There are many aspects to best utilizing an event photographer, but communication tops the list. Begin by providing as much information as possible to the photographer regarding agendas and schedules. Clearly define the end use of the images (such as a PowerPoint show, a viewable DVD or archival purposes).
Include the photographer in any pertinent planning, rehearsal or overview meetings, especially once on site. Go beyond meeting agendas and schedules of activities on- and off-site by prioritizing your needs with the photographer.
Clearly define the correct purchase order and invoice procedure before the project is underway.Discuss travel schedule, air and ground transportation, hotel, meals and expenses. Will there be per diem? What will happen if additional supplies or equipment are needed? This saves both parties headaches before and after the event.
Understand variable conditions beforehand and talk with your photographer about them. As events take place in a wide variety of locations, times of day and weather conditions, you can help your photographer to be prepared with the appropriate gear for any given situation.
Coordinate with production and staging companies, speakers and entertainment. Each of these entities has their own specific duties and responsibilities and they are often working autonomously. Introduce your photographer to these partners and define responsibilities or any boundary issues to prevent potential access or legal issues.
Speaking from experience, I can say that, remaining adaptable to change is the highest priority of a good event photographer. Schedules, weather or other factors can alter an event at a moment's notice. I do my best to see it coming, but when I can't, I reevaluate the situation and keep on going. My favorite clients seem to take it all in stride and do a great job of keeping me informed along with the other vendors providing services for their meeting.
Photographers are there to help you achieve your goals with a positive outcome. I thoroughly enjoy partnering with clients, providing them with great service as well as great images. Turning challenges into creative opportunities, which is what we, as photographers, do best. We welcome the chance to do what we love.
Douglas Shoop is a 24-year veteran photographer specializing in meetings and events.
D.R. Shoop Photography // Minneapolis / 612.598.2534 / www.darkwatercreativegroup.com