First off, I really enjoy photographing events/ receptions/ concerts because they're fun and it's different every time. The people are dressed or are acting in a unique way and that affects the mood of the scene and the images will have a completely different "feel" every time I'm working. It's great to do that kind of shooting and I honestly love it.
Now, I've posted some of my work on social media from paying clients to showcase what I do (because I have to pay rent/ vet visits for my pup/ afford food for me and my pup/ etc. to try and draw in future clients), and I got a great, positive reaction and a ton of questions. Most of them were, "What equipment did you use?", "What were your settings?", or "Did you have an assistant?" The honest answer is that I can give you everything I did about each shot and it wouldn't work for you. I have to adjust my settings and my light for each shot. It's fast paced and you need to think on your feet every second. The other big tip is that light reacts the same, generally, no matter what you do with it. So if you have an issue, just work around it and do it quick because you're missing moments if you taking too long.
First off, setting your ambient for the lighting in the event. I balance two things with this, the length of the shutter speed is the inverse of the length of the lens as a minimum and that people are moving at all times. Posed images are great because you can really slow down your shutter if you need to with the inverse of the lens length being your slowest shutter. Some people will drag a shutter and use flash to stop motion and I think that rear curtain sync is fun and useful for very artsy photos and when feeding on the emotional attachment of the image, but for grin and grab moments, I need sharp eyes and that won't happen as well with that method.
I'm a big proponent of bouncing flash in a fast paced setting. Off camera flash just isn't practical in event photography because you will be by yourself in a very big crowd and you need to get a sellable image every minute or so. Also, on camera flash produces flat images which look like your cell phone took them and then why am I there? They don't sell well (which is a BIG deal) and changing the direction of where the light is coming from is incredibly easy in an interior area.
What I'm always looking for is an area behind me at 45 degrees and above me at about 45 degrees that can bounce light onto a subject. I will error a bit and be a little lower than higher to avoid shadows caused by the brow of peoples foreheads. (I see this all the time with people not taking care where they bounce and just aiming at the ceiling.) If you want to imagine someone looking straight into the camera and they had horns coming out... that is the direction you want light coming from. If you're just trying to get the most pleasing light as possible quickly, I find this trick to work pretty well most of the time.
A couple other things, I use TTL when shooting an event. Yep, no manual for me. There's a bunch of lights changing the ambience and people moving and every time you turn to take an image the wall or object to bounce off will be closer or further away. TTL was made for this and it's great. I spot meter my subject because I want the eyes and face to be the in the best possible light. I also pay attention to the eyes or sets of eyes in the photo. Are they on the same plane/ what focal length am I shooting/ do I have enough latitude to get the group all in focus or will I need to bump the aperture?
That's my process how I run through an event when shooting. If you enjoyed this read, let me know below with a comment or sign up for my mailer when new posts are up! Also, keep up with my photography on my Facebook page (the "f" featured below.)