Event Photographers and You

Working Together to Create an Unforgettable Event

No two events are ever alike, making it absolutely essential that your event photographer has as much information as possible to properly prepare and be ready to create something truly unique.  The best way to prepare your photographer for your upcoming event is to provide a written brief.

But what should a brief to a photographer include?  If you’ve never worked with a professional photographer before, it can be daunting to know what kind of information you should provide.  At the bare minimum, a photographic brief must include the schedule of events, the style of photographs required, and any specific places or people that need to be captured.  This kind of barebones brief will provide minimal guidance to your photographer and will also act as a safety net for you.

But if you really want to give your photographer the best chance to produce stunning photographs that meet your requirements, consider adding some additional information to your brief.  Simply follow this outline and you’ll give your photographer everything they need to create unforgettable photos for you.

1.  Schedule

Every good brief for a photographer must include a detailed schedule.  You want your photographer to capture as many different aspects of your event as possible, so the best way to assist your photographer is to let them know the detailed event timetable.  Consider including the start and end times, any specific events, a list of different rooms or stages within the venue, a list of seminars and workshops conducted during the event, and any particular backstage or behind-the-scenes action and when it is likely to occur.

2.  Specific Photographs

Your photographer won’t be as familiar with your guest list as you are.  If you have special guests or certain people that must be photographed, be sure to include a list of those people.  Help your photographer identify your special guests by arranging an introduction beforehand, or by providing headshots of your guests in advance.  The quicker your photographer can recognise your special guests, the sooner they’ll know who to look out for and the quicker they can begin taking photographs.

3.  Venue

Every venue will have its own opportunities and challenges.  Lighting is particularly important when it comes to taking photographs, and your photographer will appreciate the opportunity to attend the venue to evaluate the lighting and understand the equipment they will need to bring.  Given the opportunity, your photographer will be able to make suggestions as to the best position to set up certain formal shots.

4.  Event Type and Expectations

All events differ in a number of respects, and you can help take the guesswork out of your photographs by communicating upfront with your photographer about what you’re looking for.  For example, some people love black-and-white photos while others prefer all of their photographs to be in full colour.  Some people want nothing but crisp, clear photos, while others are happy to experiment with soft lighting, and having certain details in focus with other areas less so.  Some people will have greater need for distance shots showing a large number of people, while others will prefer individual headshots of all attendees.  Your photos may need to fit with your existing branding and style, or you may be looking to experiment and go with a more artistic feel.  Talk to your photographer in advance to ensure you’re both on the same page about your requirements.

5.  Equipment

Your photographer will have a lot of equipment at their disposal, but they won’t want to bring everything with them to every event.  By communicating your needs upfront and giving your photographer the chance to attend the venue and understand the available lighting, you will help them to know exactly what equipment they will need to bring on the day.  Additionally, if you require extras like backdrops or on-site printing, your photographer will need to bring specific equipment to cater to your needs.

6.  Travel

Photographers are used to travelling for their work, but they certainly need to know in advance if travel is required.  For example, if your photographer will be staying in hotel accommodation overnight, they’ll need to know how soon the edited photos will be required.  Will they need to bring their computer equipment with them to the hotel to edit the photos on the day, or will it be possible to wait until they get back to their office?

7.  Purpose

It is essential that your photographer understand the intended purpose of the photos long before the event begins.  For example, a photographer will take an entirely different approach to shooting photos intended for social media than photos for a corporate website or press release.  Similarly, the purpose of the photos will inform your photographer as to whether horizontal or vertical alignment will be more useful.  While your photographer will take as many different photos as possible to truly capture every aspect of the event, knowing the purpose of the photos in advance will ensure that you get exactly what you need.

8.  FAQs

Finally, include as much information as you can that is specific to your event or to the purpose of the photos.  To get you started, consider some questions that photographers often ask their clients:

  • Is there anywhere that I’ll be able to store my equipment when I’m not using it?
  • What is the estimated total number of attendees at the event?
  • Will I be able to access the venue early to set up?
  • Will there be an area that I can work from during the event?
  • Will you also need a slideshow of photos, perhaps for a corporate presentation?
  • Is it permissible for me to provide flyers, business cards, or my portfolio to guests if requested?
  • Do you require any large group photos?
  • What time does the event finish, and what time does the venue close?

Remember that when hiring an event photographer, information is key.  The more detailed you can make your brief, the better your photographer will be placed to capture all the memories from your event to suit your needs.