HOW TO HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER FOR CORPORATE EVENTS??!?!?!
Here’s some advice on hiring an experienced event photographer for work.
Every so often I’m contacted by a new starter in a company who is clearly feeling overwhelmed by their task of gathering quotes or picking out the best photographer for an upcoming event at work. Do not be afraid. I’ve seen and heard it all.
You are welcome to call or email me for help, with no obligation to take on my services. I just want you to feel like you’ve got someone who knows what they are doing on your side, which you do!
If you are an experienced events manager, look away now to avoid feeling patronised. If you have been asked to find a suitable photographer for an event but you don’t know where to start, read on.
Photographers quote based on the information they have - to avoid confusing re-quotes, it’s best to have at least the basics at hand. However you cannot be expected to know everything, and we do our best to accommodate in these situations.
Try to have this information available (if you don’t that’s fine, we’ll just need to get this in good time before the event):
Who you are.
Timings. Preferably the photographer’s arrival/leaving times as well as the event’s timings. You may or may not have full information when we first chat, which is fine for now.
Style of the event. Just a basic overview - is it a drinks reception followed by award ceremony followed by a party? Is it 18 panel discussions set across 4 lecture halls and tech demonstrations during lunch?
Purpose of the photos. I shoot in a style that is suitable for the intended audience, so it’s good to know.
Things that need photographing. Again, it’s best to know these things but often it’s impossible to say until further down the line. Sometimes the brief is as simple as a list of speech times, plus ”guests enjoying the evening”. Other times it’s a veritable spreadsheet. It is important to communicate with the photographer what you need - often for more complex events with lots of sponsorship or voluntary workers, there are details that need photographing which might not be at all evident to the photographer without being told. I tend to print out my own special running order of events so that I know exactly where I should be and at what time. This allows me to confidently go free-range for other images that have been requested which are not time-critical.
HOW DO I GET THE BEST PRICE OUT OF A PHOTOGRAPHER?
If you have received a quote from your favourite photographer but it’s not within budget, be open about it and say something. We are freelancers trying to live a normal life in the big city, which means we need to price accordingly, but we are open to negotiation if required.
If you already know your budget, you can state this and see how the photographer responds.
WHAT IS CORPORATE PHOTOGRAPHY ANYWAY?
Corporate photography simply means photography for businesses (in contrast to family portraits, weddings and kids’ parties, which are private rather than corporate). I specialise in corporate events and headshots.
I hope this slightly rambling guide helps you to feel a bit more at ease in reaching out to a photographer. Again, please do simply get in touch with any questions you might have and we can go from there.
Best of luck!
It was a pleasure to update Acumentice’s headshots, who work with data in partnership with the NHS.
Lucy got in touch as the company needed some new headshots, for their website and marketing collateral. They needed options in colour and black and white, and a nice group shot. We also produced some semi-posed “meeting” shots for their future marketing.
Lucy was superb at helping to organise the shoot, and even on the day she continued to make great suggestions and help with the group shot. My camera was connected to a laptop so everybody could see how their photos were looking during the shoot itself. This means we can assess the images together in real-time, which helps the non-professional models amongst us to see what angles are working and where posture can be corrected. This makes directing the shoot a bit more collaborative, which I find works well for individual headshots.
The Group Shot
Group shots always involve some shuffling and last second alterations. Lucy was flawless in helping out with this, which was not part of her job description at all but it was much appreciated.
The Selection Process
The final images were required about 10 days after the shoot. We managed to keep post-shoot discussions efficient as we’d already selected the head shots that we liked in real-time on the computer, on the day of the shoot. I find this best as it ensures that everybody is happy with their images, and it increases efficiency a lot, especially on the client end (that’s you). No more group email discussions with dozens of photographs to look at!
It was a real pleasure to work for Acumentice. If you’re looking to update your own headshots, please do get in touch and we can discuss your own needs.
Final Final Thoughts
Is it spelled “headshot”, “head shot” or “head-shot” (here in the UK)? After much deliberation, I can conclude that there’s no real answer. However, an assessment of my emails suggests that clients tend to use the spelling “headshot”, so that’s what I’ll use too!
The events industry is of course heavily affected by COVID-19. I wish all my clients, both past and future the very best of luck going through this period.
If you’re interested to know what an event photographer does during a pandemic, I’ll give you a brief update. I’ve been: retouching other photographers’ images; designing and putting up the lighting on larger (socially distanced) advertising shoots; photographing still life/product photography for one of my main clients (we photograph a lot of shoes every year); doing a few socially distanced head shot sessions; reading a lot of Walt Whitman.
I also have a confession to make. I’m actually a fine art trained, ex pottery-making, conceptual sculpture producing free spirit in my spare time. I have a pseudonym for my fine art so that it doesn’t overlap with my corporate event and head shot photography. Over the pandemic I’ve expanded some of this work and had a (socially distanced) physical exhibition in September/October. I’ve been pretty busy really!
Again, I wish everybody the best of luck both personally and professionally in every aspect of life but particularly in light of the pandemic.
I was commissioned by Prada to document the extraordinary interior styling of their store at Heathrow, before it changes again for the next season.
Arriving at a time in the morning that I barely knew existed, I was to shoot a series of wide angle shots of the interior installation of Prada’s store in Heathrow. I had around 15-20 minutes to complete the shoot, as customers should not be waiting, especially given the time-critical nature of airports! The images are used for documentation purposes, as there are so many re-fits and style changes within Prada and the fashion industry as a whole, that it needs to be properly archived for reference and posterity. Colour accuracy and a “realistic” (but wide angle) approach to the imagery was important. Images were to be sent within a few hours.
To successfully capture images to the brief while working super fast and under pressure, you really need to have done a lot of interiors photography before, and thankfully I’ve got a fair amount of experience. To make things just that little bit tougher, the images needed to be edited, processed and sent within a couple of hours of shooting. I happen to live in a fairly central London location along the Picadilly line, so I was able to begin the editing process on the train, and finish the edits at my editing station in my home office. I have carefully calibrated monitors in a controlled environment, which is essential for accurately reproducing colours in photography.
DID THEY LIKE THE IMAGES?
The feedback was a simple “perfect”, which works for me!
It was a pleasure to be asked back to photograph the NCTJ Council this year, which took place at the stunning Bracken House which was designed by Albert Richardson. The Financial Times is based there.
Among other highlights, this was a panel discussion and an opportunity for students to speak directly with important people from NCTJ, and have their own say. I can’t help but be fascinated by the skill of shorthand, which can allow journalists to write down notes and quotes at extraordinary speed and in condensed form. The gold standard is 100 words per minute, and exams are available for achieving between 60 and 120 words per minute. As a comparison, 60 words per minute of typed text is a good standard for high end typing jobs. So 100wpm seems somewhat superhuman. I remember first noticing shorthand while watching one of the older James Bond movies as a kid.
Here’s an interesting video from NCTJ regarding their shorthand: https://www.nctj.com/journalism-qualifications/shorthand-teeline
And to give yourself some context, try this speed typing test to see if you can get anywhere near 100wpm! I know I didn’t! https://www.livechatinc.com/typing-speed-test/#/