How to make the most from your event photographer

Our daily lives are inundated with images. From traditional media, such as television and newspapers, to Instagram, Facebook and Flickr, we soak up images like a sponge. Images not only tell stories, but sell messages, brands, ideas, products and experiences. Visual communications are now, more than ever, a vital element in your marketing strategy. So this week we are exploring not only the need for professional photography, but also how you can get the most from your investment.

An event photographer is someone who specialises in capturing the action and the people attending your event. Whether it’s a corporate Christmas party, conference or even a sporting match, they are skilled at capturing the true essence of that event. However, their work can be used for much more than capturing memories.

The versatility of event images 

Event images can be used in a number of ways immediately following an event. In addition, and perhaps more important to consider, is what you can do with the images in the future. This is where you can extract some added value, particularly from a marketing perspective.
Examples of how images can be used immediately following an event:
  • For use in press coverage in mainstream media, industry media or the social pages
  • For use on the event or company social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc
  • To project live images during the event for guests to engage with 
  • For use in post-event correspondence with delegates and guests
Examples of how images can be used for future marketing projects:
  • For use in promotional material and proposals for venues, caterers or event suppliers
  • For use in promotional material for an Event Organiser’s next conference, exhibition, fundraising dinner or sporting event
  • For use on a company website, promoting the company culture, products or its people
  • For use in a company’s annual report 
  • For use in marketing material used to attract university graduates, new employees or for internal company handbooks
  • For use in future PR campaigns and media features
  • For use in print or online advertisements 
  • For use in directory listings, such as Event Birdie!

The importance of quality images

When attracting new clients or delegates you must always present a cohesive and quality image of your company or event. First impressions do count and for many buyers it is your website or promotional material that they see first.
Monique Perera from Camera Creations explains, “Having worked for a number of years as a Sales Manager at various venues, I completely understand how important great images are to effectively sell event space. The images need to not only showcase the venue itself but the atmosphere of the events that can be held there (with a mix of people engaged in both business and celebrations if relevant). I found that it was the professional photography in my sales proposals that prompted clients to come in for the all-important first site inspection, a vital step in securing new business!”

Plan ahead and budget for professional event photography

It is likely you cannot afford to get a professional event photographer for every event that you work on. Similarly, though, you cannot afford to use old, poor quality or irrelevant images in your marketing material. So, like any part of your marketing strategy, we suggest you budget for photography. 

If you organise a number of key events each year, it should be relatively easy to forecast how many days you need a photographer.
If you work for a venue, caterer or event supplier, put together a plan based on capturing variety. Plan for 4-6 key photo shoots per year. For example, a caterer may plan a photo shoot for two menu changes and four events per year. Whatever suits your business or calendar of events, remember to plan ahead and budget accordingly – consider photography as an important investment in your overall marketing plan.
It is also a good idea to think about the events you want to capture. If you know that you are working on a large-scale gala dinner that has all the bells and whistles, plan a photographer into the budget ahead of time. If you work to a shorter lead time, then plan to capture images for at least one key event per season. However always assess whether an event is worthy of a photographer before booking them. Ask yourself, is the event going to showcase our best work?

Brief your photographer 

Before you prepare a brief for your photographer, take some time to brainstorm all the shots you may be able to get from the event. Be sure to consider how you can use those shots throughout your entire marketing strategy. Or work backwards – consider all the types of shots you would like to include in your marketing material and ensure you list those ‘must have’ shots in your photographer’s brief.
Monique from Camera Creations comments, “If the photographer is given a schedule of the important aspects of the event along with both a ‘must have’ list and a ‘wish list’ of shots - this is ideal. Provide as much detail as possible - communication is key.” 
It is also a good idea to assign one staff member to be the photographer’s on-the-day contact. Someone who will be able to point out key guests, show them to remote parts of the venue and be available for any questions on the day. 

Build a relationship

Like any key service provider, building a relationship with your photographer will ensure they get a better understanding of your brand’s requirements and how best to convey your message through their work. 

John Kung from Harustudio highlights this point, “Your photographer should be someone you can partner with to communicate your brand. A venue might have a favourite caterer or decorator that they like working with, and photography should be the same. Working with a photographer who is in sync with how you want to present your business means that they already understand your brand and your brand’s values. Each job builds on that understanding and the experiences of the jobs that come before. The best work comes when a client and a photographer form a strong partnership.”

Keep your images fresh, relevant and current

There is nothing worse than seeing stock images used to sell key products (e.g. an image of a group of models in suits posing at a boardroom table to promote ‘meeting rooms’ for a venue). 

Just as bad is seeing old, outdated images.

Investing in new photography regularly doesn’t just grow your portfolio, it also ensures your messages are fresh, relevant and current. 

Choose a professional

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur" - Red Adair.
It is simply not worth using or investing in poor quality photography to help promote your business. Investing in a professional event photographer who has the experience needed to capture the true essence of your event, plus help build your brand, is money well spent.
Event Birdie has a fabulous flock of professional event photographers listed on our site. Check out our full list of photographers here.

P.S. A special thank you to both Monique from Camera Creations and John from Harustudio for their insight on this topic. The header image includes examples of their work - left and bottom image courtesy of Harustudio and top right images courtesy of Camera Creations.