Hosting an event? Invite a professional photographer

I’ve written a good amount about the changes in the media scene and the practice of public relations that are constantly affecting our daily responsibilities. One thing that never changes is the necessity of quality video and photography.

Not all reporters have the interest or the time to attend your events, but they will do a post-event story if you can provide a thorough write up and quality photos with detailed captions. Besides the written content, delivering quality photos is your responsibility as well. That means you have to ensure whoever you appoint to take photos, gets exactly what you want and what can be publishable. Consider it a part of your event budget.

It would be a huge mistake to trust your photography to a firm employee, say a marketing assistant with no photography experience. Even worse is giving an attorney the responsibility when he or she has to focus on hosting. If you do that, you’re likely to end up with a set of unusable photos – backs of people’s heads, shots from too far a distance or too wide an angle, photos with glare or bad lighting.

I always recommend hiring a professional photographer for the occasion or engaging someone who has photography experience. The added expense will be more than compensated by the increased quality of the photos – and the much-improved chances that your event will get covered.

A professional photographer will think and see things that an intelligent amateur won’t consider. For example, a “shot list.” A professional will know, and will use this concept in her planning.

As event photographer Suzi Pratt wrote in her photography blog:

In essence, a shot list entails all of the essential moments or things that absolutely need to be photographed . . . . In my experience, 7 times out of 10, an event coordinator won’t have a shot list in mind, which always strikes me as surprising. Event photos are important to multiple stakeholders, from the sponsors who want to see how their investment paid off, to the event attendees who likely would love a photo recap of the evening.

A good photographer will think this way – and the results will show it. It’s another best practice that can’t be over looked, or over shot.