Aaron Hockley does a good job of listing out the things you need to take into consideration when shooting an event with speakers and a large group of people. I’ve certainly run into problems with most of the things he listed, especially the last time I worked tech support onsite for a firm event. Granted, I was there first and foremost to do the A/V setup, keep the mics and presentation running , etc. but many times I take the camera and try to get a couple of photos that our marketing folks can use to market future seminars.
The last time I did this, it was in a room with one entrance at the back of the room, one aisle down the center, curtains that didn’t quite cover all of the window (on a very bright sunny day no less), and generally no way for me to get around at all without being in the way of folks who paid to be there. Obviously, I didn’t get anything worth writing home about.
Anyway, while Aaron’s list is good, I’m going to add a couple of other things to think about from my experience working events:
1. If you’re working with the event organizer as their photographer, get the script. Know what’s going to happen, when and where ahead of time. This is especially important if the event takes place in more than one room.
2. During the event, stay in touch with the organizer, because the script will change!
3. Be helpful to organizers and guests. They’ll be much more likely to help you get the shots you want if you’re not seen as a nuisance. If you’re friendly with the attendees you’ll get better candid shots.
4. Get there early, stay late, and shoot as much as you can. Like any photo outing, the more photos you take, the more likely you’ll have some good stuff!
5. Don’t forget the sponsors. If you’re working an event on behalf of the organizer, make sure you go out of your way to get photos of the sponsors. If they have a booth or table, spend some time getting photos. If you’re taking photo-op photos with the speaker, get the sponsors done first. They’ll appreciate the exposure, and in some cases, they may contact you about using the photos in their own marketing.
In short, communicate with the organizer, have fun with the attendees, and try to stay out of the way! 🙂
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