In the course of one week, GoodBuzz was taking event photos (and videos) for three different clients — one political, the second corporate, and finally for a non-profit organization. Below are tips on getting the best shots whether you’re hiring GoodBuzz or if you’re doing them in-house yourself.
Before you break out the camera or smart phone, answer these questions first:
- What shots must we obtain? I suggest putting them onto a list including the individual names so everyone is on the same page and you cannot forget.
- Who will be taking photos? Are they experienced? If not, have we communicated what types of shots we want and given them the list?
- Do we need permission from attendees to use their photo externally? At most public events, it’s not necessary, but you may offend or put into harm some of your core audience so checking is a good idea.
- What do I plan to do with the photos during/after the event? What story/narrative are you trying to tell? Perhaps you want to send an email blast to your invitees thanking them through photos or posting to social outlets throughout the event. Ensuring your photographer is aware of your deadline for photo use is important.
So. . . here’s the eight time-tested practical tips:
1. Have a charged camera ready to go.
No matter if you’re using your phone or a fancy camera, be sure to charge it and have the cable or extra batteries on standby.
2. Get to the event early to set up.
Get to know the space you’ll be in and the people you’ll be working with to get the best shots during the event. Most events are up to 2-3 hours max and that’s not a lot of time to get everything happening during that timeframe so it’s best to map it out.
3. Refer to your list of must-have shots and prioritize getting those first.
There often is much happening at events so it’s easiest to get photos of what’s commanding attention by being the loudest or in close proximity of you. Instead, make sure to get the photos of the most important people from the list, of awards and presentations/speeches, and of the space or surroundings that most accurately tells the story you want to share.
4. Take a mix of posed and action shots.
Posed photos are where you ask the people you’re shooting to stop and look at the camera. This is usually easiest to do at sign-in tables before an event starts. Usually folks are queuing up with nothing to do yet so it’s a natural step. It also makes folks feel like rockstars and greeted warmly. Another natural time to get these is during the mixer part of programs if there’s an intercession or break in the formal program, meeting, or party. Also, when folks are receiving some sort of special recognition or award, walk close up to the front and get your camera ready so they’ll stop and look directly at your lens. You can also get those persons to pose together at the end of the program, but that’s sometimes like herding cats. Action shots are exactly that — in the moment and natural. You can get these of crowds during the mixer parts and during formal programs/meetings/presentations. Remember to get shots of not only people, but also of the food, decor, and location. Varying the photos keeps them interesting when viewing in an album and better tells a complete story about that brand.
5. Consider your backdrop and make necessary adjustments.
Many times in a program, the speakers are standing in front of a banner, sign, or press backdrop and sometimes at the podium there’s also the logo. Those are pretty standard and easy. It’s the candid, action shots and those posed photos of attendees where you need to think through what a person will look like in front of a particular wall that’s dirty or a weird color or a wall of windows where the sunlight is inhibited the best shot, or maybe there’s something distracting happening in the background.
6. Smile and be pleasant.
I’ve found that being kind, especially for posed shots gives me better photos. People are happy to smile genuinely back and the photos look more authentic and pleasing to the eye. Also, it reflects well on you as the photographer and especially on your client.
7. Take multiplies of every key shot.
This means that if you want a particular shot, make sure to get several ensuring that one will be good enough to share, publish, and distribute. If there are several folks in the picture, it’s likely that not everyone will have their eyes open — and everyone should have eyes open. Taking many allows you options later.
8. Familiarize yourself with photo editing tools and then use them.
There’s many on the market. I particularly like Adobe Photoshop. But it’s pricy. There’s also editing tools on your camera phone, through Instagram filters, and editors like Pixlr, PhotoScape, and GIMP. Just because you take 435 photos at the event doesn’t mean they all need to be circulated, or even half of them. Pick the best posed and action shots and the best from those multiples and then clean them up in your editing software. Play with exposure, lighting, colors, cropping, and other tools.
Your images should be nice to look at and keep folks wanting to click to see more and hopefully engage with you online and offline perhaps at your next event.
GoodBuzz would be delighted to shoot still pictures or make videos for you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-596-1907 to start the conversation.
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