The idea of working at a business conference might not fill you with delight, but if you do it well, it may just turn into a solid field of work. Conferences are also a wonderful place to sharpen your documentary technique in a controlled atmosphere. You might even learn a thing or two out of all those presentations on the way!
For me, working business conferences are all about building a solid relationship with the client. Open communication is essential. Your requirements and their needs may differ, and not every decision will be made with you in mind, so be flexible. Low light or a busy schedule may not be ideal, but if you are able to work well together with your client you will have the ability to make some excellent pictures.
Know the Schedule
Before the day, be certain you’re in communication with the conference hosts, or whoever has employed you to take the photos. Ask them to give you a schedule of the day so that you know where to be and when. It might be that more than one event is occurring at a time, so it pays to be organised.
Your photos are not the main thing going on in the room. The audience will likely have given time and money to attend small business coach training you’re capturing, so do everything you can not to block people’s view or distract them from proceeding. Attempting to go unnoticed also entails making wise photographic choices. Shutter clicks can be really distracting, particularly at key moments.
Be Confident and Proceed with Purpose
When photographing a seminar, you want to have confidence to move about to find the to capture great photos. When I started out, I was scared to go from the back of the room for worry of disturbing the event, but that meant I never got an assortment of shots to tell the story of the occasion. Having a camera in your hands, however, you have the perfect excuse to subtly move about.
The speaker and stage will not move, so it is your responsibility to locate different perspectives and angles to view from. Before everything kicks off, scout out a couple of spots you will have easy access to and that are not in anybody’s way but have a nice vantage point of the activity.
Have Patience and Act Decisively
The first time I worked at a corporate seminar, I assumed I needed to be in a million places at once, rushing around taking shots of everything that was happening. In fact, the quality of shots matters a lot more than the quantity. When photographing speakers, find a good vantage point, hold your camera steady and wait for that moment of expression, the gesture or glimpse that defines their character, to create your picture. Waiting for the perfect moment really does pay off as the photos are usually used for flyer printing, which means lots of exposure for you, so take your time, just don’t overlook it when the time comes.
Know Your Client
Business pride themselves in inviting ‘big-names’ such as a world-renowned business coach to come and speak at their event, and it is your responsibility to collect the evidence. Any chance to photograph them with the business logo or even representatives from the business, get on it.
Give it Warmth
A great deal of companies are now requesting that their corporate shots be less stuffy and business-like. Most conferences are not especially exciting events, so any warmth and personality you can find to put in your images are really going to help add depth to your work, on top of this, corporate events don’t usually require same day printing so you’ve got time to pick your best shots. Keep an eye out for discussion, people sharing thoughts in dialogue, handshakes, gestures and smiles. Laughter during demonstrations is always welcome. If a speaker is cracking lot of jokes, try to anticipate a chance to focus on the audience and grab their responses.