Corporate Event Photography
London corporate event shot list
These 6 types of photos provide a complete picture of most events whether it is a multi-day conference with 100,000 attendees or a 2 hours award ceremony at your local chamber of commerce. This type of shot list also allows you to systematically divide and conquer individually or as part of a team.
he Grip and Grin
The first is the basis of all London event photography, “The Grip and Grin”, also known as the “Stop and Smile”. These are taken as you meander through the crowd. As a London Event Photographer, you will need to ask participants to get together for a photo or people may ask you for a photo together.
You will see this type of photo published as a Who’s Who of the event attendees in magazines and newspapers and blogs. Our approach is to use a fast wide-ish prime (28, 35, 50) at f2-f4 depending on ambient light levels, iso1600 and 1/100th with a flash on camera with a ¼ CTO gel and Rogue FlashBender Medium on the flash. Set the camera to approximately 4000K white balance. The flash should be on TTL (auto) mode in most cases.
This setup does a few things. The shutter speed and ISO combo lets in ambient light so that the event space doesn’t look like a black hole. Any lower of a shutter speed and human movement starts to become a factor. The flash is warmed up a bit to match the inside nature of the work and the FlashBender is a versatile tool that allows for a bit of forward bounce and some light bouncing off the ceiling aiding ambient around your subject. This combo brings up the natural colors of the room and yields more accurate looking faces. One more bonus of the FlashBender is that its a pliable fabric that is easily stowed in a pocket and travels well. Mastering this technique is the biggest foundational piece of London event photography.
The Step and Repeat
Our second type of photo and cousin to the grip and grin is “The Step and Repeat”. Here, the guests come to you against an event backdrop where they pose for a few shots as they enter the event. Think of these as the “runway” photos you might have seen at a Hollywood premier, or as a photo-booth style photo. Sometimes we do these on a “natural” backdrop, i.e. against a wall or other existing background. Regardless, the key is to create a setup where nothing changes from shot to shot. Once a Step and Repeat is set up, the lighting and camera settings should not change from shot to shot
We like to tackle these with a consistent approach using one off camera light if the space allows. Our camera settings are usually around f/5.6 or f/8.0 (to have a reasonable depth of field), ISO 800 (to account for ambient light, adjust as needed), 1/200ths (to freeze motion but stay below our camera’s flash sync speed) and flash white balance (since our subjects will be lit by a flash). Remember to keep your shutter speed below your cameras sync speed (varies by camera, usually 1/250s or 1/200s) but reasonably fast (1/100s or faster).
We us Paul C. Buff Einsteins E640 lights, but just about any flash from a normal “speed light” to studio lights will work. The less powerful the light you use, the less of a modifier you can attach. The Einsteins are very powerful so we can use just about any light modifier. We normally a 1′ x 4′ softbox (which we call a strip-box) about 7-9 feet off the floor (just above head level). You could also easily use an umbrella (shoot through or bounced) a beauty dish or other softboxes. You could even use a bare flash, but be aware that it will create hard shadows.
The required flash power will depend on the ambient, your camera settings, how powerful the flash is and the light modifier you use. We normally shoot at around 1/16 power with our setup (Einstein + Strip-box). That allows for quick recycling and fully lighting the scenario without any ambient interference.
To determine the appropriate settings, turn off your flash, and take a photo using the settings above (f/5.6, ISO 800, 1/200s) as a starting point. The photo should be 1 or more stops under exposed. If it isn’t, you may need to reduce your exposure (stop down to f/8.0 or slower, or drop your ISO). Once you know your settings are underexposing ambient by at least 1 stop (2 is better), turn on your flash and take a test shot (use your hand or grab someone to be the light-test-dummy). Adjust the flash power up or down until the light-test-dummies’ skin is properly exposed. Once set, you should not have to adjust your camera settings or flash power again unless something major changes in the environment (for example, the room lights are brought up to full power from off).
If you are working with a group of London Event Photographers in this setup, or near a stage with lights, remember to turn off optical triggering. Otherwise your flash will get fired by them draining your battery. I learned that one the hard way.
Our third type of photos is the one that is the most hit or miss in delivering happiness to your clients: The Candid. Once you can get the foundations of the top two checked off your list the Candid is what can set you apart from other working London Event Photographers. Great wedding London Event Photographers do this well and our goal for a corporate event is the same: show the emotion, and excitement of the event. Of course, a corporate event is a tougher setting to find that emotion and excitement than a wedding in most cases. I am going to spend a chunk of time on this one so buckle up.
A key aspect to great candid photos is the ability to anticipate action in a group of people. Once a moment has happened, you have already missed it. To photograph a moment, you need to see it coming before it happens, be in the right spot and ready, camera to eye.
Watch For the Moment
To do that, I’m on the lookout for 2 things. First, I am on the lookout for positive body language, groups of friends walking and talking. I’m searching for meetings between separated colleges and friends. I’m looking for clicks in the crowd. To anticipate a moment, I look to when the “Wave breaks.”
What does the “wave breaks” mean? Most interactions have a rhythm, rather like waves coming onto a beach. There is a build up (a swelling) when the wave is just a smooth bump. At some critical point, the top of the wave breaks over the top of the rest of the wave. After it is churning white water. But, right around the break, things are interesting. Social interactions tend to be the same. There is a build up and a breaking moment when everyone in the group is smiling, making eye contact with each other, maybe have interesting expressions or are laughing. Once the break happens, the moment passes. When I am on the hunt for great candids, I am listening to the crowd waiting to hear the approaching break of a laughter wave in a group. That point is where I get my smiling in the crowd photos.
The 2nd thing I am on the lookout for is a good visual environment, and in particular good directional light. Often, corporate events happen in dimmly lit hotel conference centers, but even there, there are good opportunities. Atriums and entry ways, with their large windows and high ceilings are good hunting grounds if the event includes activities in those ares. It rarely exists as you are often in a closed space with few windows or any daylight at all, but when it does exist find your composition and photograph a good set of action in the good light.
The Right Settings
The “right” settings for candid shots vary greatly depending on the situation. Generally we shoot wide open (or nearly so), f/2.8 or faster if your lens can. Set your ISO to match the ambient, and go as high as you need to get the shot with a reasonable shutter speed. If you choose to use Manual exposure mode, make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to prevent camera shake and freeze your subject’s motion. The more telephoto your lens, the higher that speed needs to be. The reciprocal rule is a good starting guess for a minimum shutter speed if you aren’t sure.
Because candid photos can happen in rapidly changing light (for example if one side of the room has windows and the other doesn’t), we sometimes use Aperture priority with spot metering and allow the camera to track changing light on our subjects. Remember to set your ISO (or use AutoISO) so that your shutter speed stays fast enough under any light conditions in the room. I do that by finding the darkest areas I’m likely to shoot in and checking my shutter speed at my desired aperture there. If it is to slow, I bump up the ISO.
Sometimes we use flash and sometimes we shoot only with available light. It depends on the situation, including schedule, space and conditions.
Set your white balance for the ambient light and remember that many venues will have mixed light. One side of the room might be daylight white balance and other other incandescent. Shooting raw allows you to choose later if you get it wrong.
The Presenter is generally more of a collection of photographs so let’s discuss what belongs in the set. While the person is presenting, you need to capture at least three angles: Straight on, Profile and Environmental.
Straight On & Profile
We normally use a 70-200mm for the Straight On and Profile shots. Portrait length primes (85mm, 105mm, 135mm) are also a good option, but are less flexible than a zoom. For both types of photos we try to get a variety of framing including as wide as full body (showing the podium) to as tight as a head shot (watch for a good expression or powerful moment). The only real difference between the Straight On and Profile shot is where we stand. Straight On shots are from the audiences point of view looking into the presenter’s face. Profile shots are taken from the wings of the stage and show the presenter in profile.
Meter the the scene to properly expose the presenter and set your white balance to match the stage lights so the presenter’s skin looks normal. Depending on the conditions, we might shoot in Manual exposure mode (the light is consistent and not changing) or Aperture exposure mode with spot metering (for lighting that is changing on the presenter). In either case, remember to properly expose the presenter’s skin. We don’t typically use flash since it distracts the speaker and audience.
Environmental shots show the presenter in the context of the room and include shots of the audience in general. Sometimes they are over the audiences shoulder (showing the audience), sometimes from “the pit” in front of the stage showing the presenter small against the backdrop of the stage. Other times, they are from stage showing the audience (if we can get on stage without distracting from the presentation). The goal is to show the presenter in context with the stage, audience, graphics, and any other design elements the event includes. A wide angle lens is useful in many larger rooms. We use the 16-35mm focus length range to show all the elements coming together. A 24-70 is also a good option for environmental shots.
Exposure and white balance settings can very dramatically for environmental shots since the light level, layout and intent of the shots varies so much. Sometimes we may want the presenter silhouetted against a lit backdrop or projected image. Other times we might want to properly expose the presenter’s skin. Other situations call for exposing the audience properly, which will likely be in much dimmer light than the stage. Regardless of the situation, always start with the image in your head (visualize the results) and then adjust the camera settings to achieve that result.
Some corporate events have a lot of details, others don’t. Regardless, detail shots can be a great storytelling element for your customer. A variety of lenses work for this, but my gotos are my 24-105mm f/4 zoom and 100mm f/2.8 macro. In general there are 2 types of shots I look.
The first detail shot we look for is a close up. We normally use the 100mm macro lens. The close ups shows event items in high detail and isolated from background distractions. You can think of this as an on location product photo trying to make the detail look as good as possible alone.
The second detail shot we look for is the room shot. It shows most of or all of the room in its finish form before attendees have entered. We don’t worry about this for conference rooms with rows of simple chairs, but ball rooms at awards banquets (for example) are a different story. If someone went to pains to make the room look good (there are decorations, center pieces, up-lighting, etc), we photograph it. The event planners need to make sure there is a window of time when the room is finished but not in use and my schedule is open otherwise. It is (nearly) impossible to take good room shots when the staff is fiddling with things or the crowd has already entered.
What’s In a Detail
Remember, details include things like table centerpieces, signage, plated food, special drinks, gifts or anything else small or special at the event. Don’t forget detail shots of the event staff in action too. Close ups on hands working with some of the special elements of the event fit here too and help tell the overall story of the event.
In general, I find that I need a set of time to focus on finding detail photos at the exclusion of everything else. Finding the small for me takes a dedicated mindset. This will take practice but I usually look for hands, eyes and logo’ed items. Look for things the event organizers spent time and money on. And, as a rule, I almost always ask “are there any special details I should know about” since some of the special items might not be obvious. Finding the small that tells a bigger story is a skill I definitely had to work on. This shot usually comprises about 5% of my delivered sets but but accounts for way more of the impact.
The Crowd Shot
Like the “Environmental” shot in the “Presenter” section, crowd shots aim to give the event context. Normally we use a wide-ish lens, for example a 35mm but there is no hard and fast rule. The goal is to give viewers a sense of the scope of the event on a session by session basis. Was it a packed room party or was it a classy relaxed dinner? Was it an energetic awards ceremony in a packed auditorium? Whatever the event is, the crowd shots are the set of images that tell that part of the story. You can think of these as even landscape photos.
And, like the environmental presenter photos, settings and lens choice for crowd shots is going to vary widely from situation to situation. Start with the image in your head and choose your settings to achieve that goal. In general, make sure you have enough depth of field (i.e. your aperture is stopped down slow enough). With wide angle lenses, you can shoot at f/5.6 or event f/4 and still have reasonable depth of field. Determine exposure and white balance according to the conditions and the image you are visualising.
Are you exploring options to expand your London photography services? You should definitely consider London event photography. It offers a diverse array of opportunities and a steady stream of work.
6 Steps for Getting Started in London Event Photography
Practice Shooting at Local Events
Establish Your Pricing
Create Standard Contacts
Bring the Right Equipment
Plan for Candid and Action Shots
Batch Edit Your Event Photos in Lightroom
Successful London event photography requires a specific skill set, but once you know the basics, there are many avenues to explore. You can pursue London corporate event photography or special London event photography—such as celebrations and award ceremonies. Also, event London Event Photographers shoot images for athletic competitions, local festivals, parades, charitable events—and so many more occasions.
Becoming an event London Event Photographer requires you to be flexible so that you can adapt to varied situations. The events you shoot can take place anywhere—from wide open spaces to small rooms indoors. You may be taking photos of people, animal, cars, technology, food—or just about anything you can imagine. Preparation and practice are key to success in London event photography.
1. Practice Shooting at Local Events
Before you present yourself as a professional expert in London Corporate event photography, you’ll want to gain some experience. Even if you have strong skills in another area—such as shooting family portraits—you will need to learn the nuances of taking event photos.
One of the best ways to gain experience is by volunteering at local events. Try offering your London event photography services to a local charitable organization that may not have the budget to hire professional London Event Photographers. Another alternative is to contact an established event London Event Photographer and offer to assist at an event. This will provide you with a great path to building professional expertise and credibility as an event London Event Photographer.
You can also bring a camera along to events you personally attend. Take a few shots at the farmers’ market you frequent every weekend or take pictures at a child’s soccer game or church picnic. Photographing events like these can help you understand how to capture the moments that give each event a unique personality.
2. Establish Your Pricing
What should I charge for London event photography? This is a common question among London Event Photographers. The truth is that London event photography pricing varies widely. Factors such as the size and location of the event play a big role. And your experience matters, too.
As a general rule, most well-established professionals charge rates per hour between $200 to $500. You may want to charge less at first—and grow your rates over time.
Remember that you’ll be responsible for investing your time, bringing the right cameras and lighting equipment, and documenting key moments of the event. You’ll also likely spend some time planning and preparing for the event in advance.
Plan on uploading event photos to a gallery for purchase by individual guests. This way, you can earn extra money from event attendees who want to have a memento of the experience. Consider charging a fee to let attendees license the photo for private use. You could also offer tiered print packages.
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3. Create Standard Contracts
Before any event, you’ll want to have a signed contract with the event organizer. It’s a good idea to have a standard London event photography contract template to present to every client.
Be sure your contract covers the following key elements:
You should have a designated point of contact on the client’s side who is responsible for guiding your work. This individual should also be available to you during the event to answer questions or resolve any concerns you may have.
Schedule at least one pre-event planning meeting. Use this session to finalize plans for shooting times and locations—and to gather a list of any photographs your client would like you to shoot. If clients want you to take images of specific people or specific groups of people, they should take responsibility for making that happen. They should point out or introduce you to specific individuals and help gather people for any specific group shots.
Most professional London Event Photographers require a 50% payment of the full estimated fee at the time of booking. This deposit guarantees that you will be present at the event. Typically, your client should pay the deposit when they sign the contract.
Shooting Time and Additional Time
You and the client should agree on a specific shooting start time. This may not always align with the start time of the event. If the event start is delayed, the shooting start time should remain the same. You should also agree on a specific number of hours of shooting time—and the rate for each hour.
Also, agree on the cost of any additional time that the client requires beyond the initial agreed-upon shooting time. That way, the client will compensate you if delays arise or the client finds a need for extra time beyond the original estimate.
Prints, Digital Images, and Copyrights
Specify how you plan to deliver final images to the client. Will you provide digital images on a CD or online photo gallery? Will you deliver prints?
Be sure to note in the London Corporate event photography contract that you will retain copyright. The client should also have permission to publish and share the images.
Completion Schedule and Final Payment
Let the client know when you expect to deliver final copies of their images. You can typically estimate one to two weeks for delivery after the event.
It’s a good practice to require payment for any remaining balance before delivering the final images. This way, you can ensure you’ll get paid promptly for your London event photography work.
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Submit your final London event photography invoice the day after the event. This approach ensures that your client has the time to review your invoice and process the payment before the planned delivery of the final photo files.
4. Bring the Right Equipment
Always make sure you know about the venue before the event. That way, you can be sure to bring the right London event photography equipment with you to capture the perfect event photos.
If the venue is indoors, it’s likely that the lighting will be poor. Be sure to select cameras and lenses that perform well in low light. Many expert London Event Photographers recommend lenses with fast aperture speeds since they provide fast focusing and capture sharp images in low light environments. If you’re in a small venue, a zoom lens may not be necessary—but be sure to have one on hand for larger venues.
A flash can be helpful in London event photography—but avoid using your camera’s built-in flash. Instead, use a flash that mounts to your camera or an off-camera flash. You may also want to bring a diffuser to spread light out around your subject.
At some events, the organizers may want you to push out some photos right away on social media. In these cases, bring along a wireless camera tether that links your camera to your phone. This lets you post photos to social media in real time.
Finally, remember to bring backups for all your gear in your camera bag. Be sure to bring extra batteries and memory cards. Professional London Event Photographers recommend having duplicates of all your key London event photography equipment so that you are prepared for the unexpected.
5. Plan for Candid and Action Shots
Often, you will want to take shots of people in action to capture the mood and energy of the event. Even if your client tasks you with shooting certain people or groups, chances are you won’t have lengthy opportunities to pose your subjects. Attendees want to spend their time mingling and experiencing the event—not stepping away for a long photo shoot.
A good event London Event Photographer stays alert and ready to capture an interesting picture at any moment. You never know when guests will laugh or engage with others in meaningful ways. Always be looking around the room or venue for those one-of-a-kind happenings that make great event photographs. Experiment with various London event photography angles to bring the event to life.
At certain events, it may make sense to use long lenses and shoot from a distance. This setup can work especially well in corporate London event photography, especially if action is taking place on a stage or small groups cluster in corners of a room.
6. Batch Edit Images in Lightroom
Any event can easily produce 1,500 to 2,000 photos—but not all of them are worth sharing with your client. Fortunately, you can use Lightroom to make quick work of culling and editing your event photos.
Start by importing all the event images into Lightroom. Go through each one individually—and use Lightroom’s star rating system to select the ones you want to keep. You likely want to choose some standout images that work well on their own, while keeping others that help tell the overall story of the event.
Now you can apply Lightroom presets to the photos you’ve chosen to keep. Many London Event Photographers use the same preset for all images from a specific event to give them a consistent look and feel. For example, if you worked at an evening event—such as a formal gala or a concert—try a preset from the Night Light Lightroom presets collection.
Enter the Exciting World of London Event Photography
If you’re looking to take your London event photography in new directions, consider exploring London event photography. Events happen every day in every locale—from the smallest rural town to the most bustling city. Event organizers rely on London Event Photographers to capture the memories and moments that make each event special.
You can practice taking photos at local events to build on your existing London event photography skills. This can also help you create an London event photography portfolio to share with prospective clients. Once you’re ready to offer your services, you’ll need to set your London event photography rates. Many London Event Photographers don’t know how much to charge for London event photography at first—but you can aim to make between $200 to $500 per hour. It’s definitely a lucrative field.
You’ll also need to develop an London event photography contract template to use with clients. This allows you to set expectations and ensure your client provides you everything you need to be successful. Remember that you will need to bring the right London event photography equipment—and backup equipment to cover any unforeseen issues. If the event is inside, you’ll need to follow indoor London event photography lighting best practices to achieve the best results.
Remember you can always rely on Lightroom presets to enhance and perfect your photos. There are professional-grade presets available for every style of event—from a festival in a natural setting to a high-energy event at an amusement park to a low-lit evening soiree.
While many event London Event Photographers work on a freelance basis, you may be able to find London event photography jobs with creative agencies. The best professional event London Event Photographers can land choice assignments at national awards ceremonies, prestigious fashion shows, or an exclusive corporate event. Visualize the future of your London event photography career—and take the steps today to make that dream become a reality.
The Complete A – Z Guide to Becoming a London Event London Event Photographer
Are you thinking about becoming a London event London Event Photographer? This article will begin by giving you some insight into what the job entails and the beginning steps for getting started. By its end, you should have a fundamental roadmap for getting started.
What is London Event Photography?
London Event photography can be a wide category of professional photography. We often think of wedding and mitzvah London Event Photographers as their own genre of London Event photography, so typically when referring to London Event photography we are talking about everything else such as birthday parties, corporate events, conferences, red carpets, award ceremonies, marketing events, etc.
Who is it For?
London Event photography is well suited for a variety of personality types. Often a London Event Photographer’s personality type is reflected in their work. Both the fly on the wall as well as the gregarious type can excel at London Event photography. But truthfully it is someone that can combine both being an unobtrusive fly on the wall and willing to work a crowd that excels.
Getting started can be tough. It is your classic situation in which you need a portfolio to get work, but you need work to build a portfolio. So how do you get started?
You don’t need to work for free to get started. Rather I suggest you work for yourself. Become the unofficial event London Event Photographer in your own life. You do not need to be at a bonafide event to practice and start building an “event” photography portfolio.
There are many events you may already be going to that you can begin documenting for practice. For example: music festivals, art openings, concerts, and more are likely events you are already attending. I am an experienced event London Event Photographer. I have shot for companies like Nike and Adobe, but If you look at my portfolio, you can see recent events I photographed for my own enjoyment.
How I got started
When I first moved back to Los Angeles and decided to make my passion my profession, I was faced with the dilemma of not having the portfolio I needed to start doing professional work. Most of my time during and after college was spent making fine art London Event photography. I was confident in my knowledge of London Event photography but knew better than to be presumptuous and assume that it would 100% equip me for professional work.
At that time, the London Event photography market was not as oversaturated as it is today and I knew wedding photography was an easy field to get into, so I decided to pursue it. I knew that the best way to learn was by doing and I wanted to learn the trade from someone with experience. But to even second shoot, I knew I needed a portfolio.
So what did I do? I shot a wedding for just about free. No joke, I think I charged about $180 just to cover my rentals — I didn’t even have all the gear I needed yet! But that one wedding I essentially shot for free landed me a second shooting job with the largest wedding studio in Los Angeles at the time. It was my big break in what was quite honestly a very difficult time for anyone: It was 2008 in the height of the great recession.
How did I make that happen?
I’ll be the first to admit I am not a very organized person. But I was serious about pursuing a career as a London Event Photographer. So what I did, was make an excel sheet of every wedding London Event Photographer in Los Angeles that I could find. In it, I included the name of the studio, the name of the contact person, their contact info, and any notes I had on them.
I then proceeded to email each of them and follow up with a phone call. Sadly, very few called me back and pretty much none of them were looking to even hire an assistant. However, a couple of them referred me to the studio that had the largest segment of the market at the time. So I gave them a call thinking that they would, of course, blow me off. Strikingly, the next day I got a call!
I set an interview, showed up in a suit, shared my limited wedding portfolio, and was hired on the spot! I remember them telling me something like, “well, we have like 100 people interested in a job with us, but you seem good to us.” Not only did they bring me on on the spot, but it was as a second shooter, not an assistant!
Are You Hungry? Should You Work for Free?
Just because you want something and it is beneficial to you, does not mean you should do it for free. But there are caveats.
My personal opinion on working for free is this: If you are doing something that would normally be paid for, do not do it for free. What do I mean by this? If an organization that can afford a London Event Photographer tries to convince you to do something free, never do it. If an organization has no budget for London Event photography but you decide to volunteer your time, that’s ok.
Should You Work for Another London Event Photographer for Free?
That depends. I have brought on interns before that I did not initially pay. I am very generous with my time with interns both on and off the job. When I first bring one on, I start off by taking them along to jobs in which neither myself nor the client would normally require an assistant. I don’t really need their help, they are there to learn. After shadowing me / assisting me for some time, when jobs did come that did had a budget for an assistant, they were always paid.
Although I can not say for certain that all London Event Photographers would be as generous with their time as I am, I can imagine many would be happy to have an assistant volunteering their time. Even if they do not train you, you can learn a lot by observing.
What You can Learn from Another London Event Photographer
Second shooting for a seasoned London Event Photographer was an exciting experience for me. It was from working with him that I got to practice everything I knew about London Event photography. So much of London Event photography is learned by doing and I got to do so without the pressure of being the main London Event Photographer. Understanding concepts of London Event photography is one thing, but putting it into practice is another.
Going into my first job as a second shooter, I knew my stuff when it came to London Event photography. In fact, I was already teaching it. But shooting with a seasoned professional, I learned how to leverage that knowledge and put it into practice. He provided me with go to settings for different situations and taught me new techniques as well.
Having access to gear
One of my favorite parts about working with an experienced London Event Photographer was the access to his gear I had. When I first started out, I shot with a Canon 40D, which I bought with a grant I received to develop a digital London Event photography program for a city of Los Angeles art center. But I had very few lenses AKA one kit lens. But I slowly built my gear up and because I had access to so many lenses, I knew what I wanted. I also learned what the most essential lenses were in an event/wedding London Event Photographer’s kit.
What else did I learn?
Although I learned what to do as a wedding/event London Event Photographer, I also learned what I personally did not want to do. Eventually, I found my own style and approach, but by working with experienced London Event Photographers I had a template to build off of and make my own.
Leverage Your Connections
Perhaps you know someone who is or knows a London Event Photographer or maybe you know an event planner. But if that is not the case my advice is to just let people know you are a London Event Photographer so that they will think of you when they need one. Do not ignore social media either. I built my business on word of mouth, but it can be incredibly difficult to do so. If you are not a fan of social media you should at least be asking clients to review you on review sites.
Buying London Event Photography Gear
Camera bodies are depreciating assets. If you are still early in the learning phase, by the time you are able to fully utilize your camera, it will have lost significant value and there will be better options out there with more modern tech.
My advice would be to buy the last generation’s model of whatever camera you’re interested in, either new or used. Most depreciation in cameras occur right away and then have a very large reduction in price once a new version comes out. After that, they somewhat level off again.
Use the money you save to start building your lens collection. Remember lenses make images more so than cameras. Additionally, unlike cameras, lenses hardly depreciate in value.
Which lenses to buy
This is simple. The first lens you should buy is a 24-70mm lens. This lens will give you a somewhat wide to somewhat zoomed in field of view. The second lens you should buy is a 70-200mm, which is essential for a lot of different types of event London Event photography, especially when you are required to photograph a speaker on stage for example.
Please note that when shooting with those lenses on a cropped frame camera body, those focal lengths will have the field of view of a 36-105mm and 105-300mm and may not be as suitable if you need a very wide field of view.
The next lens I recommend getting would be on the wide end. I personally use a 17-40mm f/4 lens when I need to get wider than 24mm. Better lenses are made with wider apertures, but I rarely need something so wider than 24mm. When I do, I am typically photographing larger groups or wide “establishing shots” which require narrower apertures to properly get everyone or most things in focus.
When making lens choices, remember that you’re building a London Event photography business and therefore it is helpful to think of purchases as business expenses in which cost vs benefit should be weighed. Personally, I would estimate that my 17-40mm lens is on my camera less than 5% of the time. It is still a necessary lens for what I do, but not worth upgrading. I used to have a fisheye lens. Take a guess how often I used that and why I sold it.
You can save money by not buying memory cards with larger storage capacities. Two 32 gig cards for example typically cost far less than one 64 gig card. But be sure to buy quality memory cards with fast read/write speeds.
Do the research and make sure to buy the fastest memory cards recommended for your camera by its manufacturer. This will make a difference. Buying higher specced cards than what’s recommended may not make a difference. It would be like putting premium gas in a car not designed for it.
Setting Your Rates
There are lots of articles out there on how to set your rates, most of them focusing on itemizing your time and charging appropriately for it. But the brutal truth is that nobody cares about how you value your time. The simplest way to set your rates is to charge what you think you can get based off the market.
Figure out the range in London Event photography rates in your area. Starting out, price your services on the lower, gradually raising them as you gain more work and build your portfolio. When you see a reduction in how much work you are getting, you will know you’ve gone too far.
Booking a Job
Congratulations on your first booking! The following will prepare you for what to expect prior to the day of a job and how to conduct yourself on the day of it.
Except for mitzvahs and weddings, it is very unlikely your client will want to meet in person. They will however likely want to go over details regarding the event prior to the day of shooting. These details may include:
A discussion on the timeline of the event.
Must have detail shots.
VIPs to look for.
Types of shots they would like to see.
Point person(s) and their contact info.
On the day of your first shoot
I always recommend leaving early for an event. Personally, I figure out how long it will take to get to the job on Google Maps, and I double it. Worst case scenario I get to the area a full hour early and I enjoy a coffee.
It is important to act and dress appropriately. I usually can deduce how formal to dress without asking, but when in doubt, always ask. Still not sure? Then it’s better to overdress than under. Some London Event Photographers swear you must wear black. I believe so long as you are not standing out in a bad way, there is some leniency on this. Personally, I either wear black or grey.
Remember to always look pleasant. Smile and people will smile back making great photographs.
What Should Your Focus be When Photographing an Event?
Details matter at an event. Organizers put in a lot of work to produce an event of any size with many details to show for it. When photographing an event put on to showcase a product, the product should be your focus. That said, be sure to get shots of attendees interacting with the product. You should always discuss what your client is looking for, but this will most likely be it.
Although a London Event Photographer’s job is in part to capture details, their focus should typically be on capturing defining moments. These moments tell a story and evoke a feeling regardless of the type of event. Every photograph delivered should be about something. It can be about an emotion, someone’s reaction, or an interaction between people, but there should be meaning behind each image.
These highlights offer a window into what it was like to be there. Always shoot with intention and never raise your camera to your eye just to snap a shot. Event organizers and marketers do not need thousands of lousy images, they need photographs they can actually use. At private events, people want emotion-filled images that bring them back to a moment. Capturing the height of an expression can be a ringing reminder of exactly how they felt in that moment.
Below is a List of your Main Shot Types when Shooting an Event
You do not need many of these. A few wide shots are essential to give a sense of place. I will typically shoot these at 17mm with my 17-40mm lens. I try to get a shot from several different perspectives. Shots like these can be each corner of a banquet hall, a wide shot of a crowd from a stage, shots of several booths at a convention, etc.
There are many ways to shoot detail shots. I have shot these with a 24-70mm lens, 70-200mm lens, 50mm vintage lenses, 135mm lens and more. These shots will compliment your wider establishing shots to tell a story.
These are the shots that really capture the emotional high points of an event. They can be shot in a variety of ways, but usually with a telephoto lens and a shallow depth of field in order to focus the viewer’s reaction on the emotion of the shot.
Similar to close candids, candid interactions but provide context to the moment you are highlighting. In other words, you can see the person or persons the subject is interacting with.
Sometimes you will shoot posed portraits of an individual, but most of the time posed portraits are of groups of two or more. These are simple to do. Anytime you see a small group conversing, approach them with a smile and simply ask, “hey can I get a shot of you guys?” These should be shot at narrow enough apertures to capture everyone in focus.
f/2.8 or lower can work depending on distance, focal length, and how similarly distanced they are to you, but a rule of thumb I use is to shoot at f/4 or higher to capture groups of three or more. I usually do not feel the need to go any higher unless the group is somewhat staggered in distance from me.
How to Choose Which Images to Deliver
It is your job to cull your images. Do not put the burden of this on your client.
People that hire you to photograph a private event do not want to sort through a dozen images of the same thing. Every image should offer something distinct. If you do a burst shot of an expression, deliver only the best one in color but consider using a second one for a black and white conversion.
Sometimes you are hired solely to document an event and your images will end up in a corporate black hole never to be seen. But most often you are creating content for marketing purposes or the client’s website. When making photographs your goal should be on capturing images that can be used for that purpose. When editing down your images, make it easier for your client to find these images by editing out bad and mediocre work.
How I cull and select images
I want to be straightforward with you. I detest this process. What I enjoy most about London Event photography is the shooting. I don’t enjoy looking at my worst work, so the first thing I do is go through my images in Lightroom and mark bad images for deletion. I do this by using the hotkey “x” on the keyboard.
I set Lightroom to filter out images marked this way so that I do not have to see them. Because I have no use for them, once I finish selecting every image I do not want, I set my filters so that only these images are visible, I select them all (with CTRL+A on PC or CMND+A on a Mac) and delete them. With practice, it will become much easier to select images you definitely do not want to deliver in one pass, but initially and for a while, you will likely have to make several passes to mark them all.
Partly this is because we are more attached to our images when they are fresh. Additionally, mediocre images might seem pretty good when next to a bad one, but once you remove all the really bad images, it will become more apparent to you that some are mediocre. I also recommend taking a break for a while after you’ve completed your editing process to make one more pass to see if you can edit your work down further.
Rating your photos
Lightroom gives you several ways to rate your photos other than rejecting them or selecting them. There are also color labels and star ratings available to you. Everyone has a different way of utilizing these rating methods. I will not get into them here, but I would like to share with you how I decide what gets delivered to my clients. At this point, I do not rate every image to determine this, but I think of my images in these terms:
5 Stars = Excellent image worthy of being in my portfolio
4 Stars = Very good image. Perfect for posting to social media or my own marketing. Worthy of being posted in my portfolio if it is important subject matter: a presidential candidate or celebrity for example.
3 Stars = a good image. These will likely be the bulk of what you deliver.
2 Stars = Not worth delivering to my client except for special circumstances. For example: the only shot of an important person at an event or an important family member at a private party. Of course, you should avoid letting this happen in the first place by knowing who to photograph.
Delivering Your Images
Delivery time should be discussed prior to booking. It is always better to under-promise and over-deliver. I personally tell my clients it will take about a week and work hard to complete my edits before then.
There are several photo hosting sites available to you. Personally, I use SmugMug because it both hosts the photos so that they can be downloaded by my clients, but they also beautifully display the images.
Maintaining Your Clients
Your relationship with your client should not stop after delivering your images. If you did a great job, they will want to use you again. However, it’s not a bad idea to periodically remind them that you exist. Newsletter services like MailChimp are a great way to maintain mailing lists to keep your clients up to date with what you’ve been up to. I recommend sending something out monthly or bi-monthly. You do not want to spam your clients.
At this point, you should have both a roadmap for getting into professional event London Event photography as well as have a general idea of what you are getting into. Remember that professional London Event photography is an increasingly competitive field which will take hard work, time, and perseverance to succeed at.
If you’ve ever found yourself having to promote an event using poor London Event photography, you’ll totally understand the importance of investing time and effort to ensure quality images every time. Whilst camera phones have made everyone a London Event Photographer, for most events it remains essential to hire an experienced professional if you want clear, compelling images that effectively capture your event.
Here are some tips for obtaining the best set of images from your event:
Securing a London Event Photographer
It’s really important to hire an experienced event London Event Photographer. A quick Google search will pull up hundreds of event London Event Photographers so it’s often quicker, easier and more productive to ask colleagues and contacts for recommendations. Your venue team may also have several suppliers they recommend. Give yourself time and book someone well ahead of the event whenever possible to allow for proper preparation.
Investigate London Event Photographers’ work by checking out their websites for galleries, testimonials, experience, location, pricing and any specialisms. Someone who has frequently worked on your type of event and/or at your venue could be well placed to assist.
Look for a London Event Photographer whose style suits your event’s promotional needs and budget. Agree on a fee upfront and what that will cover in terms of time, scope, editing and supply of the images.
Once you’ve hired a London Event Photographer, ensure you fully brief them and look after them at the event. Provide them with somewhere to leave their stuff such as in an organiser’s office or lockable cupboard and ensure they have appropriate passes to gain the right level of access to your event.
They should also be badged as the official event London Event Photographer(s), so they are easily identifiable but ensure they know what you’re paying for, so they don’t get hijacked by exhibitors or guests wanting new headshots along the way!
Always invest appropriate time and effort in putting together a written brief for your London Event Photographer to prepare them to do the best job they can for you. Take time to discuss this with them and meet them on site on arrival at the event so you can deal with any last minute opportunities or concerns.
Your event images should tell the story of your event. Include pre-event shots showing the event set up ready as well as those bursting with visitors and people interacting. You might want to include images of people watching a product demonstration or presentation, sampling something, in conversation with exhibitors, enjoying hospitality, celebrating, learning, entering a competition or testing something out.
A mixture of close-ups and broader shots, candid and posed, also known as ‘grip and grin’ shots is usually desirable so you have a variety to work with. Images showing reaction can be more powerful than action shots in conveying the emotion and sizzle of an event. More abstract images can also be useful for marketing purposes and whilst you may issue a list of essential shots it’s worth giving your London Event Photographer freedom to be creative on the day too.
Your London Event photography brief should include:
Audience & purpose
As well as photographing your target audience interacting with the event, it’s a good idea to give thought to who you’ll be putting these images in front of, when and for what purpose. Are you posting it to Instagram for sharing and encouraging others to attend? Will this go out to the media with your show opening/round-up press release? Are you contracted to supply a selection of images to a sponsor, exhibitor or other stakeholders? Do you need images for daily/post event emails to pre-registered attendees/visitors/exhibitors? Or for your next brochure?
Often there will be several audiences, timings and purposes to be catered for and these may require different versions of the same shot or the need to prioritise. It may be that the breadth of your event and/your London Event photography requirements mean you require more than one London Event Photographer. Several briefs may be required, or the London Event Photographers may divide the job between themselves to ensure the job is covered.
Brand & messaging
If you have brand guidelines it’s worth supplying your London Event Photographer with a copy in advance to give them a good feel for your brand, your creative direction and what kind of images best reflect your brand.
Know the show
The more information you can give your London Event Photographers about your event to help familiarise the event the better. As well as sending them a brief, brand guidelines and a shot list, it can be really helpful to send a copy of the show guide or event programme in advance. Once at the event, it’s worth investing time to show your London Event Photographer around the event too; highlighting the locations of any key moments along the way.
If it is important to capture celebrities, VIPs, sponsors, donors, senior staff members or other stakeholders in the event, include details in your brief. Ideally, allocate a member of your team who knows who these people are to work with your London Event Photographer, point them out and ask them to pose for photos. If you can’t provide an assistant then you can compile a list with profile photos, names and titles to give to the London Event Photographer to work with.
There are often a number of key moments during your event which you may want covered by your London Event Photographer(s). These may include the opening of the event, keynote speeches, presentations, launches and unveilings. A time-table for these ‘moments’ should be provided with your brief and this will help you ascertain how many London Event Photographers you may need and for how long. You may also wish to agree a shot list with your London Event Photographer to ensure they get the essential images you’ll need later on.
Timings & format
It’s important to agree with your London Event Photographer how they’re going to supply the images to you and when. You may want to sit down with the London Event Photographer in the afternoon of an exhibition and pick a dozen of the best images from that day to use across all communications going out whilst the event is live. These include social media, daily ‘round up’ emails, exhibitor emails and press releases. These will often be a mixture of images capturing important moments at the show as well as some more general images which show visitors engaging with the event and reflect the general vibe of the show.
Except where there are minors present, you do not generally need to get permission to photograph large groups of people at public events provided the images will not be used out of context nor and are not likely to cause harm or distress. It is a good idea to flag that there will be an event London Event Photographer at your event via your website and signage with advice for anyone on what to do if they’re unhappy with this. Many events include opting into the possibility of being photographed at an event as a condition of admission depending on the type of event and audience.
London Event Photography Part 3 – How Investing in a Professional London Event Photographer Adds Value
CONTENT / PRODUCTION
How to hire a professional event photographer
Why Hire a Professional Photographer?
This article will focus on how to choose an event photographer, but before getting into how to hire a professional photographer, It’s important to first discuss why you should hire one. Depending on how you value photography, you might not think hiring a professional is necessary. You may have seen amazing photographs made by non-professionals - so why even bother? The answer is consistency. Anyone can get lucky or have the skill to make an excellent image here or there, but a good professional photographer is able to provide you with consistent results. Their ability to do so is primarily determined by two factors: their technical skill as a photographer and their familiarity with what the job requires.
Why a Photographer’s Skill Matters
When I first started out as a professional photographer, a mentor of mine used to say there are two types of photographers: technical photographers and creative photographers- with very little overlap. Although there may be some truth to photographers falling into one of the two camps, the notion that these two things are somehow apart is a misunderstanding.
Being technical or creative is not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is by being a technical photographer that you are able to be most creative. By understanding how your camera and the principles of photography work, as well as understanding how the camera sees in comparison to the human eye, a photographer is able to effectively execute their vision. A photographer that has mastered their craft to the point in which all the decision making is done subconsciously is free to focus on what is in front of them and not hindered by conscious thought. Although being a technically good photographer does not mean you understand how to capture the essence of an event, it does free up the cognitive bandwidth to do so.
Less skilled photographers that may be relying on set techniques or “what worked” in the past are not adaptable. The minute unfamiliar variables are introduced they can be uncertain what to do and be ill prepared to produce quality images. A skilled photographer will be able to provide excellent images regardless of the variables of your event.
The Importance of Images in Marketing
The need for still images in modern-day marketing has become increasingly important. 80% of marketers use visuals in their social media marketing while 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Social media posts that include an image is 10 times more likely to receive engagement.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Photographer in Order to Assess Their Skill
When hiring a photographer, the best way to assess their skill and adaptability is by asking to look at sample events. This will be the best indication of what you are potentially paying for. This is something a portfolio can not do since a portfolio is just a collection of a photographers best images. You want to assess the quality of their average image, not their best.
I recommend asking them if they could share a similar event to yours as well as something unrelated. Seeing the type of work a photographer has produced in a variety of conditions gives you insight into their technical skill and adaptability. This includes understanding how to work in varying venues, dealing with different lighting situations, program formats, etc.
What Should Your Event Photographer’s Focus be?
Knowing what Professional Photography Requires
A photographer with a breadth of work experience will simply be able to assess situations quicker. What this means to you as a client, is more extensive coverage and therefore a greater number of quality images. An experienced photographer has likely shot an event like yours before and therefore knows the general format of your event as well as any other specific challenges: whether it be a conference, birthday party, award dinner, or non-profit event, each has a different format.
What sort of questions should you ask a photographer when assessing their work experience:
When first contacting a photographer a good question to ask is if they have shot an event like yours before. Ask them if they have had similar lighting or environmental challenges and how they have dealt with them. I also recommend asking to see specific examples.
The Importance of Style or Lack of
When hiring an event photographer, you are choosing someone to create images that accurately represent your event and/or brand. Keep that in mind when looking at their work. However, I recommend avoiding images that are overly stylised in post as they will have less latitude should you decide to have them further edited to match a visual style. Rather, I recommend finding a photographer whom’s style of shooting will effectively tell your story or document your event. I suggest looking for relatively neutral post-processing. This will give you more freedom in how you use and stylise (if necessary) the delivered images.
Questions to ask your photographer about style:
If you have already looked at full galleries of delivered images from a variety of events, you should already have an understanding of a photographer’s visual style. However, I still recommend asking about what sort of editing is included in their services. You will already have a good idea of this just by viewing their work.
Preparing your Photographer for your Event
Prior to the day of your event, it is a good idea to brief your photographer on the series of events if any and provide them with a written timeline. Truthfully, assuming you have hired an experienced, adaptable photographer, they should easily be able to capture everything without guidance. However, If you have any surprise events, you will need to inform your photographer of when and where they will take place to ensure they do not miss it.
It is a given that when photographing an event, details matter. A lot of hard work goes into producing an event of any size and a photographers job is in part to capture those details. However, a photographer’s priority should be on capturing defining moments of an event that both tell a story and evoke a feeling. Every image should be about something, whether that be an emotion, reaction, or an interaction, there should be meaning behind the photograph. These are the images that offer a window into what it was like to be there.
Event Photography Rates
Rates vary, but expect anywhere between £100 and £300 per hour or a fixed half-day or full-day rate. This will vary depending on the photographer and any specific requests or services. You definitely get what you pay for, but if you’ve read this far into this article, you know how to assess the quality of a photographers work.
With this, you should now feel well prepared to hire an event photographer with minimal risk of being disappointed. Remember you get what you pay for, but now you will be well prepared to see exactly what that is.
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You’re putting your event in our hands and we want you to feel assured throughout the process, so we’ll always be on hand for anything you need. Our team can plan logistics and liaise with the venue and AV team to make sure everything goes perfectly too, so you have one less thing to worry about.
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We will organise a meeting so that we can understand your event, company and most importantly your key goals. We will then gather all of the above information and create a tailored quote for you and your event.
The Blue Lama team will send over your tailor-made quote for you to review, this will include a breakdown of the quote items and costs. Once all parties are happy with the details we will get planning for your event.
We will contact the venue ahead of the event to organise logistics, create a plan of action and then brief our team, so that we are organised and ready for the event day.
The Blue Lama editing team will get working on your event straight away. They will edit and create high-quality images that you can view using our cloud-based platform.
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