A great way to get started in event photography is to apprentice. An apprenticeship is much like an internship. As an apprentice to a photographer, you will assist in the daily work that goes into running a photography business. Such work may include calling or following up with potential clients, seeing projects through to completion, and working on marketing such as updating the photographer's website.
Furthermore, as an apprentice, you will likely work on location at events. This is one of the best things about apprenticing to get started in event photography. As an apprentice, your employer will most likely have you help load film, hold extra cameras, adjust props, and generally assist with whatever he or she needs during the event that is being photographed. While most apprentices are paid, the salary is not likely to be handsome. In order to maintain a livable flow of income, you may have to apprentice on a part-time basis while holding another, more lucrative job until your own work in event photography takes off.
Like most arts-related work, there is no specific process by which people become event photographers. In addition to apprenticing, begin by networking with other people involved in and interested in the arts. Go to gallery openings for photography shows. Get involved with arts organizations in your area. Keep an updated Rolodex and stay in touch with contacts who might either offer you work or help you to win work in the future.
It is not a prerequisite to take photography classes in order to become a photographer. However, taking courses in photography will likely to prove very helpful not only in terms of improving your craft, but also in terms of widening your circle of contacts. Both your professors and fellow students are ideal people to network with. Furthermore, photography courses often culminate with a show of the students' work. This is a great way to get experience in hanging and showing your photography.
Finally one of the best ways to get started in event photography is to start working in the field as soon as possible, even if you begin working for little or no money for friends and family. It is very hard to win clients without a portfolio or website for them to reference. In order to build up your experience, photograph graduations, weddings, religious confirmations, and parties that involve close friends or family members. Even if you are only reimbursed for the cost of film and printing, you will have photographs to show to potential clients interested in having you work for them.