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Picture Perfect: Tips for Taking Great Event Photos

This guest blog post is by Molly Schnepel who was a content strategist with Naylor Association Solutions.

In a sea of hundreds of conference pictures, a good event photo is worth a thousand words. Taking great event photos can seem like a low priority when it comes to looking at your never ending to-do checklist. However, having good photos from your conference or event will provide many uses far after the last attendee has gone home.

An eye-catching photo of the keynote speaker can be used for marketing the event the next year. An album of the best photos can be uploaded to your social media channels, which gives attendees the chance to look for themselves in the pictures and share to their own personal pages – amplifying your association’s online presence. A group shot of your board and VIPs can headline your magazine or newsletters with a recap of important information and moments.

While there are many reasons to have great event photos, capturing them can be difficult. But it doesn’t have to be! Taking great event photos can be as simple as lights, camera, and action.

Lights: Location, location, location

Dark rooms and late nights do not produce great photos. Try to stage pictures near natural light like a window or open door. If that’s not an option, turn on overhead lights or lamps. Using the flash on your camera should be a last resort as it often washes out the subject of the photo.

Besides finding a location with enough light, also keep the background in mind. A busy backdrop can be distracting from the main focus of your photo. If you are snapping pictures at a conference, try to find an area that is less busy or has a simple background like pipe and drape. You can also play with the focus and zoom on your camera to capture your intended target and blur out a busy background. Most camera phones offer several settings to adjust, but it’s best to try them out before your event so you know how to utilize them.

For bonus points, keep an eye out for opportunities for your association’s logo to be in pictures. It doesn’t have to be prominent, but a well-placed sign or banner in the background can help promote your brand at the same time.

Camera: It’s already in your pocket

If you have a smartphone, then you already have the equipment you need to take great pictures. Camera technology has kept pace with the breakneck speed of the ever-changing smartphone landscape. Nowadays, you can take high-resolution shots without needing an expensive camera to lug around. Just make sure the lens is wiped off and clean first!

However, there are some accessories that are worth a small investment. A phone stand will do wonders to avoid shaky-hand syndrome and provide crisp photos. There are many options available from a tripod to universal phone mount that will do the job. Purchasing a portable charger or power pack for your phone can also save the day, especially during events when your camera has been draining the battery for hours.

Action: Strike a pose

When taking pictures at an event, don’t be shy about asking people to pose together. Seeing a group of smiling faces is more inviting then having an awkward side shot or the back of someone’s head taking up half of your picture. Posed pictures often are the best ones for usability when it comes to sharing them online or using them for publications.

Props are also a great way to help relax someone in front of the camera. Printed signs or large, cut-out photo frames with the event hashtag will promote your event while adding colors and smiles to your photos. You can also offer to use your guests’ phone to take pictures for them in order to encourage them to share the pictures on their own social media pages.

In addition, having a shot list prepared before your event begins can ensure you have pictures of VIPs. This list will help your designated picture-taker know where they need to be and when. For example, you may want to get a group shot of your executive committee with the keynote speaker. Or capture your members speaking their state representatives. Having a list of priorities means you won’t have hundreds of event photos without the key individuals you need the most.

When it comes to taking great event photos, a little bit of planning ahead can go a long way and the benefits are worth it. Great event photos can lead to increased sales next year, higher guest satisfaction and more awareness about the work your association is accomplishing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure the stories your event pictures are telling are worthwhile!

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