The 7 wonders of a great event photographer
I’ve been honoured to capture some wonderful events throughout the years, and through discussions with my clients, I have learned what their past experiences with other photographers have been (both negative and positive) and what they appreciate most about our style of coverage.
Here is what I have learned, and practice at every event I attend:
1) Have a plan (draft a basic shot list)
Before every event, I review the itinerary with the client. Being prepared for what will occur and when, ensures that nothing will be missed. In addition, understanding the client’s end goal of the images is paramount in planning what needs priority focus, in coverage.
2) You are a representation of the hiring company and must act accordingly.
Although I am an entrepreneur, when hired by any company from a PR Firm, Agency, Event Planner, or by a Marketing Manager at the hosting organization, I always act within the mindset that I am an employee/team member of the hiring company. I am always courteous to all attendees, and as mother taught, always saying please and thank you will go a long way.
3) Dress for the occasion.
Dressing appropriately for the occasion is a must. If I attend a black tie event, such as an awards gala, trust that I would use the occasion to dress in a proper suit and tie fitting the attire of the event. In contrast, some events (such as a summer outdoor team building event) would require more comfortable clothing. But just because the organization is in shorts and running shoes participating in a mud challenge, doesn’t mean I should be dressed the same. In such an event, more comfortable casual dress clothes are best, keeping in mind a professional look.
4) Always have back up equipment.
Having back-ups of equipment is essential. I live by the rule that anything man made has the potential for breakdown, and this includes cameras, flash units, and even CF cards. In addition, there are other instances that can cause damage to equipment. I was at an event where an attendee ran into my camera – my tripod with camera attached came crashing to the floor and shattered, making it unusable. Without pause, I simply picked up the pieces, walked to my camera bag, placed the damaged camera and lens into the bag, picked up my back-up camera and began shooting. What was missed? Nothing.
5) Be part of the event – be pleasant and social.
A great personality goes a long way. By engaging with attendees, I find that they become far more receptive and comfortable with having their photo taken. Smiling and enjoying the moment is contagious, as others see it and want to be part of the positive experience.
6) Capture a complete coverage.
I always focus on telling a complete story – just as a great film would do. This includes capturing establishing shots, details of the event and décor, wide perspectives, food images, candid images of attendees, and all presenters and podium presentations. The idea here is that a viewer should be able to review the images and get a complete feeling of the event.
7) Have a quick turn around to the client
Upon conclusion of the event, I always schedule the very next day to download and review my images, shortlist to a manageable list of images and send a great collection of photos to the client. In many occasions a client may be issuing a press release, or require a few images embedded in a follow-up email to attendees. By delivering the images quickly, the client can leverage the photos as the event is still warm in the minds of the guests. In addition, I find many people are looking for that one shot of themselves with their team, and usually come calling the very next day. Be ready to deliver quickly.
So if you are planning an event and hiring a photographer, keep this list of 7 wonders on hand to help ensure success. And if you are a photographer wanting to sharpen your game, keep these principals in mind – they are great tactics to ensuring you exceed your client’s expectations.
Producer / Creative Director
Serendipity Video Productions