As a photographer, you might get asked to take pictures in some demanding locations.
A wedding might be rained out and moved indoors, which means a big change in approach. You might have to do a christening in a darkened church or a bridal shower in someone’s home. One element of photography you may not regularly get asked to do, but should be ready for, is an indoor casino event.
There are increasing numbers of events that take place in casinos, and they are especially popular for bachelor parties. Theplunge.com discusses how casinos have become popular bachelor party destinations, and many of today’s grooms-to-be want pictures from those parties. It might be for their social media profile or just the memories, but you might find yourself tasked with taking photos of them playing a host of games, especially poker. Poker is a great bachelor party game, with Poker.org explaining how millions play the game worldwide. Indeed, the New York Times even suggests poker has become something of a US obsession again, making it more likely to be part of a bachelor party evening. The advantage with poker is you might not even be in a casino; it could be a basement or someone’s house. The situation is largely the same, the subjects want great pictures to remember the event by, and you have to facilitate that.
If you are asked to visit a casino with a bachelor party to capture their evening forever, these are the tips you need to remember.
This is crucial, but if you get invited along, make sure you’re allowed to take photos. Many casinos have a strict ‘no photo’ policy, and therefore you’d waste your time heading out. Don’t expect your clients to do that work; make sure you’re prepared and make the call yourself.
We’re assuming you know what equipment is needed here, but there are a few basics you should ensure you have; casinos are not always lit dimly as you might believe on TV, but a flash will be useful. You might get pulled up if you’re flashing away all night, so don’t plan to make it a core part of your strategy. You’ll need the same kit in your bag for a typical indoor shoot; the difference is what to look for rather than how to capture it. Ideally, if you’ve got a gig shooting a bachelor party, you’ll already know what kit to take.
Know the Game
You must understand the game the party plays. If they’re around a poker table, knowing when there will be a reaction is important. For instance, if you’re taking shots of a Texas Hold’em game, knowing when the flop is coming is going to be crucial; that’s the key moment a hand hinges on. If you’ve followed the game, you’ll know who the big players are, so focus on them at the right time.
The same goes for all games; if they’re on the roulette table, have one eye on the wheel and another on your subject. As you notice the ball coming to a stop, that’s the time to click away. Like all sports photography, it’s best to go for multiple shots, and then you can pick the best one.
If your subject knows there is a camera pointing at them, they might act up, and that’s not ideal. A bachelor party is intimate, personal and fun. You’re looking for the tender moments; the exciting incidents and the stills that will make people laugh for years. You’ll only get those by being part of the background, not front and center of the game.
Focus on the Groom
He is the bachelor, the subject of the event, and so you need to focus on him more than the others. If in doubt during a game, look at him, point the camera in his direction and just get some shots. You can mix the memory card with epic gaming moments featuring everybody, but it would be disappointing if there were 500 shots and only 15 of him, even if he is a shrinking violet. Look at it this way; most of the pictures will feature the bride or the groom on a wedding shoot. A bachelor party is the same; the bulk should feature him, made up of key moments from around the poker table or roulette wheel.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our guide to wedding shoots, titled ‘Essential Tips
For Beginner Wedding Photographers’.