You have a budget in mind and are researching photographers to capture your next event. But before you even think about booking and briefing someone, you need to consider the following questions as this will enable them to come up with an accurate quote and ensure you get the most for your money.
No pressure – but you only have a number of hours to capture your event, before the opportunity is lost forever. That’s why it pays to be prepared. Coming up with a strong brief is an essential part of this, but before you even reach that stage there are a number of things you need to consider:
What you need to decide
As an event organiser, it’s essential that you define your needs and communicate them clearly. Saying that you want someone to capture your event is all very well, but failing to iron out any grey areas can result in confusion and escalating costs.
What do you want the photos for?
Press releases and marketing material, editorial in a newspaper or magazine, social media content, large-scale posters and banners. How you intend to use the images will play a huge part in the initial conversations you have with an event photographer – helping them decide if the shots they need to produce should be formal or fun, as well as the composition and the subject matter.
How will you use the photographs afterwards?
The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 states that the photographer owns the copyright to their photographs, so it’s important to formally agree where they might appear and in what territories. In addition, does the photographer need to be credited in a specific way, and are there any instances in which the photographs cannot be used?
In practice, you can only use photographs taken by a professional photographer in the way that was agreed at the time they were commissioned, and if that changes later on an additional fee might have to be agreed – so cover all your bases from the beginning.
How soon do you need access to imagery?
Are you planning to send out a press release immediately after the event? If so, there might be a handful of photos that you will need immediately. Can you wait a few weeks before sharing an image library with attendees on your site? The end of an event only signals the halfway mark for photographers, as they will then spend hours selecting and editing their shots. If keeping up momentum is really important to you following an event, it’s worth confirming the photographer’s turnaround time and finding out if you can pay an extra fee for a faster service.
What the photographer needs to know
The brief will outline the event schedule, the style of shots you require, and the people and places that need to be captured. Extra to that there are a few answers you can provide that will ensure the photographer arrives as prepared as they possibly can be.
How will the venue be set up?
Finding a photographer that’s already familiar with where you are hosting your event can really pay off – they will know the best vantage points, what kind of light they can expect and which lenses to bring with them. Even if it’s not possible for the photographer to explore the area before the event, ask them to arrive early so they can look around and make an assessment as to the best places to capture all of the action.
What equipment will they need?
This all depends on the kind of shots that you want and the conditions at the venue. What time of day does the event take place, and will there be natural light, flashing disco lights, spotlights? Will the action be taking place across a range of areas – will there be a stage or presentation area and, if so, how close will they be able to get? You don’t need to know if they need a tripod, off-camera flash or reflector, but giving them an accurate description of your event’s environment will help your photographer pack all the kit they need.
Will they need an assistant?
There’s only so much ground one photographer can cover, so if simultaneous speeches, seminars or performances are going to be taking place, they might need an extra pair of hands. Similarly, if it’s simply a case of identifying people to photograph and ensuring a schedule is stuck too, you or a colleague might be able to provide support and therefore help keep extra costs down.
The next step: supplying your chosen photographer with a brilliant brief.