The Planner’s Guide to Event Photography

The Planner’s Guide to Event Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words—especially on event day. All of the preparation, planning and, at times, agony have led up to this moment. Surely, no one wants to capture it more than the planner. All of this emotional investment makes for a delicate situation—and therefore one susceptible to mistakes. How can you ensure that the snaps are up to par at your next meeting or event? Depending on the size, an event will often warrant two very different types of photography. Here are some no-fail strategies for capturing all the right moments.

Live Coverage via Social Media

Typically, this is assigned to an individual on your team. For this task, you want to enlist someone who can be glued to their iPhone. They should be uploading images and videos in real time.

This type of photography is most successful when using someone who has the following:

  • Basic photography and editing skills
  • Knowledge of the latest social media features
  • Access to and familiarity with your company’s social media channels and strategy
  • Spare event time
  • An understanding of social media conventions, tone and functions
  • Enough industry familiarity to use the right hashtags and capture the proper moments

In contrast to a professional, the social media photographer wants to capture the highlights rather than every moment. After all, no one wants a cluttered social feed. Make sure they understand your audience and reasons for covering in real time.

Professional Photographer

Pretty much every event needs a professional photographer onsite. Sure, the social media pages might be glowing with interesting shots. Nonetheless, consider the full scope of your photography. Sure, social makes the list, but here are all of the ways you might be using the photography post-event:

  • Social media galleries
  • Digital articles
  • Magazine articles
  • Print and digital advertisements
  • Website
  • Future promotions
  • E-blasts
  • Newsletter
  • Press releases

So clearly, it’s important to have high-quality pictures for sharing and creating an overall brand image.

Having the title of professional photographer doesn’t mean they’ll do a good job or check off your particular boxes though. Here’s what you need to look for when enlisting a particular photographer, most of which can be found through testimonials, references or a portfolio:

  • Equipment
  • Proficiency
  • Specialty and style
  • Cost (cut down the hours if the budget demands)
  • Format capacities
  • Turnaround time (does it align with your needs?)
  • Any materials or meetings they might require in advance (and the timeline for that)

Now that you’ve found adequate support, it’s time to make sure nothing suffers from a miscommunication. This should all be debriefed at least several days in advance. Prepare the photographer by running through the following:

  • Reiterate the quote and make sure you are aware of any additional costs
  • What the photos will be used for post-event (be as specific as possible)
  • Preparation for the size and schedule
  • What type of credit is required, covering specific rights and permission
  • How many photos should be taken
  • The variety of formats expected
  • What must be captured
  • Time necessary to familiarize with the location (and when this can be done)
  • What’s your policy on photographing attendees—are they aware of this and what is the plan if they don’t wish to be captured

Another, different type of professional service is an instant photo company. These often involve costumes, graphics and other goofy touches. They are a very fun way for attendees to socialize and fill up their swag bags, along with capture their moments in a unique way. Here are a few examples.