How to choose your event photographer

Your event photography company has the power to make or break your event. When you’ve put so much work into sourcing your presenters, designing your space and organising everything down to the last tiny detail you want to be able to trust that a professional event photographer will be able to appropriately document your event.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Event photography is an industry that’s rapidly filling with fly-by-night amateurs disguised as professionals. Here are the kind of things you need to ask about and avoid to make sure you don’t make a costly, embarrassing mistake.

Know your event budget

As with most investments, it’s always good to do some research and analysis and know how much you want to spend. What are the things you really need, what can you live without and put the information down.

If spreadsheets are your thing then put all that information into those little boxes and allocate budgets to every aspect of your event such as venue hire, audio visual and a photographer.

Look at recent photography albums – not just portfolios

Your photos will be appearing everywhere – on your website, on your emails to clients and around your worksite. You want to ensure that the event photographer you choose has the reputation of both your company and your guests in mind.

Ask to see portfolios of work that demonstrate flattering angles and present your guests as having fun and enjoying themselves (and, by extension, your product). Amateur eventphotography companies won’t put the time and effort into ensuring that both candid and posed photos are the best representation of the day – they’ll just point, snap and walk away.

Are the testimonials and reviews real? Like REAL and we mean it.

Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people to fake and steal testimonials off other photographers websites, reword it and slap it onto a website. It happens to us quiet a bit and in some cases they even forget to remove references back to Event Photos – which is slightly amusing, yet annoying.

The best place to read a business’ reviews would be on their Google listing or even on the Facebook page if they have one. This is harder (not impossible) to make up testimonials then say a photographer’s website.

Once you have narrowed down your photographer/s of choice, ask for some client references that you can call and ask what they really thought of the service and images provided.

What real event photography experience do they have?

Is shooting a friend’s Birthday party or Uni Ball comparable to a corporate event?

Imagine that you’ve poured time, effort and money into setting up your venue to be absolutely perfect. Tables are set, centrepieces are placed and your branded banners are gorgeously draped around the peripheries. It looks beautiful.
But unfortunately, after today, no one’s going to see it.

Many event photography amateurs will arrive either just as the event starts or on time – meaning that there is no time to document the venue ahead of time. Your hard work will be lost forever and you won’t be able to represent it on your website or on your mail outs.

Select an event photography company who put the time and effort into ensuring that they’re there ahead of time to get the whole picture. After all, you put the effort in – shouldn’t the people you hire do the same?

Does the photographer know what to look for?

You flick through the photos you’ve been sent. Everyone looks happy, the venue looks great, the speakers are engaging… but hang on. Where’s your branding? That expensive, time-consuming, all important branding that you worked so hard on hasn’t been represented at all!

This comes down to poor planning and a mediocre understanding of what event photography is all about. Event photographers aren’t just there to capture people having a good time. An incredibly important aspect of the role is to make sure that the photos taken embrace your branding so you can use the shots to your commercial advantage down the track. It’s as if a wedding photographer forgot to get a shot of the bride in her dress – it’s just not on and it’s just not good enough.

Do they know how to avoid awkward objects?

Your venue of choice has a number of elements that come with holding an event in a multi-purpose venue. Things like exit signs, directions to the toilets and a few inevitable unfortunate ugly spots towards the back of the room. It’s unavoidable and beyond your ability to control.

The issue is, though, that your event photographer should be able to control them.

Your shots should absolute not feature exit signs, toilets, torn carpet or any number of other ‘ugly’ elements. Their shots should be pre-planned and carefully constructed to only focus on what you want to see – your guests engaged in your hard work. Are the toilets going to be a good look on your website? Will prospective clients getting your email be impressed by exit signs? No? Then choose an event photographer who knows what they’re doing and who knows how to set up properly.