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Taking memorable photos at special events

Whatever your style of preferred portrait photography; weddings, parties, family holidays and festivals are great occasions to get the camera out and start taking pictures of people.

You probably won't be working with professional models or posing people for their photograph but applying some of the lessons and principles in this guide will mean you get the best out of your subjects and get some great images.

Portrait-Women-Hat-RowingOld Wrinkle, Francesco Gernone

This shot by Francesco Gernone is a good travel candid image. Making great use of diagonals in the frame, one created by the brim of her hat and another by the paddle creates an interesting composition. Using the wide brimmed hat to eliminate most of the direct sun and harsh shadow on the subject face allows for plenty of detail, essential for adding character to the portrait.

Always ready to take a shot

Firstly, keep your camera close and switched on. You can't take pictures with your camera in the bag so keep it handy for those instant moments. If the light is changeable consider using Aperture Priority mode; this lets the camera take control of your basic exposure leaving you to enjoy the day and look for the next photo opportunity.

Portrait-Wedding-RingPrstýnek, Mrs Petra Lončákov

This wedding shot by Petra Lončákov captures a split second moment as one of the guests looks at the bride's ring, having your camera switched on and ready to go allows you to capture more special moments.

If you are a guest at a wedding or party, look for different and interesting poses, something that the other photographers might not think of. Use these opportunities to experiment a little as well as getting shots you know will work.

Portrait-Women-Fire-EaterNuits Romanes – Ayazin, Lorrie Vallier

Lorrie has been very clever capturing this candid shot of a fire dancer lighting her batons. Using the fire pit as light source and positioning so that there is also activity and light in the background produces an image that captures the event perfectly. Your camera may tend to overexpose images like this as it attempts to even out light in the dark areas. Use exposure compensation to darken your image in these instances.

Natural light is best

Try to avoid using the flash on your camera, it is both distracting for your subjects and also produces flat, uninteresting light on your subject. If shooting in low light consider a high ISO and a lens with a large maximum aperture.

Portrait-Black-And-White-BandMúsica a contraluz, Toni Gutierrez

Toni has done a great job seeking out the only light source in this very dark scene and using it effectively to create this really atmospheric image. When light is in short supply look for creative opportunities. Shooting directly into this light source and playing a figure directly in front has produced a great silhouette, perfect to illustrate the subject's activity. Careful exposure control has been put into practice here, ideally set your camera to Manual mode for full control.

Only select the best

Once you have finished shooting don’t forget to edit your images. Taking time to look through your images is a vital process both in learning what works and only delivering your best work. Aim to produce a small final set of images that represent the event, show them to friends and ask for their opinion on your set of images. Presenting your images on a website or social media site is a good way to get feedback on your work.

Portrait-New-Born-ToesFather and son, Mrs Petra Lončáková

Look for the unusual. Portraits don’t have to focus on their eyes. Petra has taken this fantastic image of a father and baby. There are no eyes in the frame but the photo conveys a lot of emotion and meaning. Converting to black and white really brings out the baby’s skin on its feet.

Photobooks need a wide variety of images

Another great way to present your images is to create a photo book. If you are planning a book for an upcoming event it pays to have a rough idea of the layout and what kind of images you want to include so you can shoot images accordingly. In general, when selecting images for a book having variety in your work will help you with the layout. Shoot subjects from different angles. Landscape, portrait, wide and close-up detail shots of the same subject will give you options when selecting the images for your book.

Find out how you can create high definition photobooks with Canon HD Books.

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