Americans for the Arts Marketing Conference

Last year I had an opportunity to photograph the National Arts Marketing Project conference on behalf of Americans for the Arts. I provided photography services for this conference and tradeshow event at the Portland Hilton over four days, covering various aspects of the event including keynote speakers, educational sessions, networking events, a couple parties, and more. I really enjoy the opportunity to make both candid and staged event photos, and had a great time working with their staff in the downtown Portland Hilton and Gerding Theater for their event.

Here are a few photographs from the event.

Keynote Speaker Kevin Carroll on stage

Portland Conference Photography

Portland Networking Event Photography

Portland Hilton Trade Show

Event Marketing - Portland Event Photography

Conference Speaker at Portland Hilton

If you have a conference, trade show, or other Portland event coming up soon, drop me a note and let’s talk about some Portland conference photography!

Event Photography Pricing

Bagdad Theater Event Photography - James Keller at Ignite Portland

As I recently chatted with a potential client about pricing for an upcoming event photography shoot, I realized it might be useful to blog about some of the factors that influence pricing for event photography. My fee for event photography work is based on a client’s needs; here are some of the factors involved:

  • How long will the photographer be at the event? If this was the only factor, photographers could easily offer an hourly rate and be done with it. As you’ll see, there are other things to consider….
  • Approximately how many images are desired? Does the client want several hundred photos for an online gallery? Are they only interested in a dozen photographs for a newsletter or media release? Something in between?
  • How quickly does the client need the photos? For some events, the organizers simply want the images available within a couple of weeks. I’ve also photographed a few events where I’ve worked with an assistant to begin processing and sharing photos during the event so that attendees can enjoy themselves in pictures. Like most things in life, getting the photos faster without a decrease in quality will result in higher costs.
  • Are there any special lighting situations? Will the photographer bring gear for setting up a photobooth or portrait location? Is the photographer mounting lights for a stage or keynote platform?
  • Is the event local, or will there be travel expenses?

I generally gather information and then agree on a fee for my services with a client. Because of the various factors above, it’s not as simple as having an “hourly rate.” There are enough factors, and events vary so much, that there’s no easy way to come up with a single rate that would apply to all events. That said, I can provide a quote fairly quickly as I field an inquiry.

Portland Tech Event - Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson, Rick Turoczy

The other factor which I didn’t list above, but might be negotiated into a single fee, is an initial licensing agreement. If the client has a good handle on their proposed usage for the photos from an event, we’ll chat about the usage and come to a licensing agreement. If the client is unsure of usage plans we can defer this discussion.

I’ve photographed conferences, company meetings, launch parties, holiday parties, open houses, and other events. Contact me if you’re interested in some great photos for an upcoming event.

Event Attendees are Less-Than-Ideal Photographers

With the rise in popularity of consumer-affordable DSLRs and quality compact cameras, along with ubiquitous camera-enabled smartphones, the ability for general event attendees to create snapshots of their experiences has never been easier.

Portland Outdoor Concert Photography

It might be tempting to forego professional event photography services in favor of letting attendees capture and share their memories and call it “good enough.” As you weigh whether or not it makes sense to hire an event photographer for your company party, open house, conference, trade show, or other special event, consider the following

  • Event attendees are there primarily to experience the event. During a conference session, they’re going to be actively listening to the speaker, taking notes, and perhaps formulating a question. A professional event photographer will be moving around the room perimeter for the best photo angle or considering the room lighting as he makes the best possible photo of the speaker and interactions.
  • Event attendees are on a one-track schedule based on their own interests. If your event includes multiple simultaneous speakers or other activities in different places at different times, consider than an attendee is going to go to locations and work at a pace that benefits their interest in the event. A true event photographer can work from room to room to create quality photographs without being tied into the duration of a session or activity.
  • Consider a wedding with key moments such as the first kiss, the exchange of rings, or procession. Or a business event with awards being presented and each recipient shaking the hand of the CEO. Event attendees will probably get some decent photos of some of the important moments. A pro event photographer will capture all of these key moments, every time.
  • If you’re relying on an attendee photographer, hopefully his battery doesn’t die, or she didn’t forget to insert the memory card, or there’s not some sort of technical problem with the camera. A pro photographer is going to arrive onsite with redundant and backup gear such that a problem while shooting won’t mean that you end up without photography for your event. Gear problems aren’t frequent, but they happen; just this past weekend I had a memory card issue in the middle of some group portraits at a wedding. I quickly swapped in a new card and all was well with no loss of images.

There’s nothing wrong with using attendee photographs as supplemental material; there are often some interesting images found on Instagram, Flickr, or Facebook after an event. But assuming you want solid photography that covers all aspects of your event, you ought to consider hiring a professional event photographer to create images that tell the story of your experience.

Corporate Event Photography - Portland World Trade Center