An Event Photography Analogy: Is Your Event a Potluck?

I was recently chatting with someone about the issue of how to know when it makes sense to hire a professional event photographer (such as myself) versus when it’s okay to do it yourself, let your attendees take pictures, have a volunteer photographer, or otherwise make an informal plan that should be “good enough.”

I made an analogy to a potluck.

When you’re having an event and there’s going to be a meal, you have options. One option is to hire a professional caterer, who can provide a variety of consistent food options, accommodate dietary restrictions, and ensure that you don’t really have to worry about the food because in exchange for paying the caterer for their professional services, they take care of everything.

Another option is that you have a potluck, where attendees bring food to share. If you’re lucky, you can organize a registration system where folks can indicate what they’ll bring, and most of them will probably adhere to what they said. You might end up with more of one thing than you need, or a lack of something important… you can worry about this and take care of the gaps on your own, of course. It won’t cost you much money, because each guest will be expected to contribute, and most will… you’ll probably get some good food, but let’s be honest… a lot of the potluck food is going to fairly mediocre, and some is going to be downright bad.

Professional Event Photography

It’s a lot the same with photography. When you hire me to shoot an event, I’ll gather some information from you and then you won’t have to worry about the photography. I’ll sweat the details and you’ll end up with consistent, good images.

Or… you can go the DIY route and find someone to do it non-professionally. They’ll probably get some good images. They’ll probably also give you a bunch of mediocre images, and some are going to be downright bad.

Either option can be the right answer depending on the event. Which is your crowd?

Portland CENTRL Office Event Photography

Another belated blog post here but I wanted to share some event photography at Portland’s CENTRL Office, in this case for the Write the Docs conference last year.

CENTRL Office has an open, airy environment that works well for large group events.

CENTRL Office Event Photography

CENTRL Office Event Photographer

With a large open event space and also some breakout room areas, when I do event photos in a space such as CENTRL Office I look to capture the attendees in the space in a variety of situations. There might be a group meeting, there might be a lecture going on, or as we see with this event at CENTRL Office, there might be folks using laptops to get work accomplished.

Portland CENTRL Office Photos

In the event photos at CENTRL Office, we see that it’s a bit more of an informal space than some others (contrast this with event photography at the Oregon Convention Center), but it still allows for a great environment or a conference or other event. With most events, and in most of my event photos, I capture a mixture of pictures that show the overall event – room shots – environmental images that give you a feel for things, along with some images focused more closely on individual attendees or speakers. In the case of these images, there were no formal speakers as this day was all about working sessions and group discussions.

Portland CENTRL Office Event Photos

My next blog article will cover the other venue for this particular event; you’ll see some examples of Crystal Ballroom event photography.

Event Photography Scheduling – Avoid the Last Minute!

As we’re in mid-January, I’m starting to chat with folks about the usual spring rush of events in the coming months. Savvy event planners will figure out event photography scheduling sooner rather than later, knowing that calendars start to fill. I always feel bad when I have to turn someone down on an event inquiry because I’m not available on that date.

Before PIE Demo Day 2014 - Gerding Theater at the Armory Lobby

Whether we’re talking a conference, trade show, nonprofit fundraiser, company party, or other event, there’s always quite a bit happening in the spring months, so if you have something coming up, drop me a note and let’s get you on my calendar.

Event Photography Scheduling

Sure, having attendee photos from their iPhones is a great addition to your event, and if you let attendees be your photographers you’ll get some good photos. But if “some good photos” isn’t good enough, and you want to ensure you have all the photos that you want of your speakers, your crowd, and your program, bring in a professional event photographer. One with expertise in photography, experience with events, experience delivering images, and with things like backup gear and insurance and all those things that don’t matter… until they really matter in a big way.

Let’s get your event booked today. You’ll have one more item off your checklist, and you’ll have the confidence that you end up with images from an experienced pro.

Punch Bowl Social Event Photography

Portland and Beaverton Event Photography – Comcast Cares 2016

As I catch up on my photography blogging, I wanted to share some images of some Portland event photography from 2016 for a repeat client. I again photographed Comcast Cares Day, a corporate day of service where thousands of Comcast employees take part in various community service events in their areas.

Portland Event Photography

Portland Event Photographer

This year allowed me to make location photography in Portland and Beaverton as employees performed a variety of tasks around a school in a low-income neighborhood, created quilts for those in need, and planted numerous trees in a greenspace near a creek.

Portland Nonprofit Event Speaker

Portland Event Photography

As I make the corporate event photographs, I’m working with a bit of guidance from my client as to the highlights they want captured in the images, as well as the messaging they want to convey. After I’m briefed, I take a more photojournalistic approach as I explore the job sites, preferring to make candid images as folks work instead of posed, static photographs.

Beaverton Event Photography

Beaverton Corporate Event - Comcast Cares Day

With an event of this magnitude (they perform work at a lot of sites in the area – I generally am assigned to cover three of them) they have volunteer employees take photos as well throughout the day. But they also hire pro photographers, such as myself, to handle the flagship sites and to ensure that they get the most important images.

Sure, cameras have gotten better and you can probably have someone volunteer to take photos, and they’ll get some good shots. But if you want all the shots, and you want the most important shots, reliably, you’ll hire a pro photographer who will have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to deliver the results.