Create the Perfect Shot List For Your Next Event

Create the Perfect Shot List For Your Next Event



With 20 years of experience photographing everything from galas, fundraisers, product launches, conferences and more, we know that a well-documented shot list is the key to capturing the big moments and the smallest details of each special event. Let’s get the shot, every time.

Attendees at the annual conference for the Partnership for A Healthier America do stretching exercises to break up the day


Consider how the photos will ultimately be used. Will the content be integral for marketing another event, used to engage attendees on social media? Determine the audience and then you can focus on the art direction for your content. 


There will be moments that are absolute must have’s such as awards presentations and keynotes. You’ll want to begin building your list around these defined events. The candid shots can come in between these times to be sure to capture the unposed moments such as audience engagement and networking experiences.  

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in the fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”  Henri Cartier-Bresson


1. Critical Details: this includes general information about the event including the website, onsite contacts (email and cell phone), approximate start-end times and location(s).

2. Run of Show: this should include the most up-to-date schedule, along with locations/room numbers for sessions and panels, etc. This will help us to understand the flow of the event so we make sure we are exactly where we need to be.   

 3. Must-Have Moments:  Let us know what shots you’ll be looking for from each touchpoint of the event. Of course, much of this we will cover by default however if there is a moment where there is a break in the keynote for an award presentation and you’d like us to get that presentation along with a photo of the presenter and recipient looking on camera, we need to be sure we are in the right position and direct the subjects to smile for us. The more we know, the better. 

 4. Additional Details: We are fans of maps, agendas, bios and more. If you have any supporting content that can help us provide the best event coverage, please pass this along. 


You’ll be looking for the team of event photographers that is a good fit for your event. Portfolios, online reviews and your own network are a great resource for referrals. We’re fans of experience as it takes time to refine the skills needed to adapt to the constantly changing flow of events, know how to move quickly, unobtrusively and always be in the right place at the right time. 


Here’s the chance to review the shot-list with the content creators to elaborate on all of the details.  Reiterate the art direction and branding while leaving room for creative freedom. Confirm the call-times, onsite contacts and venue information.  As for the dress code, we default to all black but there may be cases when the brand requires something else.  


Make sure the event photography team has an easy to read shot list and schedule along with venue map if applicable. Images for social media will be shared with you during the event so be sure to share the online folder where you’d like these files sent to. We recommend DropBox and for smaller events have also used text to send a few highlights. 


The images we provide will help to expand your audience on social media. They can be used in collateral materials to market the event to next years’ sponsors, in strategy reports, awards presentations, company newsletters and the event website and app. The more platforms where you can publish the photos, the more you’ll see how the careful planning and execution paid off.  

Feeling Confident For Your Headshot

Feeling Confident For Your Headshot

One of the main components to a great headshot has little to do with the technical skills of the photographer and instead comes directly from the person in front of the camera. When we’re creating your portrait, we’ll be working together to make sure you’re feeling comfortable and confident in each frame.

Confidence is that element that turns headshots that are flat and ordinary into portraits that draw upon something much more profound than just the lines and curves that physically represent you. This is what we’ll be looking to draw out together in your session.

Natural confidence in front of the camera really is a rarity for most of us, including myself so I get it. But there are a few things you can do to prep yourself before your headshot session and that can also help while you are on set, because when you’re more comfortable you’re more confident.



You Be You 
Every single person photographs differently. It’s all about angles. Take a moment to stand in front of a mirror to see what I mean.

Starting with your head at center, slowly rotate it a few degrees at a time to the left and then right. Do the same up and down. There are literally thousands of combinations, right? Each one presents you in a slightly different way based on the angle and your expression. The same is true moving down your body and doing the same with your shoulders, arms, core, legs, and feet for full-body portraits. 

Of course, part of my job is to help you determine your best angle.  When you’re in front of the camera, go back to that no-pressure zone of just posing for the mirror. Imagine you’re just delivering another stellar selfie, and you’ll be just fine. 

Just You & Me
Self-sabotage is real. You let all these future thoughts of who will see the photo, what they’ll think, and how they’ll judge take control of your confidence now. It allows self-doubt to creep it’s way into your photographs and this doesn’t work in our favor.

Check all thoughts aside from what you’re doing here and now at the door. As far as being nervous in front of me, your headshot photographer, realize that I’m too busy judging myself to judge you. My singular focus is to deliver the the most enjoyable photography session possible by ensuring my own skills and artistry are on point. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the process. 

Wardrobe Choices 
You’ll want to make your wardrobe choices depending on the kind of photoshoot you have. If you’re doing a corporate portrait against a backdrop we provide, this style guide can help. Alternatively, if you’re looking to do something more casual such as an environmental headshot for branding where we use your office as your backdrop, then you have some more room to play. In each case, it’s best too wear colors that not only compliment your skin tone but also coordinates well with your backdrop or environment.

I suggest you approach that choice from a highly personal standpoint. What makes you feel confident? What makes you feel comfortable? What do you love not on the rack but actually wearing? And whenever possible, play it safe and bring options as we can make some decisions together on set.



Do Some Research
Look around in magazines, on social media, and other sources for examples of what you’d like to accomplish. Look at backgrounds, lightening, poses, clothing, accessories, angles, props, and so on. 

Use your research as a tool for inspiration more so than emulation. You’ll gain confidence in knowing your likes and dislikes and testing them out to see if they work specifically for you. 

Be Open During Your Shoot 
When we work with you, it’s an us thing. As with any relationship, this requires honesty and openness for success. I want to make sure that you are comfortable or if you need a break, want to regroup and I‘m also open to your questions and suggestions.

This openness removes all confidence blocks and allows us both to deliver. At the end of the day, we’ll have created portraits that you’ll be confident to show off.  

Event Photography Highlights from the 2019 NEA EXPO

Event Photography Highlights from the 2019 NEA EXPO

We recently returned from Scottsdale, Arizona where we were the official event photographers of the National Eczema Expo 2019 Annual Meeting. This is the second year we’ve been asked to cover the conference and it was three full-days of key note sessions, panel presentations, exhibitors, kids’ camp, pool parties and more.

The National Eczema Association is the leading resource for 30 million Americans that are living with eczema which causes the skin to become red, itchy and sometimes enflamed. Though eczema is common and often times mild, in many instances it can become very severe and difficult to manage.

Through the annual EXPO, the NEA brings together a community of medical researches, patient advocates, medical providers, patients and their families in order to educate, encourage and create a safe space for unhiding eczema.



The EXPO greeted the 400 registered attendees with spritzers, plenty of EXPO swag, a fantastic view of the 27-acre resort against a backdrop of the McDowell Mountains and educational seminars by some the leading doctors in the industry. 

On the exhibitor floor, attendess were able to meet with medical teams working on the latest treatment for eczema and check out some of the newer therapies including acupuncture sessions and massage. Of course, to keep the fun going between the support group sessions and the breakout meetings, they threw in a photo booth for those family and friend group shots.


Multi-day conferences can take their toll on our bodies so to keep things on the healthier side, the EXPO offered allergen free snacks, early morning yoga, water aerobic classes, spa treatments and plenty of time to check out the 10 swimming pools, high-speed waterslide and 45 waterfalls.

While the adults attended seminars and breakout sessions, the kids got to hang out at EXPO camp where the little ones had a chance to check out the wildlife and their older siblings took part in vision boarding, skin care tutorials and question/answer sessions with medical experts.

The last night was the closing bash where it was time to play dress-up, grab a cocktail and get on the dance floor to show off some moves. As event photographers, we’re big fans of DJ mixes, disco lights and dancing and love to get right into the middle of the mix to cover the energy.


This years’ theme was #unhideECZEMA which emphasizes body positivity and helped to create a space where attendees were able to share their experiences living with eczema and how it has affected their lives. This was an empowering, kid-friendly, educational and fun conference to photograph and we’re looking forward to photographing the event next year in Orlando!





Environmental Portraits for Velocity Magazine

Environmental Portraits for Velocity Magazine

Today I received the most recent issue of Velocity magazine, the semi-annual publication from the Maryland Institute College of Arts that highlights the latest ideas on campus and about the students, faculty, staff and alumnus. The feature story of this edition focuses on five Chicago-based alumni who have have excelled in their perspective industries and I was proud to be invited to collaborate with MICA in producing the accompanying environmental portraits for their stories.

For our first set of portraits, we headed over to meet Rebecca George, the founder of the Art House Gallery. She’s a painter with exhibition space and a studio practice whose works are in collections around the world. Alex Fuller is the Senior VP of Design at Leo Burnett and is also the co-founder of the Post Family, a creative firm whose members are designers, artists, technologists, teachers, and entrepreneurs. Kelly Leigh Miller is an illustrator whose debut children’s book, I am a Wolf, is being published by Penguin. 

Below are Rebecca George ’93 (General Fine Arts BFA), Alex Fuller ’03 (Graphic Design BFA), Kelly Leigh Miller (11 ’14 Illustration B.F.A., Business of Art & Design M.P.S.)

I’m often asked what kind of projects I like to work on most and editorial assignments, specifically portraits, always rank up pretty high. Typically, with these kind of projects, I’m given a photo brief with specific needs such as dimensions, number of images needed and the licensing required. When it comes to style, composition and demeanor, this can be flexible and I prefer to meet my subjects where they’re at and let them determine what they want to show and express.

The purpose of environmental portraits is to use the places where the subjects work, play and live to tell a part of their story. Photographing portraits of artists in their element leaves plenty of room for playing with light, color, expression and in the case of Aram below…props, lots of props. With the images for Velocity, we did some staging to frame the subject within their work, and used additional lighting to intensify the colors and contrasts within the spaces.

Above  are Sergio Salgado ’07 (Digital Arts MA), Madeline Murphy Rabb ’66 (General Fine Arts BFA) and Aram Han Sifuentes ’11 ( Fine Arts Post-Bacc)

Sergio Salgado is the founder of Furnace FPS as well as the lead director and cinematographer. His firm specializes in visual storytelling through commercial films and branded content. Madeleine Murphy Rabb is renowned for her expertise in identifying and showcasing artwork created by established, mid-career, and emerging African-American artists including photojournalist Gordon Parks. Aram Han Sifuentes is a fiber, social practice, and performance artist who works to claim spaces for marginalized communities. 

This was a fantastic project to be invited to work on. One that offered so much creative freedom to produce environmental portraits that helped to tell the story behind several accomplished artists. Looking forward to the next round!

More Tips For Partnering With Your Event Photographer

More Tips For Partnering With Your Event Photographer

In the previous post, we laid out the beginning steps for partnering with an event photographer to cover annual meetings, conferences, trade shows, galas and other special events. Here, we’ll wrap it up with the final steps that will help you work with your photographer in capturing the best of your event. 


Create a brief that includes an outline of your event schedule as well as the following list of items:

  • Event schedule: Sequence of events
  • Location(s)
  • People and places

We’ll need to know the start time of the event and will plan to arrive earlier in order to touch base to go over any loose ends. We’ll also need to know the sequence of the events throughout the day. If the conference is at a hotel, please include the room numbers and session names we need to cover as well as their start and end times. And always be sure to confirm the address(es) with your event photographer as there are several Hyatts and Hiltons in each major city such as Chicago. We will be photographing each keynote, presenter and panel however if there are VIP’s at the event that will only be attending, give us a heads-up. If you’d like some candid coverage of them, we’ll need to know who they are so we can pull up their online profiles and identify them during the event.


Think about what furniture, settings, props and lighting you’ll use for the event. Keep in mind the height of the speakers if they’ll be presenting at the podium. I have seen a few vertically-challenged presenters being dwarfed by the podium, which makes it very difficult to capture them and this is something that could be easily prevented by making an apple box available. 

Stage lighting is also critical to the quality of the photos we deliver. There have been several instances when we’ve worked with our clients to tweak the stage lighting in order to fully light the presenters and panels because the “stage wash” that was being used was unflattering and created excessive contrast on the speakers. Since we do not want to use our on-camera flash during presentations as it can be obtrusive, we’ll want to make sure we test this prior to the event launch.




Are you looking to offer corporate headshots at your conference or tradeshow? It’s a fantastic way to bring attention to your brand and send home attendees with a gift that they’ll value. To find out more about high-volume headshots, click here.

If you only need a few headshots of the staff, we can arrange to bring in lighting or use available light at the venue. In each case, we’ll want to be sure we have an advance notice so we have the proper equipment, scout out the best spot for set-up and nail down the timing. 

We hope this list of ideas will help you to organize your event and gives you a heads-up on how you can work with your photographer to make sure they capture the best of your event. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to get in touch! We have over 20 years of experience covering trade shows, conferences, meetings, galas, and more so we’d be happy to help!