by Jim Vetter Photography
Having photographed events since the 1990's, I've seen it all - from high budget corporate events that photograph terribly, to low budget weddings that look amazing - and everything in between.
Event Planners and Designers need great photos of their work to show prospective clients, so why not plan in a way that will enable your event photographer to produce the best possible images for you?
Let's assume that you already have a great event photographer. If you don't, we'd be happy to talk! In any event, your photographer may not be advising you about how to make your events more photogenic. Here is what the photographer needs from you:
Something Worth Shooting
As an event planner, you make your living by creating spaces that support the event goals of your client. Whether you are attempting to foster interactivity or inspire awe, keep in mind the eye of the audience who will see the photos after the event.
Give the photographer something to work with - decor, signage, props, architecture, a view. The better the raw subject matter, the better the photos can be.
Focus on making your visuals and props contextual to your event topic or theme. Place your signage and props centrally so they will be featured within the context of the event and not hidden against a wall. Contextual subject matter in the photos will more effectively communicate to the viewer what the event was about and the happy client will have more useful photos of your great work.
Good light is the most important thing you can provide to make your event more photogenic. If your photos are important to you, put some budget toward professional lighting. This will ensure that photos of the space have dimension and texture.
If the space is too dark, people lit by flash in the photos may appear to be floating in outer space! There will be no dimension or texture, and no context either. If the room is too bright with even light everywhere, there is not mood. So how do you create dimension, texture and mood?
Use uplighting on the walls of the space to define the perimeter and provide dimension. But please do not use oversaturated colors for the lighting. Oversaturated lighting forces a good photographer to use so much flash that the mood of the space is lost in the photos - and it forces a poor photographer to deliver terrible images.
Use floodlights, spotlights, or pin spots to highlight important subject matter. Focus these lights on key people, displays, art, table centerpieces, signage, etc. Spot lighting is a great way to tell the viewers of the photos - as well as your guests - what you really want them to see. It also gives the photographer the perfect ambient light in which to photograph the important features. NOTE: Spot Lighting should never be colored/tinted because it is meant to show the subject matter with accurate color. They should also not be too bright compared to the surrounding ambient light.
For dance floors, (stay with me) you may consider using LCD light panels similar to those we first saw in Saturday Night Fever from the Disco era of the 1970's. I've shot events with this lighting and the images of guests on the dance floor are incredibly well lit compared to a dark floor. And of course, they are just fun!
Today's best cameras are getting amazingly good at capturing great images in dim light. (My newest Nikon can shoot at ISO speeds up to 400,000!) While this may sound like magic that makes flash obsolete, good photographers will continue to use flash for a plethora of creative reasons.
Adequate Time and Space to Shoot the Event Well
Make sure the event space is completely set at least 60 minutes before guests arrive. This requires that you set firm deadlines for all setup vendors. Set these expectations when you hire the vendors. Most events have staff running around the space until the last minute which makes it very difficult to get clean room shots and detail shots. These are the shots that you, as the event planner, will most likely want to use for your own promotion. The venue will also greatly appreciate getting beautiful clean room shots from you so they can show off their space to future clients. So please give your photographer enough time to shoot them well. The larger the space and the more details you have, the more time is needed to get great photos.
Nearly all events have some formalities on their agenda. These may be speeches, presentations, performances, demonstrations, dances, etc. Ensure that these special moments are photogenic by making them clearly visible to your guests and to your photographer. Use spotlights, stages, or risers. Put them in good light.
You can further help your photographer by planning the event's special moments such that there is plenty of time to move from one area to another as the moments unfold. Of course, be sure to share a detailed event timeline with the photographer in advance of the event day.
A good photographer will offer advice regarding the timeline, lighting, and layout of the space. Don't plan your event without consulting your photographer about what they need to do their best work for you.
Follow these simple tips and you are certain to create more photogenic events that represent your work in the best possible light!
Photogenic Events by Jim Vetter is a special event photographer serving northern California and destinations worldwide. Professionalism, speed, and attention to detail is what sets us apart. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Jim Vetter Photography is a high-end wedding photography studio serving northern California and destinations worldwide. Follow our wedding business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
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