Event Photography – Restaurants

Written by:

First off (and good morning to you all!), I’m looking for some advice. I need a Canon zoom lens that works well in low light levels. I’m thinking of the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens. Has anyone had any experience with this lens? Would you recommend something else?

The reason I ask is because of a certain client of mine. He owns a small cafe in my hometown and hosts regular tapas parties. The parties are always at night, the lighting in the cafe is firmly set to “mood”, and the use of a flash is prohibited. So, I’ve been using my 50mm f/1.4 prime. The problem is, the size of the establishment is such that it’s VERY hard to get full-room shots because I can’t back up far enough. So, I need a fast zoom lens that works as well as my prime in low light, but offers far more flexibility in framing the shot. Any thoughts?

In keeping with this subject, I thought I would offer my own suggestions and thoughts regarding event photography in a restaurant:

1. Arrive a good hour prior to the scheduled start of the event. It is important to give yourself the time to review the layout of the establishment, the lighting, take some test shots, and figure out your angles.

2. Talk to the owner, the head chef, and the host of the event (in my client’s case, he usually has a representative from a brewery or winery who is pairing their product with the tapas being offered). Ask about what kinds of shots they’re looking for.

3. Arrange to photograph the foods and beverages being offered prior to the rush of serving the attendees. Head into the kitchen, if you’re allowed, and work with the chef to arrange samples of the food on a plate in some quiet corner. That way you can get a good presentation on the food, and possibly be allowed to sample some of the delicacies!

4. Stay mobile. Don’t be shy! Take shots of folks enjoying their food and beverages, and conversing with one another. As the chef or host introduces each course, take shots of them speaking to the attendees. Get the reactions as the food is set before them. Even get shots of folks forking food into their mouths – anything that gives a good perspective of what it was like to attend the event.

5. In keeping with #4, try to stay out of the way as much as possible. Especially in a small establishment crowded with attendees, the serving staff needs to be able to move easily among the tables. It’s important to have a fast lens and a steady hand, because it’s often too crowded to incorporate the use of a tripod.

6. Shoot in RAW, which allows you to adjust the exposure of the shots in post-processing. And, if you find yourself moving around a lot, it might be beneficial to just keep your camera on “Program Mode” (“P” on the dial of a Canon camera) so that the shutter speed and aperture are set for you. That way you can quickly capture shots and move on to the next without having to pause and fiddle with the adjustments.

Photo Credits (all): Laura Charon.

Previous Post:

Comments are closed.