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How to brief an event photographer

How to brief an event photographer

You’ve planned your event down to the last tiny detail and everything is flawlessly in place – so how do you ensure that the memory of this perfection lives on? By making sure you get it captured in all its glory, which is why briefing your event photographer is a crucial element that you can’t afford to miss.

A photography brief is essential as this isn’t just a fool-proof guide for your chosen photographer, but it’s also a safety net for you and your team.

Here’s how you can make sure that your event is picture perfect.

Firstly, it’s best to have a pre-meeting with your photographer and go over exactly what you expect from them. There are three important elements that you need to cover in your brief – schedule, style and shots.

Schedule – where and when you need them
  • You can’t expect the photographer to be everywhere at once, especially if it’s a big, crowded event. So, make sure they know exactly what is going down and when.
  • Put together a comprehensive event briefing pack: include a detailed run down of the programme, a list of speakers that must be photographed (you could even include pictures of key individuals to ensure they are included) and discuss other key elements that you want captured like the décor, food and backstage activity.
  • If there are specific key events you want them to capture, provide the timings for these events. These events could be the CEO’s speech, a headline act or specific team photos. The more information the photographer has, the more time they’ll have to set up their equipment so that they’re ready when the time comes.
  • Be sure to include any dress code specifications, as you want the photographer to blend in and look the part.
  • If people’s names and titles are important, ask them to carry a notebook and pen to record these details. This is vital if you would like to send the pictures to the social pages of magazines or upload in an industry gallery.
Style: Getting the right look and feel
  • It’s best to have examples or reference shots of the kind of images you want – especially if you want to use these images on your social media feeds. Sharing visual representations of your needs will let the photographer know exactly what you want and inspire them to work in that style.
  • Think about what you want the photos to convey. You want to capture the mood of the event, from the excitement of the winners to the groups having shooters at the bar and all the funny/ serious moments in between.
  • Also discuss extras you’d like to include, like some arty black and white images, pictures with everything in focus or just the foreground, or those detailed close-ups.
  • Be sure to discuss image sizes and file formats as remember printed images need to have a higher resolution.
Shots: From close-ups to crowd shots and everything in-between
  • Go beyond the surface look and discuss the kind of shots you’re looking for.
  • Make sure to mention that you want a mix of styles like, some staged formal shots, action shots, reportage-style scenes that people aren’t aware were being taken, pictures that tell the story of the event – from arriving to departing, and candid social media-style snaps.
  • Don’t just focus on the people, be sure to include the specific images you want captured – like that special bespoke cocktail that was created just for this event.
  • The broader the mix and style of images, the more uses you’ll find for them – think of your different digital platforms, corporate brochure, advertising for future events, or even sending to the media.

Two established photographers who know their way around events share some valuable advice and tips:

Celebrity events photographer, Oupa Bopape, of Ouparazzi, is a staple on the red carpet. He even has a licensing deal with Getty and Gallo images for local events.

He says, “A detailed briefing is key, the more information I have the better I can plan for all eventualities. If you want to get a specific style or lighting effect, you have to let me know in advance, so I can get the necessary equipment. It’s also important to discuss the use of any extras or props, like photo booths or portable printing stations so that these can be arranged and quoted for upfront. “

Tumelo Leburu, photographer and trainer at the Market Photo Workshop, says, “One of the most important aspects around briefing is the client’s expectations. l need to know what they want to see at the end and then work to incorporate their requirements into the requested styles. It’s like I tell my students, with event photography most clients don’t think like visual artists do. They don’t understand lighting and what goes into the photographic process – that’s your job – they’re just interested in the final product. So you must cover all your bases and shoot as much as you can – especially the key image requests. I prefer offering more than what’s expected, so while I will shoot images in the requested styles, I also do another perspective, especially if a picture works better in a different style. It’s always ideal to have more options as you can’t go back and recreate shots.”

Ten team building ideas everyone will love!

Ten team building ideas everyone will love!

Want to impress your bosses and wow your colleagues with something exceptional for your company’s conference or team building event?

The first step is finding the right location, like Johannesburg’s The Canvas Riversands. This conference and eventing centre is centrally located in Fourways, with lots of parking and plenty of adaptable spaces that are perfect for everything from full audience plenaries to small group breakaways, and it has the added bonus of rolling, green lawns so you can also arrange outdoor activities.

The next step is finding the right mix of activities to ensure a memorable experience. Here’s some great ideas that are guaranteed water cooler conversation starters.

Take it outside
Mindful Matters
  • Time: 45 – 60 minutes
  • Number of participants: Two at a time
  • Tools needed: Wide open spaces and the relevant instructor
  • How to: Shake things up with some soul lifting mindfulness exercises. Doing something different in an unexpected setting will not only get everyone bonding but it will also get those creative juices flowing. Take attendees outside their comfort zones with one of these three mind, body activities: Tai Chi, Yoga or meditation. While Tai Chi is a form of martial arts, it’s extremely low impact as it’s more like meditation in motion.
  • Objective: A great stress reliever, bonding exercise and overall mood booster.

Sumo wrestling

  • Time: 1 – 3 hours or even longer
  • Number of participants: Any
  • Tools needed: Inflatable sumo wrestling suits and ring
  • How to: Simply hire the equipment from a local company and get ready to have some fun. This is the only chance you’ll get to legitimately push down and pin to the ground that annoying guy who’s been stealing your lunches!
  • Objective: A wonderful bonding exercise with guaranteed fun!

Scavenger hunt

  • Time: 2 – 4 hours (or even a whole day activity)
  • Number of participants: Even sized groups
  • Tools needed: Pen and Paper
  • How to: Divide the group into several smaller, equal sized teams. Make a list of tasks for the teams to do as a group. Tasks can be funny, hard, or goofy – just know your audience and plan appropriately. Some fun tasks include:
    finding hidden objects, taking pictures of a building or with a specific person (like a moustachioed man in a red shirt), finding hidden QR codes or even solving riddles. Set a time limit and send them off – the first team back with a completed list wins.
  • Objective: A great bonding exercise that spurs creativity, gets the blood flowing and encourages teamwork.

The mine field

  • Time: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Number of participants: 4 – 10 people (even numbers)
  • Tools needed: Blindfolds and various handheld objects
  • How to: Place the objects (cones, balls, bottles, etc) sporadically across an open space. Split up into pairs, with one person in each team donning the blindfold. The other, sighted person must help their teammate cross the space — without stepping on any of the objects — and they can only use verbal instructions. The blindfolded person can’t speak at all. You can up the level of difficulty by creating specific routes for the blindfolded team members to walk through.
  • Objective: This game works on building trust, improving communication skills, and effective listening.

Water balloon toss

  • Time: 15 – 30 minutes
  • Number of participants: Even numbers
  • Tools needed: Water and balloons
  • How to: Fill up a number of water balloons. Divide the team into pairs and have them throw balloons back and forth to each other, taking a step back with each successful exchange. Last balloon standing wins.
  • Objective: A fun activity that builds focus and concentration.
Bringing it inside

Puzzle pieces

  • Time: 1 – 2 hours
  • Number of participants: Four or more small groups
  • Tools needed: Different jigsaw puzzles for each group
  • How to: Divide people into small, equal-sized groups. Each group gets a different jigsaw puzzle with the same difficulty level. But, make sure you’ve mixed up some of the pieces into the other teams’ puzzles. Teams must find creative ways to get the pieces back – like negotiating, trading, exchanging team members, etc. The only caveat, everything must be decided as a group. First team to complete the puzzle wins!
  • Objective: This activity promotes problem solving and leadership skills.

Telephone, on paper

  • Time: 15 – 45 minutes
  • Number of participants: Any
  • Tools needed: Pen and paper
  • How to: Each team member needs a piece of paper (and without talking to anyone) has to do a simple drawing on the page which they will pass to the right. Then the new person will look at the drawing they have, fold the paper in half, and write what they think the drawing depicts. They then fold the word over and pass to the right for the next person to draw their word.  Each pass alternates between determining what the picture was and drawing what was described. Note, each new turn should only reveal the word or picture from the previous round and everyone should pass together. When the paper is back to the original owner, each member reveals what was written and drawn.
  • Purpose: A great way to loosen people up and help them get comfortable with each other.

Find the common thread

  • Time: 15 – 45 minutes
  • Number of participants: Any
  • Tools needed: None
  • How to: Divide the team into groups and instruct each group to find one commonality among them. It can be a hobby or interest they share, for example, the same favourite genre of music or cycling. Once the commonality is agreed upon, they must create a group name and a list of possible stereotypical qualities of such people. Next they announce their new team name, like Hip-Hop Heads or Dancing Queens. For the rest of the morning (or even for the day, if it’s a hit) the group members fulfil the stereotypes they listed. The Hip-Hop heads could break out into song when a certain word is used while the Dancing Queens could periodically just bust a move. Just before the end of the morning, have them talk about the stereotypes we give to people, looking at how they affect how we perceive other people’s abilities.
  • Objective: A useful bonding exercise especially for new teams as it helps them get to know each other.

Paired up

  • Time: 10– 20 minutes
  • Number of participants: Even numbers only
  • Tools needed: Pen and paper
  • How to: Write down a bunch of pairs on different pieces of paper (like, Batman and Robin, Thelma and Louise, peanut butter and jam, brandy and coke etc). Tape one piece of paper to a person’s back and they must walk around trying to figure out who they are and find their match.
  • Objective: A fun bonding exercise that helps loosen up the crowd.

Truth and lies

  • Time: 10 – 15 minutes
  • Number of participants: Five or more people
  • Tools needed: None
  • How to: Have everyone sit in a circle facing each other. Every person has to come up with two truths and one lie about themselves. The lie needs to be realistic and believable. Go around the circle and have each person state the facts and lie without revealing which is the lie. After each turn the others must guess which is the lie.
  • Objective: A great ice breaker that helps eliminate snap judgements of colleagues and gets the introverts talking.

Five Tips for Better Brainstorming

Five Tips for Better Brainstorming

Doing the unexpected is the essence of innovation – how can you generate more new ideas?

Вrаіnstоrmіng іs аbоut dіsсаrdіng tired ideas in order to generate new perspectives. But creative ideas rarely just ‘pop into your head’. They’re often the product of two or more seemingly unrelated events combining to spark that ‘lightbulb’ moment.

Here are our top tips for better brainstorming:

 Trim the numbers in the room

You don’t need to fill the boardroom to have a good brainstorming session. You just need to have the right people in the room. Having enough people so each of the three strategic thinking perspectives is represented, namely front line, function and creative thinkers.

In any group, there are always some people who are more dominant and these personalities may prevent quieter souls from having their say. If possible, have a word with them before the brainstorm about letting others have their say. Also reflect if you are the dominant player (as many entrepreneurs and business leaders are) and make a conscious effort to let others speak.

 Identify the problem

Іt іs оftеn bеst tо оutlіnе thіs аhеаd оf tіmе іn wrіttеn fоrm sо thаt еvеrуоnе соmеs tо thе sеssіоn wіth thе рrоblеm defined. With the problem in the back of their minds, they can start to mull over the issue, even if just subconsciously.

 Set the stage and the rules

Νехt, sеt thе stаgе аnd thе rulеs. Теll раrtісіраnts thаt thе brаіnstоrmіng sеssіоn іs fоr gеnеrаtіng аs mаnу іdеаs аs роssіblе аnd thаt thе реrsоn whо соmеs uр wіth thе mоst іdеаs, nоt thе bеst, wіll bе rеwаrdеd.

Тhе fіrst thіng tо rеmеmbеr іn рhаsе оnе оf а brаіnstоrmіng sеssіоn іs thіs: аll іdеаs аrе gооd. Роsіtіvе thіnkіng іs thе rulе оf thе dау.

Νо mаttеr hоw lаmе thеу mау sоund, wrіtе thеm dоwn wіthоut соmmеnt. Leave negativity and judgement at the door. It’s important to create an unthrеаtеnіng еnvіrоnmеnt іn оrdеr tо gеt уоur раrtісіраnts tо lооsеn uр аnd stаrt contributing аnу іdeas.

 Discuss the problem

Dо уоu hаvе the problem рrореrlу dеfіnеd? Аrе уоu аskіng thе rіght quеstіоn?

Неrе’s аn ехаmрlе: 300 уеаrs аgо thеrе wаs а рlаguе thаt fіrst sеnt vісtіms іntо а dеаthlіkе соmа frоm whісh mоst nеvеr rесоvеrеd. Оnе mаn – аn ехсерtіоn tо thе rulе – wаs burіеd аlіvе. Тhе tоwnsреорlе dіdn’t wаnt thіs tо hарреn аgаіn. Оnе grоuр hаd thе соstlу іdеа tо рlасе fооd аnd wаtеr іnsіdе the coffins аnd аn аіr hоlе frоm thе саskеt tо thе surfасе. Аnоthеr grоuр’s іdеа wаs sіmрlе аnd lоw соst: рlасе а 12-іnсh sріkе іn thе tор оf thе саskеt sо thаt whеn thе lіd сlоsеd thеrе wоuld bе nо quеstіоn аbоut thе оссuраnt’s stаtus. Воth аnswеrs wеrе rіght, but thе quеstіоns thеу аskеd wеrе dіffеrеnt. “Whаt shоuld wе dо іf wе burу sоmеоnе аlіvе?” аnd “Ноw саn wе mаkе surе еvеrуоnе wе burу іs dеаd?”

 Develop as many ideas as possible

Тhеrе аrе twо рhаsеs оf thе сrеаtіvе рrосеss: thе іmаgіnаtіvе рhаsе аnd thе рrасtісаl рhаsе. Тhіnk quаntіtу, nоt quаlіtу. Yоu саn sоrt оut thе whеаt frоm thе сhаff lаtеr іn thе рrасtісаl рhаsе. Fіnаllу, thе sеssіоn mоdеrаtоr іs thеrе tо kеер thіngs mоvіng. Іf thіngs become bogged dоwn, рull оut thеsе trustу quеstіоns:

  • Whу nоt?
  • Whаt іf?
  • Whаt rulеs саn wе brеаk?
  • Whаt аssumрtіоns саn wе drор?
  • Whаt іf thе budgеt wаs nоt аn іssuе?
  • Whаt іf wе lооkеd аt thіs bасkwаrd frоm thе dеsіrеd rеsult?
  • Іs thеrе sоmеthіng wе саn еlіmіnаtе іn оrdеr tо rеасh оur rеsult?
  • Соuld wе аdd sоmеthіng tо thе рrосеss?

Вrаіnstоrmіng іs аn іmроrtаnt раrt оf any business рlаnnіng. Іt wіll hеlр уоu tо undеrstаnd уоur busіnеss bеttеr аnd mау unсоvеr processes which can be improved. Іt іs аlsо іmроrtаnt tо bе оutсоmе fосusеd – whісh іs јust аnоthеr clever piece of jargon fоr kееріng уоur еуе оn whаt уоu wаnt tо ultіmаtеly асhіеvе.

Event Trends – Local Is Lekker

Event Trends – Local Is Lekker

The year 2018 has seen many changes to the way event organisers approach their planning. Sustainability is a key feature this year, with organisers utilising solar energy as well as recycled and upcycled goods as the backbone of events and their marketing.

A few years ago, fancy straws were all the rage at events. In 2018 you’d better have steel, glass or bamboo straws or risk offending half your attendees! Balloons, glitter and streamers… these all have questionable eco-credentials. These changes might at first appear aesthetic but in reality they are part of a greater social shift taking place globally.

Keeping up with these shifts is the bread and butter of any successful event planner. It’s make or break, so we thought we’d help out and give you insight into another change that’s guiding the event planning process in 2018.

The phrase ‘local is lekker’ has been around for a long time but only recently have people started living it. The idea seems straightforward but in reality there are many layers to it. Firstly it speaks to our cultural identity, the fabric of who we are as a people and country. Why would we copy New York or Paris when we could showcase Cape Town and Durban? Why would we spend all our budget importing items when we can source unique goods locally that make for a far more authentic experience?
So let’s look at some of the ways you can incorporate local into your lekker event!

Food isn’t only the easiest way into a man’s heart – it’s the easiest way into any heart! So catering is a good place to start. But how do you go local? You can’t exactly serve boerie rolls and mopane worms just for the sake of being South African.

The idea is to distill the flavours of South Africa and bring those concepts into the world of modern cuisine.

Think snoek pate and roosterkoek for a starter, Springbok medallions for mains and ice cream with a quince syrup reduction for dessert. Just because it’s local, doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Your guests will thank you for it!

Start at the bottom and work your way up. Easily the most important part of going local is supporting local communities. The idea is that charity starts at home. Anything truly local should start with the communities in your area. Anything you can’t get locally can be sourced from further afield.

The ultimate example of this would be creating sustainable supply chains by working with surrounding communities to achieve desirable results. This could entail training, startup capital and planning.

This might be a hassle in the beginning but once sustainability is achieved it will balance out and save you time and money in the long run.

Many people misinterpret this idea. Most will scoff at the thought of using local African aesthetics or venues for an event because their first impression is that this entails skin carpets, gumboot dancing or a savannah-type styling. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

South Africa hasn’t stood still since the early 20th century! South Africa is and always has been a fast developing country with multiple cultural identities coming together to create a unique take on modern lifestyle and aesthetics.

Visit Maboneng, Braamfontein, Woodstock or any of the other trendy areas around South Africa and you’ll be greeted by a truly African style that doesn’t include skins and hunting trophies. This is what the future of Africa is all about: urbanisation, collaborative art, fashion spaces and a creative mix of cultures coming together and inspiring something that is completely unique to Africa.

Using the tips above will ensure your event is memorable and not simply another generic affair, void of any real substance. There is a whole world of culture waiting to be tapped into and it’s right on your doorstep!

Chat to The Canvas Riversands and find out how we can help you create the ultimate event or function.

Top 5 Apps That Every Event Planner Needs

Top 5 Apps That Every Event Planner Needs

Gone are the days of clipboards and writing down lists. Nowadays the world is run on smartphones and they have changed the way every industry functions. Including the eventing industry.

Who needs a clipboard when modern apps let you create lists, schedules, milestones, share notes with your team and lots more? When last did your clipboard remind you about a deadline?

Notepads and scheduling apps have always been available on smartphones and are useful, but we feel there are a few apps that every event planner needs!


Put simply, Boomset takes the hassle out of event registration. But don’t let its simplicity fool you into believing it’s simple…It’s easy to use, which is single handedly the most important factor in any app. But it’s packed with features to take the load off your shoulders.On-site check-in, walk-in registrations, check-in notifications, QR Code scanning registration, email confirmations and if that’s not enough, it even links directly to popular event management platforms.


By far the best invention since sliced bread! Okay not quite, but if you’re an event planner and you want to communicate with your team instantly, then Heytell will become your best friend.As with any good app, simplicity is key. It allows you to use your smartphone as a walkie-talkie! Why would you even need one when you have your smartphone already? Enough said!


The Bizzabo app has it all. Event marketing, management, registration and integration tools, all in one place.Highlights include monitoring and engaging on social media, scheduled emails, management tools and integration with popular event software. It’s aimed at event planning and does a good job of understanding those needs.


Lists are the cornerstone of any well executed project. But Wunderlist is guaranteed to take your list-making experience to the next level. There’s a reason why it won best app of the year!Share your lists and work collaboratively on projects with your colleagues, group’s tasks, make notes, set deadlines. It’s all there. The notepad of the future!


Asana helps you map out each step of your project and organise all the details of your work in one place. And in a very unique way.It’s visual and it’s user friendly. It might not be for everybody because it almost fits together like a puzzle. But for those that would like to try an app with an edge to it, Asana is the event planner’s best friend. It aggregates your emails, files, tickets and so much more! Give it a try.

These apps will undoubtedly help you achieve a more efficient event planning experience but without a perfect venue, your event will never have the impact it deserves. Contact us to find out how we can help you achieve the perfect event.

Event Space Innovation In 2018

Event Space Innovation In 2018

It’s 2018 and the event landscape is evolving yet again. The days of the traditional event where 200 people gather and you feed them are numbered. Today, the expectations are much higher. From mind-blowing keynote speakers, showcasing life-altering innovation projects to exciting uses of technology. What this means is that even though the end goal stays the same, events are being delivered in different ways. According to the Bizzabo events blog, the motto for planners this year should be “think outside the hotel” and “so long stadium.” Amex Global Meeting Forecast reported a 4% increase in interest around non-traditional event spaces in 2017 with a forecast of a further 3.8% increase expected in 2018. From the venue to the approach, we see these engagements taking place differently in 2018. Event planners can’t ignore social and technological developments that accelerate at an ever-increasing pace.


The Digital Approach

With the increase in availability of fibre networks and bandwidth capacity, venues can now offer something that was never before possible – virtual attendees. Attendees that otherwise wouldn’t make it to the event can now join in the conversation with video and audio being delivered directly from the event. That and the ability to take part in the conversation through live chat, gives event planners the edge they never previously had. Venues should make sure their internet bandwidth capabilities and speeds match the needs of these factors. Attendees are also much savvier regarding data speeds – and will let event planners know when things aren’t up to scratch.

Think Local. Think Authentic.

Over the last few years the trend has been to focus on local, authentic and quality crafted products and services. And this trend is going from strength to strength in 2018. Serving the usual mass produced foods and beverages won’t do it and this spills into the entertainment and aesthetic side of things too. Think craft beverages, locally sourced produce, local entertainment, relevant food trucks and an aesthetic that tells the local story. Venues can partner with local artisans to make the event process easy on event planners. And don’t forget to tell people about it! Wear your authenticity on your sleeve and post all the details to social media leading up to the event – every bit makes the world of difference.

Green Is The New Gold!

Sustainability continues to be the talk-of-the-town in 2018. Having an all-out extravaganza of an event is one thing but if it’s not sustainable then you lose those ever-important ‘green points’. Attendees are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the events they attend. A planner could incorporate charitable activities into the framework of their event while venues can consider factors like recycling.

The use of plastic straws for example is taboo in 2018. But don’t stop there!

Consider conserving water, limiting carbon emissions and using power saving bulbs. International events can consider offering their attendees a way to offset their travel carbon emissions. Attendees are more aware of these details than ever before.

Encourage Engagement

Information is disseminated faster than ever before and as bandwidth becomes more available we are seeing a higher adoption of social media locally with each year. Give attendees an incentive to post your event on social media. An event planner could create Twitter and Instagram walls with excellent lighting and a set that encourages visitors to get that perfect shot. These walls or sets could be utilised by planners to incorporate branding and therefore raise the profile of the event. Always keep this one thing in mind – If it’s not on the ‘Gram’, it didn’t happen!

Allow for Downtime

A well thought out event plan will always put attendees first. Retaining your audience is at the core of a successful event. Oftentimes event planners will focus on the entertainment, gimmicks and guest speakers but forget to consider the fact that an average attendee has their limit in terms of energy, which affects concentration. You want your audience to walk away having gained something from the event. A basic canteen or catering service with seating areas is a given. The wise event planner would consider areas designed for real relaxation. Tranquil areas, designed to calm the senses and allow for some proper R&R. Venues should consider facilitating these needs, whether it’s an outdoor area or a semi-soundproofed lounge.

At The Canvas Riversands, we allow event managers to use their imaginations and create their most elaborate events, be it corporate, private or open to the public. With a choice of seven different venue types, event managers are spoilt for choice. Our amphitheatre can host up to 10 000 people and is ideal for outdoor concerts, while our main auditorium is slightly more intimate, hosting up to 480 people. For those that are looking to host a smaller number of attendees, our lecture halls can seat up to 98 people, while our conference rooms vary between 35 and 200 capacity and our boardrooms vary between 4 and 16 seats. With all of these spaces and all amenities included within these spaces, you can be sure that when you are planning your next event, you cover every aspect of the client brief. Ensure you can accommodate every creative request and innovative display.