Need to Step Up Your Event PR Game? Get a Photographer.

Having studied photography in college, I was thrilled to incorporate a favorite “hobby” into my position here at March. I realized just how valuable a skillset it is for me to have, as visual storytelling has become an additional service our agency can offer. In fact, over the last six months, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph everything from client events and coworker headshots, to offices spaces and well-known award ceremonies with celebrity hosts.

Photography is such a creative field, and every situation is completely different, which requires photographers to stay on their toes. You may have read my colleague Nate’s post about the usual questions a B2B tech PR team has prior to attending an event, which got me thinking about a few questions I’ve had as a photographer as well:

  1. Will I have full access to ensure I capture the best shots?
  2. Can I use flash? Please, tell me I can use flash!
  3. Is there a list of images I’ll need to capture?
  4. How many people? Wait, 2,000?! We may need to suggest a second photographer…
  5. Think I’ll get photo credit for any images used publicly? That’d be awesome.

Since beginning event PR work at March, I’ve personally asked these questions before heading down to Orlando for client SiriusDecisions’ annual Summit, and again, as I prepared for the Publicity Club of New England’s 2014 Bell Ringer Awards and the Boston Marathon Code Red panel discussion. While the responses were different in each case – and presumably will for future opportunities – I thought I’d share a few examples of how thinking ahead ensured both parties were on the same page, resulting in successful images…and happy clients.

Example #1: All Access Pass!

As the photographer at SiriusDecisions’ Summit, I had access to shoot wherever I wanted – including the Awards Gala, headlined by Eddie Money and Journey’s Steve Augeri. They rocked a room of nearly 2,000 high-level business executives to end the night. See? Photography has its perks!

Steve Augeri

Example #2: Flash Can Be Your Best Friend.

This venue was pretty dark, but I was able to snag this shot of the Boston Marathon Code Red panel with the help of an extra light source. Because light is so importance when it comes to photography, by confirming I could use all of my equipment, I delivered five-star shots from their requested list of images.

Code Red Boston Marathon

Example #3: Hey, I Took That Photo!

The “selfie” phenomenon doesn’t appear to be fading out anytime soon, so why not use the trend for a good cause? You may be familiar with David Wade from WBZ-TV, or perhaps he delivers your morning news on Mix 104.1. Wade’s selfie raised money for charity, and I happened to capture a behind-the-scenes shot from another angle.

While I may not have received credit for this one, per se, I did use Twitter to pass it along to Wade, and hepersonally responded to tell me he enjoyed the shot! Further, the images were published in Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” issue, as well as other places on the Web. PR photography really can generate long-term interest in an event, long after it’s over. And let’s be honest: we all feel a little proud to see our work published, right?

David Wade Bell Ringer Awards

So, What Does This All Mean for Your Upcoming Event?

During these three events, PR photography and visual storytelling enhanced coverage. People usually enjoy having their picture taken, and even those who don’t are at least used to it – photographing day-to-day experiences is normal in today’s social sharing world. Just think of all the sights out there – if your guests are enjoying themselves, chances are, their social networks will be aware of it in real-time. Including a visual component increases visibility of your brand one step further.

Additionally, from a business perspective, hiring a PR photographer for your event has long-term advantages: you’ll obtain images to share across platforms, just as your guests did, but the investment extends larger than that. Not only will the photos help promote future events, they’ll also help showcase your brand in multiple projects, such as blog posts and graphics for website building, while other companies could be stuck using stock images.

Now that you’ve learned how PR photography can enhance your client-facing events, stay tuned for part two next month, where I’ll explain how it can also be useful internally.

Originally post can be found on the March Communications blog, PRNonsense, by clicking here.

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