Conferences are a great place to sharpen your documentation skills in a controlled environment. You might even learn a thing or two from all the presentations!
For me, business work conferences are all about building strong relationships with customers. Open communication is the key. Your needs and their needs can vary, and not every decision is made with you in mind, so be flexible. Low lighting or a busy schedule might not be your preference, but if you can work well with your client you will be able to take great pictures.
1. The preparation
Before you get started, make sure you get in touch with the hosts of the conference or the contact person who commissioned you to take the photos and exchange information about the process. Ask this contact to provide you with the agenda for the day so you know when and where you need to take action. This gives you enough lead time for the preparations and to find the best angles for you. There may be several events going on at the same time, so it pays to be organized. This also enables you to inquire about the exact requirements again. For example, ask in advance how many images you want and the style of delivery. At a business conference, everyone involved, and especially the organizers, are usually very busy, so it is worth informing as much as possible about all the details in advance.
2. Work discreetly
Your photos are not the most important thing that happens in this room. Attendees have likely invested money and time listening to the speaker's presentation, so be careful not to draw attention to yourself, get in the way, or block the audience's view. Part of trying to go unnoticed is making smart photographic choices. The click of the shutter button on the camera can actually be distracting, especially at key moments in the presentation. A compact mirrorless camera or a rangefinder camera with a silent shutter is ideal in this case. Also, using flash can be very irritating. If you cannot do without the flashlight, clarify this with your contact person beforehand and try to find a compromise, e.g. B. Using flash for the first few minutes of each presentation and then getting out of the way. Ideally, you should also inform the moderator right away so that he can prepare himself and not be surprised by the flash.
3. Act with confidence and determination
You can rest assured that at a conference as a photographer, you will have to move around a lot to get good pictures and to capture the key moments. When I started, I was often unsure of my positioning and mostly moved in the back of the room. I feared I might disrupt the process, but I was unable to get a perfect series of recordings that would then tell a true story of the event. With a camera in hand, however, you have the perfect excuse to move around the premises with discretion and discretion.
The speaker and stage are not moving, so it's up to you to find different angles and perspectives to shoot from. Before you start, find a few easily accessible places where you won't get in the way but where you can get a good view of the presentation. Then you know in advance when and where you are going to start and from there you can build trust and work confidently.
4. Take a fast telephoto lens
Regardless of your freedom to move about freely, you'll want to make sure you're picking up the speaker's expressions and gestures well. Standing behind the room or looking up at the presenter from directly under the stage can make your job tedious when it comes to creating high-quality images without having the right equipment with you. Because most of the room will certainly be illuminated suboptimal for event photography. So if you have a lens like e.g. For example, pick up a 70-200mm f/2.8 and you'll have the best chance of shooting to the quality you expect.
5. Be patient and act decisively
When I first photographed a business conference, I thought I had to be everywhere at once and just capture everything that was happening. In reality, the quality of targeted images counts far more than the quantity of ill-considered, haphazard or random shots. When photographing presenters in particular, you should find a good vantage point, frame the picture, hold the camera steady and wait for that moment of expression, gesture or look that reflects their personality to take your picture. Waiting for the right moment really pays off, so take your time, just don't miss it when the time comes!
6. Watch out for important guests and networks
Don't miss an opportunity to photograph important guests with their company logo or even company representatives. Conferences are all about connecting businesses, so document them and pay attention to the important events taking place in that space. Since you do not know or identify all guests, it is all the more important to follow the conversations in the event that important networking is involved.
7. Tell the story
Allow your images to follow the flow of the day. The event agenda will be designed so that the schedule provides an ebb and flow of activity, but make sure you keep working during the downtime. Be sure to capture a broad demographic of participants. Keep an eye on themes and details, colors, logos, features that differentiate this conference from others and make it unique, especially if you want to make sure non-attendees can understand what the conference was about, the process can follow visually and, above all, arouse interest in taking part in the upcoming conferences.
8. Express the mood of the event
Many companies are now demanding that their company photos be less stuffy and businesslike. Most conferences aren't particularly exciting events, so any personality and warmth that you can infuse into your images will really help add more depth to your work. Pay attention to interactions, exchanges of ideas in conversation, handshakes, gestures, and smiles. Laughter during presentations is always welcome. If a speaker is cracking a lot of jokes, try anticipating an opportunity to focus on the audience and capture their reactions.
9. Create high quality images
At the end of the day, the customer wants a series of pictures that not only document who was there and what happened, but that also look good, are of high quality and reflect the soul of the event. When it comes to getting the work out, the client expects at least one or two outstanding images that will sum up the event. Maybe the place has special features that you can highlight, or maybe the colored stage lighting is a great focal point. Whatever it is, make it look as professional and impressive as possible.
10. Clean & efficient delivery
When you get home from the conference, it's time to start editing your photos as soon as possible. It is likely that the images will be used for online marketing as soon as they are delivered. To keep your customer happy, ask them how quickly they need the images so that you can agree on a realistic compromise. Remember that these are not art recordings, so they do not require extensive correction or retouching. Clean, sharp and well-lit shots will set it apart and allow you to satisfy the customer with high quality standards.