10 Tips for working with a Corporate Event Photographer
An event photographer is an important part of any corporate event, conference or trade show. They provide lasting memories for the guests, help bring the event planners vision to life, ongoing promotion for event venues, endorsement for speakers.
Drawing on my experience of many years as a professional event photographer, covering events, conferences and hospitality programmes around the world, I’ve made this list of suggestions for getting the best from your professional event photographer.
1. Hire a Professional
Conference and event photography is a specialist field. Take time to check the portfolio and creditials of the event photographer you’re hiring, making sure their output and style suits your requirements. That nice man who took the photos at Aunty Ethel’s 90th might not be up to the riggors of an three day event.
In these days of the ubiquitous smart phone camera, it might be tempting to crowdsource or use the intern’s fancy new kit they got on holiday. But you’ve only got one chance to document your event and there will be a huge gap in the quality of the amateur and what a professional can deliver.
A portfolio of shots from a professional event photographer are always going to make pitching for the next job or justifying the budget to the folks in accounts a lot easier.
* If your budget is tight, consider getting the event photographer in for a selected time period that will showcase your event at its best.
Take time to brief the event photographer on your expectations and requirements before the event. You know you’ll be busy on the day so do this in advance. This is also helpful for the photographer in their own time and equipment planning.
*If there are events in multiple rooms make sure the photographer knows when and where – prioritise which and for how long.
3. Run Sheet
Supply a detailed run sheet so the event photographer knows what is happening and is ready, in the right place, at the right time.
Make sure you include the timing for any group shots, secret awards, surprise acts, birthday cakes and any other random things that pop up throughout the event.
4. Shot List
Create a shot list of the specific shots that you require throughout the event. Making sure you cover the less conspicuous including operational, set up, gifts, awards and staff shots.
Often things that seem most obvious are the very things missed – those props or flowers you spent all that money on or industry specific equipment that doesn’t appear impressive to the uninitiated.
Supplying a shot list pre-event is also invaluable for the event photographer in planning the kit requirements.
* Start your shot list early on in your own planning process so all those little details aren’t forgotten.
5. Set Up Photos
If you require specific individual or group shots set this up in in advance – any experienced event photographer will spot a suitable location.
Schedule a specific time and make sure all participants know they’re needed for a photo. It’s always best if you allocate a staff member with a list of names to co-ordinate. This list will also be useful to identify who’s in each shot along with the photo number.
Make sure there is enough space for the size of any groups, position branding and ensure the event photographer has any additional equipment placed in advance.
Need head shots for business profiles, websites, LinkedIn, business cards or a new staff member? Now is the time to request it – if time allows.
Awards night photos are often best done off the stage, away from the coloured lights, adoring crowd and clock watching stage managers.
* If you’re going to use the stage for group shots do it well in advance, preferably before the audience is seated.
6. The Stage
This is the often the place where you want the best photos to be taken and often the place where it’s hardest to get them. So many variables – lights, screens, lecterns, speakers (human & the sound type), branding, microphones, abandoned water bottles, special effect projectors and so on.
What could possibly go wrong?
An experienced event photographer will be used to working around all sorts of stage set ups but any information you can supply in advance is always appreciated so they have the correct equipment to hand. Consider items such as projection screens, special effects, natural or coloured lighting, lectern positions and whether the speaker be moving or static.
*Avoid positioning a lectern in line with projection equipment – the speaker will have words projected upon them and be looking into a bright light.
7. Room Set Up
As with the stage, any advance information on how the venue or rooms set-up is invaluable.
A professional events photographer always aims to be as unobtrusive as possible within the venue. Easy access to a number of different areas for a variety of shots from different angles, provides the best results.
8. Delivery (time)
An experienced conference and events photographer will appreciate the requirement for rapid delivery of edited photos to maintain momentum post event. I always aim to have all images available within 24 hours. Make sure this is discussed and agreed in advance.
*Let your event photographer know in advance if any photos are required urgently for press releases or PR purposes so they know to have editing equipment on hand.
9. Usage and access
Brief your event photographer in advance about the intended uses for the photographs as this may affect the style, content and type of photos needed.
Decide in advance the best way for the photos to be delivered. I use branded online web galleries with a facility to download individual or bulk photos – these galleries are great if there are multiple people requiring access.
Some corporate clients are unable to access such sites so files can be sent using any number of file transfer services, on a USB Drive or on a good old disk.
10. Tell Everyone
Don’t keep it a secret that you’ve managed to get the best conference and event photographer in the world to cover your event.
Let the speakers and attendees know the proposed usage of the photos and how they can access them if required. If anyone has an aversion to being photographed, let the photographer know (you can identify them simply with a wrist band or a coloured dot on their name badge, etc).
Make the event photographer look part of the team by providing the same name badge or lanyard as the other event staff.
Hotel, restaurant or venue managers often appreciate knowing that a photographer will be in attendance.
Elite Image covers conference, tradeshow and event photography in Northern Ireland, London, Dublin and beyond.