You are holding a business or private event and have recognised the need for good photography – perhaps to provide your guests with a way to remember your event or to ‘sell’ your next event.
You’ve therefore hired a professional photographer – so how do you get the most value for your money?
Here are some tips to get the most out of your professional event photography:
Provide a brief.
Ensure your photographer has a running sheet of your event, with most important aspects highlighted, such as award presentations. They don’t need a blow-by-blow description of every detail and speech for the night, just the main activities and timings. This will help them plan their shots and ensure they won’t miss anything.
Ideally, you will also point out the types of shots you want covered – for example, do you want group shots of each table? Is a room shot showing styling, before guests enter, important to you? Always provide this information before the day of the event so your photographer comes prepared with the right equipment. (Of course, your photographer should be asking you for all this information anyway!)
If you’ve seen professional event photos of another event that you really liked, provide examples to your photographer and discuss what you are after. For example, do you want posed shots of groups of people smiling at the camera, or do you prefer candid shots of people interacting without them realising they were being photographed? In general I, like many photographers, provide a selection of each, but when hiring a photographer it is a good idea to clarify their style and check you are on the same wavelength.
Let there be light (Please! say all photographers and videographers…)
This is one you may not think of, but it can make all the difference: the more available light in the room, the better the shots you will get. If you have very dark mood lighting, ensure that there is at least some bright light on stage for speakers (over the lectern please!) and same for other highlights of your event, such as a performance. Remember from your own experience taking a photograph that what you can easily see with the human eye does not match up with a camera’s capabilities – they do have their limitations.
If you can provide an outside or other well-lit cocktail area besides your main dining room, you will then end up with a greater variety of high-quality shots of people interacting.
The first point about timing is to plan it. There are times during an event where you can grab the photographer for a quick shot of the event organisers, or of you with the invited celebrity etc., but there are other times where this may not be possible – such as if the photographer will need to change equipment setups in the middle of doing something else. So if there are shots you think you will want, try to plan for them within the running sheet. For example, if you want the whole family to gather for a group shot, let them know to hang around a few minutes at the end of the event so the photographer can set this up, and include it in the photographer’s brief.
The other important point about timing: If you need some photos immediately after the event for a media release or social media marketing, ensure you have clarified the return date on the photos ahead of time. There is usually a wait time, as photos take time to be edited and you’re not the only job in the queue! But often your photographer can accommodate you if you give them some notice.