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:
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.”