Event photography:  Selecting, working with photographers

by Editorial Team
9 minutes read
Event photography

Event photography:  Selecting, working with photographers

For most business event organisers and participants such as exhibitors securing a venue, delegates and speakers among other key aspects are all that one needs for a successful event. Nothing is further from the truth. Event photography is as indispensable as a venue in business event planning.

Some event hosts strongly believe that a professional event photographer can be easily replaced with just about anyone everyone has become a photographer especially with the advent of the smartphone this, again, is not true. But before progressing to the mechanics of event photography: what is it?

It is a discipline of photography in which skilled photographers use specialised equipment to capture emotions, reactions, critical moments and memories during an event. This includes business events such as conferences, exhibitions, award ceremonies, product or service launches and brand anniversaries among many others. This requires them to make split-second decisions in response to changes in venues lighting, event needs and the requirements of their customers.

Why is photography important in business events?

Many business executives and event organisers value photography at important events in their personal lives such as parties, graduation ceremonies and weddings but relegate the photography aspect of their business events to chance shoots by photojournalists in their quest to meet their own various media houses’ objectives. The question that comes to the minds of many event organisers and exhibitors is: do photographs depicting an event as it progresses really matter? Oh yes, they do and here is how:

  •       When used in various customer engagement initiatives such as social media posts images increase the chances of drawing readers’ attention. According to MDG Advertising articles, blog or social media posts with relevant images get 94 per cent more views than those without. It has also been established that press statements or releases with images get 15 per cent more online views than those without.
  •       High-quality event images have the potential to connect emotionally with the target market which extends to the event brand thereby building a positive perception of the event brand on the market. People are visual beings who spontaneously respond to awesome images and colour.
  •       Event images come in handy in marketing the event as it progresses. Images of visitors engaging with stand staff or listening attentively to a demonstration of a new brand can be posted onto an exhibiting company’s social media platform to provide updates to people who did not make it to the event. This may spark interest in some people who had decided not to attend to have a change of heart.
  •       Organising for the shooting of high-quality event images enables an event organiser or exhibitor to provide the media with images that are in line with the image they wish to portray on the market. In the absence of such images, the media can use any images they deem relevant to a story about the event. This makes the event look ordinary. Planning for event images assists the organiser brand behind the event to stand out from the clutter of similar brands on the market.
  •       Event images can also be used in future to illustrate marketing messages for the same event.  They also have an important place in the history of event brands. For example, when an exhibition brand celebrates an anniversary, pictures of various aspects of the exhibition over its history can be utilised in taking the market back in history using the social media, mainstream media and special anniversary publications. This brings to the fore the event brand’s credibility which is supported by its long history.

Hiring the services of event photographers

It is one thing appreciating the crucial role which is played by quality images in the business event industry and quite another to hire a good photographer who can deliver to the desired level and on time. Almost anyone can point a camera at a subject and click. Investing in high-quality event images means paying money to secure the services of a professional event photographer who can deliver good quality pictures on time. The question that most organisers ask is the criteria for selecting good business event photographers. Here are some of the issues to consider when picking an event photographer to work with.

  •       Experience and track record are very important. A good event photographer should be experienced in taking photographs of different business events. Conferences have different photographic demands compared to exhibitions. Roadshows differ in requirements from business awards events. Establish a photographer’s track record by checking with organisations and individuals who they say they have provided services to before. Some especially established ones have websites where galleries of some of their work form an integral part of the sites. Check these sites for a feel of the quality of their work before making the decision whether or not to hire them.


  •       Equipment is very crucial in the delivery of high-quality images. Merely possessing a camera does not make one a great photographer. One has to have all the other necessary supporting pieces of equipment such as tripods and different types of lenses among other essential tools to cover different distances to ensure that he or she captures the right moments at the right time. It is not enough to just capture images. They require editing in order to meet the various requirements of event organisers or exhibitors. A chosen photographer should possess an editing studio or have access to one to enable him or her to edit images so that they meet their customers’ requirements.
  •       A good event photographer needs to be imaginative and creative with his camera. Great event images are born of a comprehensive brief and a creative photographer. A brief only provides a requirements framework of what the customer expects while the creative genius of the photographer does the rest of the work. Photographic creativity is a product of natural talent and experience.
  •       Dealing with individual photographers can be very attractive especially in terms of costs as most of them do not have any operating overhead costs but it has its downsides. A solo photographer may fall ill when it matters most, bringing about a crisis on the part of the organiser.Therefore, dealing with a photography company, while costly, is a lot better in that in the event of one photographer being unable to cover an event another one can always be dispatched.  It also assures one of better quality due to the fact that most companies are fully equipped to tackle most photographic assignments.
  •       Flexibility on the part of the photographer is very crucial. A photographer needs to be versatile to enable him to handle different business event-related assignments without problems. This means that an ideal business events photographer should be able to work with organisers and exhibitors of different dispositions. He or she should be able to deal with different people and different work situations of varying demands. He or she should be able to switch from one assignment to another without a problem. For example, the photographer may have been assigned to photograph an exhibition in progress but if asked to cover the awards aspect of the event he should be able to do so without giving excuses.

Working with event photographers

As alluded to earlier, a successful event photography job depends on a comprehensive brief explaining and detailing what the organiser or exhibitor expects the photographer to deliver. This should include stating all the potential uses to which the images will be put so that the photographer can determine angles, resolutions and subject orientations among other issues. For example, the image of a guest of honour speaking at a business event looks more natural and is easier to use in most applications in portrait format than landscape unless the principal requests the shot to also include his background which may be branded.

Working with the event photographer means providing him or her with a programme of the event detailing all aspects and personalities involved during the event. It also means highlighting the times, places and people involved in key moments of the event. Not every important guest in an event is readily known to every event photographer. This may mean introducing the guests to the photographer before the event in person or by way of an image of the guest.

It is also important to ensure that the photographer familiarises with the venue before the event. This means taking her or him to the venue so that he acquaints himself with its facilities. It means pointing out to him or her no go areas so that s/he does not get into problems with the venue owners. A prior visit to the venue enables the photographer to plan how to use the various aspects of the venue to meet his or her customers’ unique needs. For example, the visit will enable him to pick specific vantage points in the venue to deliver that special shot of the main speaker as he delivers his keynote address during a conference.

With proper prior planning and the identification and selection of an ideal photographer, an event organiser can secure good images for use in marketing the event while it is still in progress, marketing future editions of the event and even to celebrate anniversaries of the event in future. Working well with photographers makes the process of obtaining the images easy.





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