Making the most of your event photographer

You have one opportunity to capture your event in all of its glory, before it is gone forever. Choosing the right event photographer and ensuring they are well prepared is essential. Here are the reasons why we think it is so important and our top tips for capturing stunning event photography.

On Blackheath Festival - Jonathan Ellenor

Don’t Cut Corners

A few years ago after running a huge and complex international conference with over 1,000 attendees the organisers were devastated that the photographs captured were not of the standard they anticipated and that frankly they were not happy using any of them. All of that hard work and all of those magical moments were lost forever.

Unfortunately the client had been adamant that an amateur photographer from their team would do the event justice and that the budget simply was not there to justify a professional photographer. However the voluntary photographer’s lack of experience and lack of photographic equipment or knowledge of using it meant that they failed miserably. Of course once an event is over the moment is lost and without great photos to show it is difficult to easily convey the story of the event. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

If budget is tight and doesn’t allow for a photographer throughout the whole event consider contracting a photographer for a half day or even a few hours. Don’t learn the hard way!

We cover a range of events...

We cover a range of events...

Smartphones vs. Photographer

The cameras on most smartphones and tablets are superb quality and the effects that can be achieved with photo editing apps is astounding – but can you really rely on your audience to crowdsource all of the key moments of the event you need?

We always recommend to clients that a professional event photographer is worth every single penny. I still appreciate and encourage everyone attending my events (staff included) to take photos using their smartphones and tablets and this is great at capturing specific moments and particularly sharing on social media quickly HOWEVER for me there is a huge gap between these snapshots and the quality of the pictures returned by a professional photographer.

If you are committed to the benefits of having a professional photographer how then do you ensure that you get the most from them?

Check Portfolio and References

 It is vital to look at the portfolio and testimonials or references for any photographer you are considering working with. Specifically look at examples of other event work and similar projects they have undertaken and most importantly ensure that you like their style and creative flair.  But also meet the prospective photographer to ascertain wether they will fit within your team.  Also consider the photographer an ambassador for your company and event.  Make sure you know who you are hiring!

You have one opportunity to capture your event in all of its glory, before it is gone forever. Choosing the right event photographer and ensuring they are well prepared is essential. Here are the reasons why we think it is so important and our top tips for capturing stunning event photography.

Ask for a Quotation

Give as much information as possible to the photographer when asking them to quote for a project. What times realistically do you need them on site, what are you looking for them to cover (remember they can only be in one place at a time unless you need a team of photographers!), how many formal shots are you anticipating, how will you use the photographs afterwards, etc.

Image Copyright/Usage

It is important to be clear with the photographer how you wish to use the photographs afterwards. Will they be needed for press releases, uploaded to your website and social media, used for promotion of the event in future years, etc?

Check if the photographer needs to be credited in a specific way? What are the stipulations for how the photographs can or cannot be used?

Note that it is usual for the photographer to continue to own the rights to the photographs but just give you permission to use the shots in agreed ways.

Venue Knowledge

Has the photographer worked at the venue before? If not ensure they arrive in plenty of time to find their way around before they need to start snapping. Do you have room details listed on the programme? Is there a plan of the layout and key areas you could share with them? The photographer will probably be keen to recce the venue and find some well-lit and interesting spaces to use as a backdrop for pictures throughout the event.

Jonathan Ellenor Labour Images-34.jpg

Brief in Advance

The morning of the event is always hectic with lots of demands for your attention. Having a written and/or verbal briefing with the photographer in advance of the day always saves precious time and ensures the photographer can get off to a flying start.

Some of the key items to cover in a brief may include:

What Style of Photography are you Looking For?
Do you need any staged formal shots, shots of speakers and performers in action, reportage, artistic shots of the food, venue and branding, pictures of people networking and engaging, pictures of the staff in action, the registration desk, etc?

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Are They Any Key Timings to Note?
Have you requested that all keynote speakers meet at 8.30am in the main room for a group photography? Are you giving out a secret award at the end of the day and need the photographer to be poised ready to capture the moment? If so, don’t forget to convey this information to the photographer!

Importance
If there are multiple rooms in session at the same time do you expect the photographer to visit all rooms to capture a couple of quick shots from each? Or which rooms/speakers/sessions are the most vital? Would you prefer more time to be dedicated there?

Extra Requests
If you need a headshot for a new member of staff or a specific picture for your website now is the time to request it!

It’s All in the Detail
Any extra details you can share about the rooms and the venue can be really appreciated by the photographer who can ensure they are well prepared and bring along the right lenses and other equipment. For example, is natural light available or will the blackout blinds be drawn? How will the stage and speaker be lit? Is the lighting static or rotating or flashing? Is there a large projection screen behind? Will the speaker have a lapel microphone and be able to roam the stage or will they be static at the lectern? Are there any special effects?

How Soon Do You Need the Pictures after the Event?
Do you need any specific pictures to be prepared urgently? For example, you may have a press release that needs to be issued the morning after the event and need to have a few select shots ready to send with the release.

Post production takes time. Be realistic about the shots you need and work with your photographer to ensure that you get the shots that are important to your post event messaging.

Be Transparent

Don’t forget to let your speakers know that photographs will be taken at the event so they are not surprised to see the camera angled at them as they are presenting in full flow.

Also notify attendees and let them know that photographs will be taken and what the photographs will be used for (e.g. future marketing and promotion of the event).

Ideally ask people to accept terms and conditions at the time of booking or sign as they enter the event that they understand that they may be photographed and they agree to this.

In Conclusion

A great event photographer will stealthily and unobtrusively capture the key moments and essence of your event. Like us Event Planners a good Event Photographer will work hard, often walking for miles and barely taking a break to ensure that the event is reported in its full visual glory.

In this information-overload-of-a-world pictures are more treasured and accessible than ever, as the rise of Instagram and the performance of social media posts including pictures proves. Pictures truly are worth a thousand words and justifying the spend from your event budget on an Event Photographer is truly worth every penny.

Jonathan Ellenor spent 15 years working in the events and conference sector and can bring all of this industry experience with every click of the shutter.  We'd be delighted to here about your next event and how we might work with you.  E-mail us on jonathan@jonathanellenorimaging.com or tweet us @Ellenor_imaging 

Introducing Jonathan Ellenor

Introducing Jonathan Ellenor