ILEA Quick Tips for Event Planners: May 2018

How to work with a photographer to get the exact photos you want.

As a seasoned photographer, I’m used to the unexpected. My life revolves around photographing events at locations I’ve never been to; where I know no one and need to interact with everyone; where time lines and events can be running early or late; or where the lighting can be unpredictable and difficult. Like many other professional photographers around the world, it’s just another standard day at work. What makes these days at work better are when clients over communicate their needs. That’s right: “over communicate.”

Here are a few helpful tips and important things to communicate to your photographer so we can do our best work:

If it’s an event, offer a pre-event visit to the site. As a visual artist, knowing exactly what the site looks like helps immensely. It can give us insight into the most important part of taking photos: lighting. We need to see things like how high or low are the ceilings; what are the walls and ceilings made out of and what color are they; are there windows and how many; what sort of lights are on site; if there are balconies; what is the actual size of the location; and so many other things that are just hard to explain the why of why they are important.

Provide one person as the go-to person for information. It’s hard photographing something where there is more than one planner involved. Who do we follow as the top leader and who has the final say on times, locations, photo lists, payment, and any issues that arise? This is the person we need to fall back on when others step in to change our path, or if we have questions.

Communicate when you need your photos by. Let your photographer know this information during the hiring phase of communication. If you only need a few images right away, let them know the deadline. It’s easy to pull out a handful of images for immediate use as opposed to getting every single image to you right away. It may be the era of instant images, but that really only applies to phone photos and unedited images.

Discuss sharing photos before you do it. Photographers make their living by selling their services and images. Handing image files out to everyone cuts into what we earn, as well as limits us in connecting with other companies. We wouldn’t hand out your services and products with out talking with you first. Connect us with the companies that are interested in the photos taken at your event/company/photoshoot and we can take care of working with their business’s photography needs. After all, you paid for the photos for you or your companies marketing needs, not theirs.

Hire us for what we do. That means don’t hire a family and kids portrait photographer for a corporate event, or a wedding photographer for a commercial product shoot. Sure, we photographers could probably take photos in any capacity, but we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. There are enough of us out there that specialize in a certain area of photography that you shouldn’t resort to hiring the only photographer you know. Look for the photographer with the “strength” that you need and be specific about it. You’ll only end up with exactly the photos you need that way.

Amy Coppersmith is the owner and lead photographer for Coppersmith Photography, an editorial photography studio specializing in corporate and small business photography. Amy has been awarded multiple photography awards such as the 2017 Emerging Artist Award with the Central MN Arts Board, six-time winner of the Minnesota Star Award for Best Event Photographer, nominated four times for MN Meetings and Events Best of Photographer, 2017 Top 100 photographer in the world with Shoot and Share, and many others. 2018 marks the 19th year in business for Coppersmith Photography. Side projects include The Fairy Godmother Project and personal fine art gallery shows.

International Live Events Association (ILEA) represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally – event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact