Corporate events are a specialized area of photography that presents unique challenges. How to photograph these events is an important skill to hone if you want to build your portfolio and get more corporate event gigs. The following are some key points on what to know when shooting corporate events.
Understand What You Are Shooting
Corporate photography is a field that includes many types of situations. Events vary a great deal in terms of size, location, and atmosphere. It’s important to know what you’re shooting before you even get to the venue for the event. This will help you determine what equipment to bring and how to approach your shots. This includes:
- Size of the venue and event. There’s a big difference between a room holding a couple of dozen people versus one with hundreds of people milling around. In some cases, you may need to shoot in multiple locations, and include both indoor and outdoor spots.
- Lighting. This will be dependent on whether the venue is indoors or outdoors, as well as what the weather is like that day. For indoor locations, you may have to contend with various artificial lighting sources and adapt accordingly.
- Time of day. You’ll need different equipment for an event depending on whether it’s daytime or nighttime. Some events will run from the day into the evening. If it is undetermined when an event will actually end, be sure that you’re prepared for shooting at night. And if you plan on using a flash, it is polite to warn the guests when possible, as this can be distracting to many people.
There are all kinds of details that you should consider before arriving at the event. Here are some key points for preparation.
- Arrive early so you have plenty of time to set up.
- Know where to park. If it’s a venue with limited parking, you may be required to park in a specific location.
- Bring extra supplies. You don’t want to have your camera’s batteries run out in the middle of the event. Make sure you bring extra batteries. On a similar note, bring extra memory cards as these can fill up quickly. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared in terms of equipment and accessories.
- Get familiar with the schedule. If it’s a small event confined to one room, this is a little less important. However, if it’s an all-day or multi-day affair, you should know what’s going on and when. Knowing the schedule makes it easier for you to make transitions from one shooting spot to another.
Do what you can to be comfortable. You’ll be moving around throughout the day and will need to shoot from a variety of positions. Wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothing so you don’t feel constricted. Keep in mind that at some events, there may be restrictions on what you can wear. If it’s a more formal event, you may still be able to dress in a business casual style. At more social or outdoor events, there likely won’t be a strict dress code.
Be Clear About What Your Client Wants
No matter what type of event you’re photographing, what really matters is what your client wants. Businesses may have one or more goals for corporate photography, depending on the venue and the kind of event.
- Ask plenty of questions. You want to be clear about the client’s preferences.
- Be aware of brand recognition. The client may want you to feature shots that have the company logo or banners that clearly display brand graphics and taglines.
- Know which people and teams are priorities. Most clients will want plenty of shots featuring team members in a variety of poses. It’s best to combine posed and spontaneous photos. You’ll probably be asked to take shots of certain people and groups. However, the best photos are often ones that are candid, or taken when people aren’t looking directly at the camera and are just behaving naturally.
Make the most of the setting. You may want to capture scenic shots of striking places, views and landscapes. For example, if the venue is a resort in a natural setting, you may be able to get scenic shots of a sunset, forest or lake. If it’s an urban setting, there may be views of the city skyline. Of course, it’s always good to feature people in dramatic settings. However, shots of the setting alone can also be a nice touch.
Stay Alert For the Unexpected
You may have everything planned out for shooting the event. However, nothing is entirely predictable. You never know when there will be an opportunity to get some amazing, spontaneous shots. Always scan the space and look for interesting shots. For example, a group of people may suddenly start laughing hysterically after someone tells a joke. A rainbow might be visible from a window. Look for emotional, interesting, or unexpected moments so you don’t miss them.
Keep a Low Profile
The photographer plays an important role at corporate events, but it should be a quiet one. When you set up your equipment, be sure it’s not blocking busy areas. You should be as close to invisible as possible so you can observe and shoot the event without getting in the way.
Corporate Photography Provides Many Opportunities
Corporate events offer a big opportunity for photographers. You have a chance to be part of interesting events in many industries and help businesses build their brands. Be sure to consider the particular needs of each client so you can customize your approach and give people what they want. As you impress more clients, you will continue to build your resume as an expert corporate photographer.