Creating the Perfect Event Shot List
With 20 years of experience photographing all kinds of special events including 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.
First Step: What Is the Purpose of the Images
Consider how the photos will ultimately be used. Will the content be integral for marketing another corporate event, used to engage attendees on social media? Determine the audience and then you can focus on the art direction for your content.
Step Two: Start Building Your Shot List
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
Must-Haves to Include in Your Shot List
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.
Step Three: Assemble the Photography Team
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.
Step Four: Prep the Event Photography Team
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.
Step Five: Put It All on Paper
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.
Step Five: Use the Content
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.