Event Photography – Just an Extra?
Event organisers are quite often asked to organise a photographer for their client as well as all the other services, another opportunity for profit and praise or a chance for disgrace and disaster? Sometimes left as an afterthought is it any wonder sometimes the client is dissatisfied with the results – the only memento of all the event organisers hard work?
So are there any points to remember to minimise the risks? Firstly it’s really important that you understand what you are buying. There are as many ways for a photographer to price his services as there are photographers out there! Are you buying a set of prints, a set of contact prints (little prints to make your selection from) or a CD of full size files or only minimal size files? How much are reprints or copies or are there extra charges for the CD? Do you have the rights to reproduce anything taken? Get a clear quotation for your event and anything you don’t understand ask.
Next, does your client have any particular requirement for photographs, for example many events like to have their guests photographed formally in couples or individually. A lovely idea for a memento until you consider that you have 120 guests all arriving during a half hour period prior to dinner which actually only gives your photographer 30 seconds to photograph each couple providing they all arrive conveniently apart – not likely – so do you want your guests queuing? I doubt it.
If your client has high profile guests or speakers they may have requirements for urgent press release images. Be sure to let your photographer know that and that if a courier is needed to meet deadlines whether there are any extra charges involved.
Informing the venue and caterers that you have a photographer attending is also vital, some historic venues have limitations on photography so an experienced photographer for any venue can be a blessing. Also if the caterers have been informed that the room needs to be finished, tables set etc with enough time for the venue to be photographed they can plan accordingly.
Do you need the important guests photographed during speeches? It stands to reason that you must therefore plan your room setting with enough space that a photographer can creep into a space somewhere near the front to get an uninterrupted view. And while you are considering the position of speakers try and imagine the sight line you are expecting the photographer to have. Make sure that any logos or signage is well placed to be in the pictures, bear in mind that most photographers being considerate fellows will try to keep a low profile at the front so logos often need to be high in the background. Lastly try to avoid mirrors in the background – they play havoc with flash exposures should this method be needed, and can add some really ugly reflections.
Have you thought about the basic colour of your settings or stage? Strong colours will tend to reflect back on your subject affecting skin tones e.g. blue sets tend to make speakers look very anaemic and cold. White sets allow the photographers flash to reflect around but might show strong shadows if the subject is placed to close to a background. Black sets are great for losing shadows but tend to lose subjects if they aren’t highlighted with back spots to separate them from the background.
Choosing the right photographer at the planning stage of an event can help you miss the pitfalls that could ruin your function, the cheapest price is not always the cheapest alternative if you have a good reputation and want to keep it.
By Brian Russell.