Working with an event photographer to capture the spirit of an occasion, and to reflect a client’s brand properly, is something we do quite regularly at Henson Consulting. As the media landscape becomes increasingly image-driven, HC uses photos in many ways post-event: in email follow up with VIP guests and contacts, on Facebook and in Twitter, in new marketing collateral, in outreach to the media to secure coverage, and more.
HC recently captured the scene of an NBA viewing party. Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza – HC client beloved for its Chicago-style stuffed crust deep-dish pizza – hosted the gathering, bringing together Chicago Bulls fans eager to see Derrick Rose return to the court in the 2013-2014 season opener. Rose, who was sidelined by injury last season, is a spokesperson and equity investor of Giordano’s.
There’s nothing better than opening your photographer’s Dropbox delivery at sun-up the following day to find that you have exactly what you need to leverage the event’s success. Here are seven tips to ensure that you get the goods:
- Arrive early: It sounds obvious, but it’s critical. Plan a brief pre-event meeting with the photographer to make sure you’re on the same page, regarding the goals of the night. (This is particularly important if you’ve never worked together.) Capture the food, décor and event hosts first – none of these will ever look better than they do at the beginning of the event.
- Pare down: Free up your hands, even if that means finding a creative spot to stash your belongings, so that all you have on you is your cell, a clipboard, a spreadsheet of open columns and a pen. (You’ll find your cell phone will actually balance quite nicely on a normal sized clip board.)
- Grab those VIPs: Make sure to get photos of event VIPs as they arrive. Don’t delay. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that they’ll get wrapped up in an important conversation that you won’t want to interrupt. Plus, these folks are used to being photographed, so they’ll be expecting a close up.
- Take note: Your spreadsheet is your best friend – your cheat sheet for filling in the blanks later. Be as descriptive as possible. In column A, jot down the number of the photo taken. In column B, insert the names of those photographed. (Be sure to have them spell their name for you – even names that you would presume are spelled traditionally.) In column C, write notes, such as “Woman in red dress” or “Man in bowtie.”
- Style the photo: Everyone photographed wants to look great, and you and your photographer are the only ones who can ensure this happens. You’re the mirror they’d check themselves out in, if they could! Offer to hold a bulky purse. Snag the napkin that man is clenching in his hand. Encourage them to get closer together in the frame. Then lighten the mood with casual conversation, so they feel relaxed and smile warmly and naturally. And, cocktails and nametags are never classy in event photos so try and avoid whenever you can!
- Work in branding: Don’t forget to pay your respects to the brand that brought you all together! Your team has decked out the venue with beautiful posters, tabletops and props, so make it a top priority to work the brand into your shots in a way that’s not flagrant, but rather subtle, classy or fun, establishing your client as the behind-the-scenes orchestrator of the event’s magic – which is the truth, after all!
- Edit as you go: How grateful we all should be for digital cameras and the immediacy of the review process. After every subject is photographed, steal 30 seconds with your photographer. Have him or her scroll through the images and together choose the best one of the bunch. Is it 6234 or 6235? Make a note on your sheet, so you can find it quickly later.
Above all, have fun with your role. More than any other person in attendance, you have a great excuse to mix and mingle. Introduce yourself to that contact at XYZ Magazine. Spend a few minutes shooting the breeze with that hot scenester. Then be sure to follow up post-event with… what else? A photo of them looking fabulous!