When shooting corporate events it’s all about preparation- and that doesn’t mean just in terms of your equipment. Preparation can be anything from learning about the customer demographic to where you will need to park on the day. These will most likely be well connected people you’re working for so professionalism is key- it’s all about doing your research, dressing the part and learning about the type of people you’re going to be shooting photographs of, this all goes a long way to making the right impression which can in turn lead to further jobs and opportunities. What does their company do? Who are the VIP’s? Where are they based? These are all questions you should be asking the client and event organiser well before the event.
An important piece of information you will need to know which always tripped me up when I first started is the type of photos the customer is wanting- we’ve all seen the flashy candid corporate photographs shot at places like Apple and Google, but 9 times out of 10 they aren’t looking for this. The majority of corporate companies are just wanting someone who is professional and documents the day well, catching the key moments of the event. Also make sure your customer looks good, they want to look great in a photo just as much as you would so I say again, do your research, check out their website and social media if you can, learn their style. If you ever hear anything along the lines of “wow I look good” then you know you’re on the right track to success.
That brings me on to my next topic of conversation, know the running order of the event, I can’t emphasise this enough – find out when and where that all important hand shake, speech or ribbon cut is going to happen, be prepared in terms of the shot the client is wanting as well as the destination of the photograph, if the image is going in a society magazine they most likely won’t want some abstract, arty shot- imagination and creativity are always a key skill to have within photography, but sometimes you have let that side of you take a step back and ensure you’re giving your customer what they want. Equip the right lens, take a few test shots within the lighting, use what time you do have to ensure you’re going to get the best possible photograph.
Communication is key when it comes to corporate photography- don’t be afraid to talk people, they may look scary in their suits and ties, but I can promise you, you will make more of an impression by being polite, but not intrusive and talking to various people rather than just being that fly on the wall photographer, it always helps people to relax as well, making your subjects feel a little more at ease can actually improve the quality of your photographs as it helps them give you a more natural smile, not everyone is a model and used to having their photograph taken so encourage them on where to stand, tell them to look at you- you could take the highest quality photograph ever with perfect lighting, but if someone in the photo isn’t looking then you’re most likely looking at a throw away, take more than one photo as well, if you take multiple photos then you’re more likely to get that perfect image.
Event photography can seem like a stressful genre of photography to tackle- but it’s nothing to fear, just make sure you are well prepared, communicate with the client, arrive well dressed and be confident.
And finally, always remember to take a spare camera battery!
By Jack Young – Photographer for ROUTEpr