Top Experiential Event Photography Tips

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A general impression of a brand documented through event photography is ultimately all that is left after the experience is complete. Offering fantastic final photographs of an event to the client is something that will be remembered and appreciated. These photos can also provide a nice agency portfolio addition and could easily get secure your agency more projects.

We all know that the whole point of an experiential event is for real, live people to receive the chance to connect to a brand.

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When I was a tour manager in the olden days (AKA 2003) I photographed every event with the purpose of including them in our recap reports. Sometimes I got really good ones but for the most part, these images were used for internal documentation, agency portfolio pieces and the more than OK ones landed in PR spots.

These days, photos of a promo event hold so much more value to an agency. Awesome event pictures have the potential to expand a brand’s reach in a massive way and with little monetary investment which is invaluable to clients.

Even if social media isn’t built directly into the event itself, that’s not to say photos from the event are useless. In fact, a SUPER DUPER event will often inspire consumers to take their own photos and post on social media.

When it comes down to it, images hold a lot of power. Although we are inundated with images daily some do stand out and there is a reason for this. A good quality photo of an authentic event experience can go a looooong way.

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Event photography isn’t rocket science. Through understanding and applying a few basic principals of photography and some mental effort, your event photos can markedly improve in a short amount of time. Shooting thoughtfully doesn’t cost any money or time. The more you do it, the better you get and it requires no more effort than the way you are doing it now.

What if no one from your agency can be onsite to provide event photography? That’s OK, too. Here you can grab a simplified PDF with the contents of this article and are welcome to share it with your tour manager, assistant, pet fish or anyone else who you think would benefit from having it.

Have your camera OR Phone handy – That’s right, you don’t have to have professional camera to take great event pictures. If you have a camera, fantastic, but if not your smart phone will do pretty darn well. You never know when cool stuff will go down and you want to be ready at all times. Having your photo-taking device in your hand or pocket is an excellent start to capturing on a whim.

 Circulate swiftly and document with confidence– typically participants won’t look at you strangely because event photography is expected. Don’t be shy about getting in there but do so quickly.

Don’t overshoot – No one likes a camera or phone in their face every minute. Be selective in when you bring your device out.

Don’t undershoot – Taking 3 photos of a 6 hour event isn’t going to do much for you. Definitely take enough to have some to choose from. Minimum 10 photos an hour and definitely more if you have the time. When it comes to group shots, absolutely take at least 4. Taking multiple photos is a quick process and it will eliminate the “what a bummer” feeling of being thrilled at a fantastic group shot but then discovering one group member is blinking or looking away.

Take candid photos – Capturing participants and brand ambassadors interacting without disrupting the scene makes for a more “real” look at the event. You want to focus on showing as much of the action as possible.

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Take posed photos – Lots of people enjoy having their photo taken and are willing to oblige. Show your subject/s having fun. Take individual and group shots. Friend groups tend to ham it up and this makes for GREAT event pics. Ask your subjects to smile!

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Use props – The event site is loaded with them! Premiums, gaming tools, photo stations and any other activities on the footprint add up to getting the consumer in the mix with whatever it is the client is promoting. Encourage participants to use these elements when posing for the photo.

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Signage and event site elements – Through event photography you want to make sure to identify the specific event itself. This means being sure to include event elements like product and signage in as many of the photos as you can.

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The details – photograph the overall event site but also be sure to come in close.
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Get creative – photograph from varying angles, from up high, low or anything other than the standard eye-level viewpoint makes for a more dynamic image.

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Staff as models: Use outgoing brand ambassadors to get the party going. Grabbing the most active and fun staff members to get participants engaged and documenting it makes for excellent event visual imagery.

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Send ONLY the best – clients want to see event photography over quantity so be sure to send a handful of GREAT imagery vs a ton of so-so results. What you leave out is as equally if not more so important than what you leave in.

People make the event – If you are onsite but only have a few minutes to spare photographing, focus on the people and their event experience. No matter the brand or promotion, the whole point of an experiential event is the EXPERIENCE a person is having with a brand. Remembering this on the chaos of event day will make it simple to pinpoint the most valuable photos to be taken.

Being aware of documenting events for your client is a key component in securing future work with the clients you want to partner with. Through following the above tips will help your event photos will stand out!

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