It is undeniable that capturing a compelling photo of a corporate event can be difficult. Corporate photographers are often faced with the challenge of producing outstanding images during these corporate events, as mediocre photography can significantly hurt the client’s brand and business. Expectations are rising beyond the clichéd images of people in business outfits smiling and shaking hands. Customers are looking for uniqueness and personality in the images, while still expecting a high level of professionalism from the photographer. Corporate event photography does not have to be dull. There are ways of capturing fabulous images that trigger interest. Here are some tips and techniques for taking perfect corporate photos and enhancing your reputation as a reliable corporate photographer:
Corporate photography is not entirely about coming up with something artistic, at least not for a good number of the corporate clients you will work for. Your clients will be expecting top quality professional photography that sells out their professional brand and personality. It is vital to prepare well for the photography session and know everything that is expected of you. Talk to your client and ask them about the details concerning the event in question. Try to secure a run sheet, which will be valuable in planning your schedule and movements for the duration of the shoot. Find out the exact time and location of the event so that you can get an idea of the lighting conditions. These details are imperative as they will help you to decide the kind of equipment you will need. Most events are held indoors and you should be prepared to work in low and artificial light conditions.
Don’t shy away from creativity
It has been mentioned that at times corporate photography can be cliché, but you should take the opportunity to be more creative and original and come up with great shots as well as fulfilling your obligations to deliver your client a clear and unambiguous record of the event. Imagine taking pictures of a gala dinner where most of the guest are seated, and try to see how many shots you can get, whilst maintaining creativity. Try to utilize interesting angles and perspectives so that the photos are not too basic. Look for different vantage points, a stairway or even an empty stage. Sometimes I resort to mounting the camera on a tripod and raising the whole thing above my head in an effort to get a different perspective. If there are decorations, take a shot between them. If the event is being held in a place with huge glass windows, go outside and take a shot looking back through the window. Try to cover the event from different perspectives to make the images more exciting.
Do not impose yourself on the crowd
Your choice of attire is essential. If you are used to the scrappy jeans and t-shirt look, get something more dignified for your corporate event shoots. If you turn up to an event where people are dressed formally and you look markedly different, you will stand out and you may make some of the people around you feel uncomfortable. Dress, instead, according to the occasion and blend in with the crowd so that no one notices you as you work. While blending in is important, however, always keep in mind that you should not get too comfortable with the people attending. Communicate in a friendly and professional way in order to do your job, but don’t try to make conversation with the guests. Remember you are there to take photos, not socialize. Don’t be tempted to accept offers of alcoholic drinks while working. You need to keep focused and alert during the shoot.
Do not rely solely on ambient lighting
Corporate events are almost always held inside, either in a hotel event space or exhibition centre. Occasionally you may be lucky and have a venue with a large window bringing in nice light from outside, usually in the tea/coffee area. It’s important to utilise this when shooting candids of people mingling. However, most of the event will be lit irregularly by overhead lights of differing colour balances. For this reason, its important to master your on and off camera flash. You will still need to shoot fairly wide open with higher iso in order to expose for the background, but your subject should be mostly lit by your flash. The downside to using flash is it alerts people to the shots you are taking, which can ruin the natural look you are going for. Keep this in mind and try to avoid taking too many. Take your time with the shot, get it right, shoot once then move on. When photographing people on stage, flash may not be necessary thanks to the stage lights. If there are presentations of any kind, it’s important to speak with the event manager ahead to make sure the presenter knows to direct the attention of the prize recipient towards you. It’s also important to find out where on stage the transaction will be happening so you can test the lighting and know what settings to use before the presentation. You can’t do a test shot once they are on stage, and by the time you have the right settings they may already be finished. Being friendly with the lighting technician is also a good tip. He or she will be able to give you a preview of the lighting before the main event.
Understand the purpose of the photos
It is vital to understand just how the shots will be used. It is most likely they will be used for marketing purposes, social media and print media, but be sure you talk with the client about this because their goal determines the kinds of shots you need to take. If the pictures are to be used for an annual marketing campaign, for example, you may want to avoid capturing any seasonal cues in the photo. Abstract images that are not focused on the attendees are perfect for marketing. People are essential in Brisbane corporate event photography, but they might be a distraction if the picture is actually meant to market a specific product or the entire event.
Take note of the key speakers
If the seminar, conference or event features speakers, sponsors, celebrity guests or other notables who need to be photographed, make sure that you can identify them before the event. Google images is a great tool here.If you can’t identify them, have a member of staff discreetly point them out. This will help you to be prepared when these people come on set, allowing you adequate time to capture them well. Similarly, you should note any individuals who would prefer not to be photographed and be particularly circumspect and diplomatic when capturing their images.
Corporate events in Brisbane do not always have to produce routine, everyday images. Such events, professionally and imaginatively photographed, can enhance the reputation of any Brisbane corporate photographer. Use the tips above to get the best pictures, fast-track your career and get more high-end corporate photo shoot contracts.
Source: Courtesy of Joseph Byford Photography