Community events occur on a very frequent basis here in Northern Nevada. Whether the events attract 20 or 2,000 people, there’s one commonality…great memories. However, not every event is properly captured. Though it’s highly important, recruiting the photographer (or grabbing a camera) is typically the last thought when planning an event. As you plan your next event, don’t forget to recruit a volunteer or hire a photographer to capture its many faces, highlights, and memories.
The following are suggestions for taking the best photos.
Point the photographer in the right direction.
Depending on your relationship with the photographer and his/her knowledge of the event and community, identify the key people you want in the photos. This may include a list of names or by pointing out the individuals, so the photographer can eyeball the preferred subjects. This includes board members, honored guests, major donors, and community leaders. Providing the photographer with an assistant will make locating your VIPs much easier and quicker.
Provide an agenda of the event’s activities
When you are hoisting a big check, presenting an award, or introducing a speaker, you don’t want your photographer to be wandering around the silent auction display. Provide an agenda with the times of important events during the evening and highlight the things you definitely need photographed.
Limit the food and drink shots
If people are eating, reaching for, holding, looking at, smelling or touching food – don’t take the picture. Nobody is going to use it unless what’s in the photo is a married couple. Think to yourself, would this scene be published in an annual report or newspaper? If it’s your Executive Director smearing butter on a bagel, chances are, no!
Both posed photos and candids work
If it looks like it could be stock photography, go for it. Don’t be afraid to ask a group of individual to pose for a quick photo. You’ll get the best bang for your buck by choosing your shots and posing people deliberately.
From event to event, candid photos are very similar. The ideal candid photos are taken at the right moments, such as people applauding, shaking hands, or listening, smiling at a podium, hugging, and giving flowers to a speaker.
Look for natural groups of three
Three is a great number for a picture, and you’ll notice that at events, people tend to group in twos and threes to chat. Whenever a group of three is found talking, it presents an ideal time to invite for a group photo, by simply asking “Can I take a picture?”
Asking people to pose for pictures helps photographers of all abilities get more reliable shots than relying on candid snaps. Never be afraid to just ask people for pictures. You’ll get your shot list completed and you’ll be able to control how the shot is framed.
Track the names of people in the photos
This can be handled by the assistant or post-event by people who are very familiar with the audience and local community. Not only can the photos be used with acknowledgement letters, adding captions to photos is particularly helpful if you place them on your website, Facebook or if you send to local newspapers and magazines.
Don’t let your event pass without capturing the many moments with photography. While volunteer photographers “can get the job done”, professional photographers will ensure you take the most ideal and highest quality photos.