Prepare Your Event for Photo Success
Five tips to ensure you capture your best event images.
Event photograhy – whether it’s a personal or business event – captures images of people, places, and things to remember, promote, inform, and share.
Events create excitement and shared experiences for those who were there and those who weren’t. They spark new relationships and nurture old ones. You learn and grow. You take time to enjoy the extraordinary whether it’s a break in routine or a mini-vacation spiced with refreshing new ideas, insights and fresh memories.
To get the most out of your event photography, these six tips make the process more efficient, effective, and memorable.
1. Prioritize Image Importance
Event photography supports why you’re hosting the event. Whether a personal commemoration or celebration or a gathering of a professional community, prioritize most important shots beforehand. When you know which images you especially want to capture, it makes the entire process more effective and efficient – and you won’t miss the images you most want.
Prioritization also helps define how images will be shot and produced to meet specific needs. Knowing why you want to have an image establishes production timelines, image formats, resolution, and other details – plus ensures you meet event goals.
Promotion and Publicity:If your images will be used during a multi-day event or for post-event promotion, be sure you know what your targeted media outlets require. If you will use images in your own media,
identify which images will go in which media to ensure resolution, size, and captioning are part of the process.
Most print publications need high-resolution digital images with caption information and names of people (spelled correctly) in the images. You can email images or send large-size images immediately through online transfer services.
Special event promotions and sponsorships:
Have you promised an event sponsor images or coverage? Ensure they are on a shooting schedule and images are slotted for any media, delivery, or other commitments.
Everyone wants to see their picture in the event paper, website, or social media. Plan to capture attendees in action and have a spot for images to be published. These could be industry leaders, members, or other attendees, but it’s especially fun when regular people are featured as part of the big story. Capture names, affiliation, and hometown for captions and stories.
You may want to provide photos and memories to individuals who are supportive of your company, event, or industry to build or enhance professional or personal relationships. Photographs are a great way to recognize them, especially with a message of appreciation from you or your CEO. Capture subjects with other leaders or celebrities at your event. Send images in a frame, at least a frameable size, so it can be displayed on an office wall or as a home keepsake.
For personal albums, photobooks, wall décor, websites, or other personal commemorations and celebrations, plan to shoot sizes and resolutions to match. Low-resolution images are great for online use, but higher resolutions and sizes are best for anything printed.
2. Plan Image Use
When you know how and where your images will be used, you can better plan shots and equipment to save time and money. Many smartphones have high-resolution cameras and videos that capture snapshots and quick videos to be turned around immediately for social media and website use. More difficult shotting situations, such as stage presentations and performances, may require longer lenses and more technical shooting capability to capture what you envision.
Going through this process helps identify specific requirements and processes so you can plan people and equipment and not miss anything. You may be able to catch great candid photos using staff and attendees shooting with phone cameras, but also ensure you have a way to collect and publish the media to support your publishing and distribution goals.
If you are shooting for onsite media, such as a daily newspaper, e-newsletter, social media pages, or website, plan out your editorial coverage and media use accordingly. You will know what time and support you need to process and publish images for your urgent media and how that will fit into your event schedule. Focus on most important and immediate aspects so you don’t overload staff, photographers, and vendors with too much media and time commitments. Onsite media is instantaneous and requires quick turnaround.
Assign your photographer or staff members to shoot specific assignments so they know where and when to be and when to have images back for review, editing, or processing for your specific needs.
Capture simultaneous activities with a little planning and coordination.
Videos usually must be edited, so planning to publish video onsite will take special handling for editing space, equipment, time, and expected turnaround. If your holding videos for post-event release, ensure you have a plan for storage, backup, and transfer back to the office.
News and publicity outlets
Timeliness is critical for news and publicity coverage. If you plan to post, submit, or provide images to news media, influencers, and other publicity outlets, plan ahead so you know what image formats or subjects they are looking for and when and how to submit them. Don’t miss their deadlines. The more that’s arranged before your event, the less hassle and time-wasting at the event.
If your media outlets publish print magazines or other print media, know and record their deadlines and other art or copy requirements to meet their needs.
If you are providing images and content for your corporate media, plan space, writing, photography coverage, and assignments beforehand to ensure you have what you need pre- and post-event.
Many event planners send press releases and photos to hometown media of their attendees and members who may have won awards, completed training and certification, or other newsy milestones. If you desire to do this, you often can do it post-event, but it still
must be timely – and you still have to assign, process, and produce the content and images.
Personal albums, websites, social media
If your event coverage is for personal commemorations or celebrations, pre-planning is still highly recommended to ensure you get the shots you want and can process and publish them in a timely manner. The principles mentioned above apply and allow you to think through what results you would like to see.
While timeliness may not be the greatest challenge for personal projects, it’s still important to have the right images for the appropriate media and not lose images in a full computer or a forgotten memory stick.
Good photographers know how to tell your story in images and can either put an album or photobook together for you or can provide the images you need to build your own. Discuss photo selection and sizes in advance or after you see images to plan an impactful, memorable album or photobook.
3. Establish Process and Procedure
Once you decide the elements in your event coverage, outline an action plan to assign responsibilities, timing, and execution. The process is important because it helps identify weak areas in staffing and production that may need to be addressed. It will help reveal timing conflicts, overlapping scheduling, or location issues that can be resolved ahead of time and not under the urgency of the moment at your event.
The point of all the preplanning is to ensure you get quality images you want and they are published the way you want them. The execution of the plan makes this happen because you have eauipment, timing, and people in place, you know where to look to see what’s happening when, and a person is assigned to monitor and checkoff events and schedules.
If something does crash, your plan and people will help you respond quickly to resolve issues in real time so you don’t miss a beat.
5. Have Fun
Events are exciting because unique moments always appear to tell the human side of your event story. From the headliners to the serendipitous moments that could never be planned, your event creates a moment is time that people will look back on and remember – a cog of time that defines you, your event, and engenders memories for the future.