How to Get the Best out of Your Event Photographer

It’s been months in the planning. You’ve deliberated over every tiny detail; the team have endured the food and wine tasting, debated about what flowers to have and what table settings not to have…

And suddenly it’s the week of the event and you remember that you need a photographer to capture the fruits of your labour…or is it the event itself?

Getting your photographer booked is crucial. Getting them briefed is the vital second step. Before you start writing your brief, think about why you want the images; are they for you to show your superiors what a great party it was or what a great job you and the team have done? Are the images going to be syndicated, shared on social media or sent to a server to gather cyber dust? Your photographer needs a clear idea of why the images are being taken as it will have a bearing on the emphasis of the imagery you want them to capture at your event.

The perfect photographic brief should include:

  1. A general overview of all the imagery required from the event and why these images are required so the photographer has your vision in mind when shooting. Cover off the style in this section i.e. reportage or posed portraits or a combination, bright, well-lit shots or dark and moody ambient lit; desaturated or blinging, popping colour etc.

  1. A clear schedule of your event with key timings, so your photographer can be sure to capture the key moments as and when you need them and avoid having to ask the dreaded question post event; “you did photograph THE VVIP arriving in the headline sponsors car?….”

  1. A point of contact at the event, with mobile number for a direct line of communication together with dress code and outline behavioural considerations; for example, will the photographer be fed and watered or is he or she permitted to ask for refreshments? Do/don’t engage with the guests etc. If something is worrying you during the event, such as has the photographer captured a great picture of the client, communicate with the photographer during the event if possible, to avoid disappointment later. As a last resort, look at some of the images on camera during the event and feedback to your photographer to ensure that your brief is being met.

  1. Ensure that key elements of the event are covered in the brief; whilst many items are assumed to be covered at an event, it is always best to cover them off especially all those ‘important’ details that you have spent many months deliberating over. Whilst it can be difficult to comprehend, what you consider to be important might not be considered as such by a third party who hasn’t been living and breathing this event for 6 months! i.e. images of all the personalised napkin rings, the expensive signage you commissioned outside the side entrance or the luxurious menus that you fought so hard to get more budget for. Set out expectations for food and drink photography; does the Champagne pouring need to feature the sponsor’s brand? Do the canopies need photographing? Is it important to get some quality food imagery? (At Wonderhatch we often set up a mini studio back of house to capture F&B)

  1. Finally, it is really important to appeal to the photographer’s creativity by asking for a ‘Hero’ shot. This might be an image of the event space, empty but fully prepped, set and lit or a stunning shot of the exterior of the building showing the lights and projections. Whilst, it should be a prerequisite for an event photographer to bring a tripod, hero shots will normally require a tripod and it won’t harm to mention this as too many photographers are relying on pushing their cameras beyond their acceptable ISO ranges to shoot in low light.

Providing a good succinct brief is crucial for both photographer and client as it not only avoids assumptions and ambiguities but provides an invaluable reference point for any contentious issues should they arise post event? By informing and inspiring your event photographer, you can be sure they will capture every element you need and most importantly, bring your vision to life.

 

Simon

18th Oct 2017