affected by switching from landscape to portrait.
  2. Pause for a second after shooting your first picture so that your subjects think the shot is done and naturally relax. Then grab a candid picture – Paul says that these are often some of the best shots that he captures at events.

Paul also discusses his own invention, the Kobra flash diffuser, which he designed with event photography in mind and explains how he uses it to great effect while covering events and how it’s designed specifically with this type of photography in mind.

Next, Paul runs through how a typical evening event would go, starting with how he uses his camera rig and moving on to discussing camera settings such as ISO settings and shutter speeds. For example, he suggests to always set your flash to camera to manual and your flash to TTL, when it comes to ISO – don’t go too low so you will also get some of the background in, Paul goes between 1200-2000 ISO typically (this is, of course, a personal choice but play with the ISO and see what works for your shots). Try to shoot relatively wide open (half a stop to a stop above the max of your lens – depending on the situation).

Finally, there is a demonstration in an event set up so we can see some of the poses that Paul as well as some useful tips for the event itself including when shooting at a sponsored event where there are celebrities – try and have them with the sponsor logo in the back (sponsors love that and that might increase your chances of getting rehired for the next event).

If you’re considering covering event photography, this video will give you everything you all the information you need to get set up and show you some simple and effective methods to capture your events.

You can find a lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid, and you can find all of Jay P. Morgan’s videos here on LensVid on the following link.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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