Spotlight: Family Portrait Portfolio
January 9, 2019
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Small Event Photos: How to Maximize Your Inspiration with Micro-Plans

Similar, Yet… 

If you’re hosting a small event you likely have noticed how similar they can feel to larger and more elaborate celebrations, like weddings.

Take, for example, the fact that small events are often held at the same gorgeous restaurants and halls as wedding receptions. Also, like a wedding, your loved ones and friends will be arriving looking their best and ready to socialize.

These similarities can help you realize fresh ideas that make the most out of your private small event. A lovely location and even lovelier guests are the perfect equation for photos. The bonus? The stress factor is much lower with a small event, so you can have more  fun and flexibility with your plans!


Covered with Candids

You already know that Lumine Photography loves a fabulous candid capture. Your event is no exception. I will be sure to capture lots of relaxed images.  As a matter of fact, if you want the entire event to be candid, I can make that happen and it will be beautiful.

Of course the odds are that you would love to have a few camera-aware images at your event. Let’s go over a few stress-free concepts that can help you organize some standout portraits!



When considering ideas for camera-aware photos (portraits and formals), I have a tip for keeping them fun. Instead of taking on  big structured ideas or trying to direct your guests, consider small actions that have a big impact. I call these impactful, yet small ideas “micro-plans”.


Checklist for formals at the first location: If your small event has two locations you’ll want to maximize your time before moving to your second locale. This is a great premise for a checklist. This can be as simple as using a notes app on your phone, or even texting the checklist to yourself. This way, there are no decisions to be made under pressure. You’ve got your list, you can stick to it, and then move onto the celebration!


Table-by-Table: Just like the couple visiting each table at a wedding, you can consider greeting each table at your event. I can capture the candids as you greet the table, then move in for a closer camera-aware portrait as you wrap up your greetings and prepare to move to the next table.

Make it Known: If you are giving a speech, it is a great time to let guests know that you would like to capture a certain type of camera-aware portrait; table-by-table, backdrop, or banquet. Don’t feel like speaking up? No worries. Your guests will pick up on the patterns they see. Once they notice you are visiting tables, or that people are heading to the cupcake table for a photo with your bundle of joy, they will be sure to pick up on these cues and participate. I work really hard to keep the direction feeling breezy and relaxed, but I also make sure to gently encourage guests to partake in photos.

Backdrop: A backdrop series of images doesn’t need any advanced planning. If you are bringing stands and a fabric backdrop, that’s awesome! If you’re not, don’t worry. Backdrops are everywhere already, and I am here to help you identify the perfect spot at your event. Backdrop photos are especially great for birthdays and baptisms. The person of honor can stay in front of the backdrop, while guests stop by for a quick portrait.


The Banquet Photo: A client favorite! The banquet photo is a group photo of every guest at your event. This will require a tiny bit of planning; you’ll want to plan to ask everyone to stand together. A great time to ask everyone for the banquet photo is at the end of any speech you give. I specialize in panoramas and I’m great at directing these. When in doubt, tell me to make it happen!

Enjoy Yourself: This is the most important factor of all! Whether you choose to try out all or none of these micro-plans, the key to having a great time is to stick with what you enjoy. The most priceless images are those that remind you of the lovely time you experienced with your friends and family. If you’re smiling, the photos will be gorgeous no matter the style of photo!

Photographer & Owner of Lumine Photography. You already know I love capturing the human experience through photographs and films. Did you also know I enjoy making friends with the ravens & crows (my bird call is pretty great!) on my block, swimming in Lake Michigan, & pausing a film to take notes when I think a scene is perfectly lit?