Photography plays a key role in capturing the memories your attendees will have of all the fun and fellowship at your event. It also keeps the event alive well after the decorations come down and the choir goes home.
By keeping these tips in mind when planning photography for your event, you can help your photographer make the most of each picture and ensure that every attendee walks away with a memory that leaves him looking forward to your organization's next event.
Determine the purpose for the pictures. Is this a service you want to provide for your attendees, to give them a keepsake to bring home and serve as a remembrance of the meeting, or do you simply want a record or archive of the event? The types of photos you need will depend on the answer to this question.
Discuss your photography plans with the photographer before you get to the event. Candid close-up shots are usually the most popular for most events, but many attendees also enjoy posed, full-length pictures taken in front of a background. Ideally, your photographer should be able to provide both services, but the costs will vary.
Position the photography station carefully. If you include posed shots, position the photographer in a highly traveled area. You'll get good visibility near the meeting's main entrance or even in the lobby, where the photographer can catch people while they still look their best and before they start mingling.
Emphasize the background. Is there an area or backdrop that reflects the event's theme? Maybe there's a natural background you can use. If your venue has a spectacular spot with a unique view, capture it in your attendees' photographs.
Use a prop to create depth. Plants and flowers are common props. Maybe your event lends itself to something more creative — such as an Oscars-themed reception, where you could have a similar kind of statue on display and pose guests in front of it, to make it look as if each guest is receiving an award.
Help your photographer maximize candid shots. The best time to take candids are as people are arriving, mingling during a reception, and waiting in line for seating or a buffet. The worst times are while they are seated during a dinner or watching a presentation.
Keep the flow fast for posed photographs. Make sure you've positioned the photographer in a place that allows people to get in and out quickly. This way, attendees can avoid waiting in line.
The best candids are not really candids at all. Make sure that your photographer takes the time to pose the couple or group so that everyone's smile shines. Catching guests with a mouthful of food is a sure way to get a bad picture.
Make it easy and convenient for your attendees to see the pictures after the event is over. Ask if your photographer offers online proof sheets. These sheets usually are available 24 to 48 hours after the event, and are accessible from any computer. This is an easy and economical way for your guests to see and order the photos. The traditional way of ordering can be cumbersome and less convenient for the event planner.
Follow these tips to save money on your site:
Get the local convention and visitors bureau to do the legwork in setting up your site visit. They also may make arrangements for your airfare, hotel, and ground transportation.
Consider getting a Complete Meeting Package at a conference center. Centers are no longer as rigid as in the past, and planners will find cooperation, not resistance, when they “unbundle” the CMP.
Consider a city that has increased its hotel inventory dramatically in a short period of time. Older hotels may be willing to negotiate because of increased competition.
Know the needs of your group. Consider:
Economy hotels. Does your organization's board of directors really need to stay at a five-star property?
Airport hotels and all-suite properties
College and university campuses
Unusual venues, such as public spaces, art galleries, and historical sites. For a meeting in a movie theater, you can serve movie foods and take advantage of natural acoustics and tiered seating.
Use local destinations. Smaller cities often offer more for your money.
Use the Internet to pre-select your site. Broad portals include www.mim.com, www.expoworld.net, www.meetingcity.com, and www.all-hotels.com. CVB sites often have links to hotels, and some do housing booking online. Check out www.iacvb.org to get the address for a specific CVB. www.plansoft.com includes every hotel with more than 5,000 square feet of meeting space and is searchable by location, type, and capacity. It's easy and free.
Use a video camera when doing a site inspection. You can send the tape to your organizing committee, saving travel and time costs for the group. It also will help you remember the property.
Never take a familiarization trip to a hotel you won't do business with — it is a waste of your time and the vendor's time.