If you want flawless photographs of your red carpet event, keep these 3 things in mind:
- Pick the right backdrop material
- Have the right ambient lighting
- Find the right angle & test before it’s time
Getting these three right isn’t hard but makes all the difference
1. Materials, Glare & Your Choice of Camera
Glare is the most common frustration and issue with photographing a red carpet event. The common use of vinyl as a backdrop material is the core reason for this problem. Choosing alternative materials such as fabric will eliminate this problem. The reason vinyl creates this problem is because it is a plastic based material which may look great at first light but looks terrible behind any professional’s camera. Ironically, using a decent point and shoot camera or iPhone will go a long way to address this issue. This is because the manufacturers design these cameras with problems like glare in mind and build glare reduction technology right into their technology. The problem, as any photographer would identify, is that this correction comes at the cost of image quality. The cost of cutting the glare of the vinyl is making your subjects look flat and lifeless, while also compromising the quality of the logos and brands being showcased on the backdrop.
If glare is the enemy then your on-camera flash is its best friend. When photographing a backdrop in low lighting, make sure to invest in off camera light boxes (or “soft boxes”). These will increase the overall lighting and reduce the amount of sheen on your subjects’ faces and the amount of glare spots in your photographs.
Light boxes can be rented from any local photography store at super reasonable rates. I usually suggest Henry’s but am sure any equivalent store will likewise be able to address this problem. Often, event organizers opt to use base or top mounted lights (which we sell). While these may improve the “feel” they will do nothing in terms of addressing the issue of overall ambient lighting.
3. Angled shooting and Test Runs
No matter what your setup is, take the time to review what your shots are coming out like. Too often people cut off key parts of the shot or include needless clutter in the background of their shots. This is often compounded by the fact that when shots of vinyl step and repeats are taken direct on (rather than on a preferred 45% angle to reduce glare from mounted flashes) the logos surrounding the subjects are entirely lost. While some of this can and is corrected in post production clean up, one can easily avoid this issue by not photographing subjects directly at an eye to eye level. Work your angles and invest in photographers who have great portfolio shots of subjects in front of the type of photo wall you are using.