Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Event’

  1. Communicate
    Respond to all emails, phone calls, and text messages, and do it IMMEDIATELY! Ask questions, probe the client for info on their event, schedules, agendas, “must-have” images, end-result needs and deadlines. If the photographer doesn’t ask the right questions, or any at all, they’re very likely to not provide the company, event planner, or client with the quality product they’re expecting and paying for.

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  2. Timeliness
    It starts with showing up on time. In fact, it starts with BEING EARLY, particularly on the first day of any multi-day event. Once on the property, text your client to let them know you’re there. It goes a long way to alleviating one more worry in the client’s mind of all the things that could go wrong on the first day. They have enough to worry about without wondering if the photographer they’ve hired will even show up.

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  3. Scout
    Once on the property, get familiar with every inch of the location you’re expected to be working within. There’s usually one main ballroom where everyone meets for presentations, but there are also possible smaller rooms for break-out sessions. Look at the lighting, speak with the A/V team that controls the lighting and find out if spots or a “stage-wash” will be used during the main presentation. You may find that their lighting is sufficient for what takes place on stage so you can work with “all-available” light, but be prepared to use flash when needed. The smaller break-out rooms won’t always be lit as well.

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  4. Light
    Know your equipment, see the light, meet the challenge. Every location presents its own challenges and you are expected by your client to know how to handle all of them. Whether you’re fortunate enough to be in a room that’s beautifully washed in window light from the North, or if you’re in a windowless break-out room with flickering fluorescents, your images should be clean, sharp, and beautifully lit. If that means using a flash (and it will), use it, but use it correctly. Depending on the circumstances, an off-camera flash can be bounced off the ceiling, the wall, or aimed directly at the subject. Paint with your light conservatively and allow it to enhance your image, not dominate it.

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  5. Stealth
    Do not become a distraction. Wear dark clothing if working around a stage. Blend into the darkness and become a Ninjatographer. Some of the best, most commercially useful images to a client are the ones that are candid, photojournalistic, and storytelling, where the subject had no idea they were being watched, much less photographed. Don’t approach the stage if you can avoid it, use long lenses instead. There will be times when being up close is necessary and unavoidable but limit them as much as possible.

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  6. Emotion
    Laughter, handshakes, reactions to a speaker’s joke, intense concentration on the speaker, animated conversations, hand gestures… these are all things that show emotion. Action between two parties such as looking at an image on a single smart phone or taking a selfie together. This is storytelling. This is useful to most clients. These are often images used as “filler” on their websites to represent the event and promote their next one.

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  7. Interaction
    Your client will not only evaluate the quality of your images, but how well you treat their guests, attendees, staff, and VIPs. Be as low-maintenance as possible, do not cause problems. Offer to assist and help resolve problems when they appear. Remember, you’re part of a team, you’re not “just a photographer.” Treat everyone with respect, smile, stay out of the way, be cordial, and for Heaven’s sake, don’t drink, cuss, or tell off-color jokes… EVER!

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  8. Lenses
    Correct lens choice is a vital ingredient to capturing great images. Be prepared to switch lenses often or use two camera bodies, each with different zoom lenses. Three lenses that span 17-200mm will often give you the range you need to cover most corporate events. I’m a huge fan of fixed aperture lenses, with f2.8 being “a must.” Variable aperture zoom lenses (less expensive lenses with apertures that change based on focal length as you zoom) may limit your ability to zoom in under low light conditions and still produce good exposures.

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  9. Processing
    Corporate event images are not expected to be “processed” with Instagram-like filters. Your clients are expecting clean, sharp, well-lit, well-composed images – not an artist’s fine-art interpretation of a scene. You should color and density correct all your images, edit out redundant, poorly exposed, and un-sharp images. Crop in post if necessary but provide as much full-frame as possible. You never know when they could use a panoramic image of a scene that you cropped because you saw it differently. If using two cameras, sort them in Adobe Bridge by “date created” and rename the images numerically (ex:”001-clientname-filenumber” thru “150-clientname-filenumber”). This will put all your images into chronological order regardless of the camera’s original file numbers.

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  10. Delivery
    Speed is key. Turnaround shouldn’t take weeks, or in many cases, even days. In fact, many events want images in real-time so they can post to their social media accounts, showing those who didn’t attend, what they’re missing. Two or three times during the course of the day, download, batch process, export to low-res JPEGS, and upload to their server, a downloadable gallery, or Dropbox. Send the link to their media or marketing specialist and alert them that the “social-media-ready” images are available. You can export to high res later that night or at the end of the event and deliver the “print-ready” images after the conclusion of the event (again, should be done within 48 hours – max).

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Bottom line, when it comes to photographing corporate events, it’s a different animal than wedding photography. You have less interaction with the subjects, but more interaction with the staff, event coordinators, and behind-the-scenes-clients. You’re a very integral part of a team – a machine that works best when it works together. Do your job, do it well, show up early, stay late, solve problems, and deliver better-than-expected images, ahead of schedule and without causing undo stress on your client.

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Giants of Design – 2016, Palm Springs, California

 

For the fourth time in as many years, I was contracted to provide documentary style coverage of Interior Design magazine’s Giants of Design Conference in Palm Springs, California.

Held at The Parker (former estate of Gene Autry, “the Singing Cowboy” from the B&W film days), the event lasted three and a half days and features tours of Palm Springs homes that are of particular interest with regards to design and décor.

100 of the country’s top designers and a few dozen manufacturers are treated to seminars, tours, activities, and meals that continually raise the bar for inspiration, education, and networking within their field.

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Held on the grounds of Gene Autry’s Palm Springs home at The Parker.

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Dinner in the backyard one evening.

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Coffee by the Fire Pit.

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Dinner by the indoor pool one evening, featured “Light Dancers.”

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The meeting consisted of over 100 of the country’s top designers and manufacturers.

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One stop on our Tour of Homes, included the Palm Springs home owned by Elvis Presley at the time he married Priscilla. This is where they spent their honeymoon night!

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Another stop of particular interest, was Sunnylands. Google it. Pretty fascinating.

or the third time this year, I covered an event for KelbyOneMedia. This time, right in my own backyard at the Tampa Convention Center, Scott Kelby himself, presented a full day seminar that included everything from planning your shoot, lighting, composition, and getting it right in the camera, to his “secret sauce” applied in post-production through Lightroom and Photoshop adjustments.

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A packed house of 300+

I’ve seen Scott speak several times, and his ability to present information in a “learnable” way and entertain his audience with relatable quips and stories, are what gives his seminars value well beyond their price.

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He approaches lighting like an architect – one block at a time.

His “secret sauce” in post-production was a clean, yet very creative workflow that allowed him to get the most impact possible from his images. And it worked!

Scott Kelby

The Secret Sauce

Being hired to photograph an event put on by one of the world’s leading authors in the field of photography is always an honor. What I learn while “doing my job” is just icing on the cake.

 

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Scott Kelby of KelbyOneMedia

 

I LOVE Nashville! Fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting there several times over the past few years, and have always enjoyed myself.

This trip was to document a three day event for Interior Design Magazine. It was a gathering of some of the country’s top designers and suppliers who are actively designing hotels and restaurants across the country. Programming is often followed by bus tours of local hotels and restaurants that have been designed as boutique/chic/hip, or have become local icons for their designs.

Dinner music at the Ryman was supplied a country music trio, who played every song you already know the words to!

Dinner music at the Ryman was supplied a country music trio, who played every song you already know the words to!

Nashville designer, Hannah Crowell (daughter of Roseanne Cash) presented "Little Known Facts About Nashville" to the attendees.

Nashville designer, Hannah Crowell (daughter of Rosanne Cash) presented “Little Known Facts About Nashville” to the attendees.

Dinner one evening was held on stage at the Ryman Auditorium.

Dinner one evening was held on stage at the Ryman Auditorium.

Designer Andrew Dent presented on how technology is employed into futuristic designs.

Designer Andrew Dent presented on how technology is employed into futuristic designs.

As a photographer, award banquets are incredibly fun to cover. They’re like a wedding reception, but without the drama! Everyone is excited to be there, and the event planners typically put a considerable amount of effort into planning these events.

Earlier this week, I covered one for Caspers Company, which is one of the largest McDonalds franchise holders in the company. This particular event was held at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Prior to the banquet itself, the attendees arrived early and were given an opportunity view up close and interact with some of the zoo’s more exotic creatures.

We cover a lot of corporate events like this, here in Tampa as well as around the country. It’s what helps keep my skill set sharp in the field of documentary work, and challenges my creative eye to find that perspective that has real commercial value.

Who?

Who?

Feeding the Giraffe.

Feeding the Giraffe.

Table shot with Ronald!

Table shot with Ronald!

Ronald McDonald, just hangin' out.

Ronald McDonald, just hangin’ out.

The event room at Lowry Park Zoo.

The event room at Lowry Park Zoo.

Message from the CEO.

Message from the CEO.

Ummm... I don't think so.

Ummm… I don’t think so.

I really do enjoy my life, and I love working with people who enjoy theirs as well.

This month, I was fortunate enough to cover a three-day corporate event at the Terranea Resort, just outside of Los Angeles. It’s a picturesque location, directly overlooking the Pacific, with a great staff, and some of the best food I’ve ever had.

The event was for Interior Design magazine, my tenth such event for them in the last three years. This event brought together 115 of the country’s best designers and dozens of suppliers, for a weekend of networking and “speed dating,” giving the suppliers and designers private one-to-one time to get to know one another.

The staff of ID, out of New York, are some of the most wonderful people you’ll ever meet, and despite the 12-15 hour days I put in with them, it hardly seems like work at all.

Enjoy a few images from the weekend…

Designers and Suppliers getting time together.

Designers and Suppliers getting time together.

A field trip to the Wayfarers Chapel, designed by Lloyd Wright.

A field trip to the Wayfarers Chapel, designed by Lloyd Wright.

Firelight

Firelight

Smores! By the firepit.

Smores! By the firepit.

Suppliers and Designers

Suppliers and Designers

Pronounced "Brewery West"

Pronounced “Brewery West”

Meditation in the gardens of the Wayfarers Chapel.

Meditation in the gardens of the Wayfarers Chapel.

Breakfast overlooking the Pacific in Palos Verdes.

Breakfast overlooking the Pacific in Palos Verdes.

Designer Pamela Bamby  being interviewed by Interior Design's Edie Cohen.

Designer Pamela Bamby being interviewed by Interior Design’s Edie Cohen.

Evening networking.

Evening networking.

Cocktail Hour, poolside, overlooking the Pacific.

Cocktail Hour, poolside, overlooking the Pacific.

Dinner at Brouwerij West.

Dinner at Brouwerij West.

Florida Medical Clinic’s annual Foundation of Caring event was held at the Mainsail in Tampa last weekend. I was asked to cover the event. Their theme this year was of the Emerald City variety, complete with a cornfield in the parking lot, Tornado debris filled hallways, and characters in Steampunk costume that bore an eerie resemblance to the Wizard of Oz characters, but in a Tim Burton sort of way.

Tin Man & Lion

Tin Man & Lion

Scarecrow and Wizard

Scarecrow and Wizard

Glenda and Wicked Witch

Glenda and Wicked Witch

In conversations with event coordinator, Janeen Salzgeber, prior to the event, I relayed a small connection I have with the original movie. In 1991, my son was a kindergartener at St John Greek Orthodox Day School in South Tampa. His class put on a rather elaborate production of The Wizard of Oz, my son playing the Cowardly Lion. The guest of honor that evening was Mr. Karl Slover, who made a brief presentation prior to the performance. Mr. Slover, who had lived in South Tampa for many years, had the distinction of playing several different roles as Munchkins in the original 1939 film. Because I was video taping the play that evening, my seat was front and center, and Karl was seated next to me throughout the play. He was very nice, and quite talkative.

Fast forward a year, maybe two, and my wife was in a South Tampa antique shop. She spotted a beautiful old AgfaAnsco camera, circa 1930 era. I had a small collection of old cameras (isn’t that what all photographers do?). Father’s Day was coming and she snatched it up and took it to the register. The man behind the counter looked at the price tag and noted that it came from Karl Slover’s booth (it was a consignment antique shop). He asked her if she knew who Karl was, and she said “Sure do!” The price tag, still connected to the camera today, says “SLOV” on it, so the shopkeeper knew who to credit after the sale. On my shelf, that old camera proudly sat for over twenty years.

Circa 1930, AgfaAnsco No 1 Readyset Royal

Circa 1930, AgfaAnsco No 1 Readyset Royal

After hearing my story, Janeen insisted I find out if that camera still worked, if I could get film for it, and if I would shoot a roll of film using it during the evening. Luckily for me, it turns out the camera used B2 film, which is the exact same size as today’s 120 medium format film. I called another good friend, Tom Wilhoite, who works for Kodak Alaris and told him what I needed. Within a few days I had the film.

I loaded a roll and took it to the Mainsail to test it out. Since the camera only has two settings; “Instant” (take a picture) or “Bulb” (take a really long picture), my goal to was find out if the camera would function, not have light leaks, and how much light would be required to get a decent exposure. The results from the lab revealed it worked, had no leaks, the shutter speed was slow (maybe 1/20 sec) but the Fstop was small (F22), and the TriX-400 film I had would be fine.

Fortunately the actors had a walk-through prior to the guests arriving, and after their rehearsal, I had five minutes with them. I took them outside where the daylight was still very good. A roll of 120 in that camera produces a 6x9mm negative, slightly longer than the 6×7 or 6×6 most of today’s cameras create, so I was only going to get eight exposures tops.

I accidentally wound the camera past the first frame, so I now only had seven. I took four shots of them in the shade, then three more in the Sunlight. Unbeknownst to me, the camera accidentally fired when I moved the tripod, (twice), so two of my frames were double exposed (not something most of today’s photographers have ever experienced, to be sure). Long story short, I got three decent frames of the characters, all of the same composition (shown below). I scanned the negative and manipulated it in Photoshop (which some would equate to having smothered a steak in ketchup, I know, I know).

Photographed on a camera, once owned by an original Munchkin, Mr. Karl Slover.

Photographed on a camera, once owned by an original Munchkin, Mr. Karl Slover.

This little exercise has stirred up some of the excitement of working with film. The mystery of not knowing what you have for several days until the lab calls you. I have other cameras. I still have film. And I’ll find the time.