If you were to calculate the cost of meetings it would shock most of us. Just how effective and important are these to your organization?
Meetings are important and help in business or they wouldn’t be done. However, if you are the one putting one on you quickly discover how important it is to get all you can out of the investment.
Photography is one of the best ways to help stretch your budget.
Improve Retention of Content
You can have a photographer cover your event and then use the photos to help put the content online for the rest of your company. It also helps those who attended review what was covered and improve retention of the material.
Celebrate your people
When a photographer is pointing a camera towards your people in a meeting, they know this is important or the company wouldn’t have a photographer their. This is like the red carpet treatment for your employees.
People will sit up and pay more attention when they are on camera. They also get excited when they later see these photos in publications or online. This recognition can help them feel good about themselves and the company.
A good photographer is going to be aware of capturing these moments where people are engaged.
Having people look at the camera and smile is not the same as catching them in a real situation. This authentic moment will help communicate a message as well as authentically show them participating.
|Having activities for the participants will help them retain information better than a pure lecture. These also translate into wonderful photo opportunities. Here the photographer is trying to capture the activity engaging the people.|
Its about relationships
Your photos will help do something that cannot be done with text as effectively. It helps show the relationships.
|Before the meeting is even officially started, you can see relationships that communicate the family atmosphere for your company.|
Too often companies focus on the wrong type of photos. Sure you may want photos of people receiving awards, but other than the person getting the award who else would really want the photo.
|This is a typical awards photo that happens quickly on stage. These are good photos to make prints and give to the person receiving the award.|
Too many companies use only these award photos in their publications after a meeting. Do you think having 30+ of these award photos really is the best use of photography or do you think the other photos above can help you more? Why not make prints of all the award winners and give these to those in the photos?
You need both, but remember you can use photography to communicate and not just celebrate.
How to help your photographer
- What is the purpose of the photography? You need to be able to give a clear direction on why you need the photos.
- Who is the audience? A photographer needs to know the audience. Shooting for the media, your internal company people or to give photos to the award recipients makes a huge difference in approach.
- What medium will it be used in? If all the photos are going to be part of a video later, then the photographer will probably shoot more horizontals than verticals. This is true also if it is primarily being used on the web.
- Have someone assigned to the photographer. This is important for a new photographer working with you. They could benefit as to someone pointing out key people in a room. This person should not be a micro manager. Too much direction to a seasoned pro can actually stifle the creative process. They should help point out the key people that have been predetermined as important to the story. That is the CEO and this is the major donor can help the photographer then capture a moment where they may be interacting very naturally. This is almost always a better photo than when they CEO call them up and they have an official moment on stage. Having a photographer who you use regularly and understands you should be something you are willing to pay a little more for, because you will be saving costs on someone with them all the time.
- When is your deadline? A photographer needs to know before the estimate is given when you expect the photos in your hand.
- What is the deliverable? Will the photographer give you a DVD of high resolution, low resolution or a combination? Are you wanting these delivered as an online gallery where you can order prints and/or download high to low resolution photos?
- What is the dress code? While most professionals will dress professionally, be sure they know this is a black tie event or if everyone is expected to wear jeans. Sometimes you may require them to wear all black since you are having video crews shooting and having them in all black when they are near the stage will look better.
- Give them directions and time expectations. Be sure and provide parking close to the event. These photographers will be bringing tens of thousands of dollars of equipment. For their safety and security be sure they are not walking blocks back to their car after an event. Let them know when you expect them to be onsite. Do not assume they know you expect them an hour before the event starts onsite–tell them.
- Give clear billing instructions. Be sure they know who is to get the invoice. If they need to provide a W-9 form to be paid, tell them to do so when they send the invoice. If there is a PO# required by accounts payable for them to be paid–get that to them right away.
|Good meeting photography will not be all smiles. Here you can see this guy is thinking and engaged. I think the reason for most meetings is to give people new material. Showing the employees digesting the material is showing them engaged.|
Did you hire the right photographer?
If you did not provide the information to the photographer and they don’t ask about those topics–it is a good clue you have a rookie or a clueless photographer.
When you get the photos you will also know if you got the right photographer. Do you see moments of people interacting with each other or only posed looking into the camera? If only posed–you hired the wrong photographer.
Hire a pro every once in a while, even if you shoot most meetings
Why would you hire a pro when you know how to take a photo? On the job training for one. I know many organizations that have so many meetings they cannot afford to hire a photographer all the time. Be careful not to never hire a photographer.
Try and hire a seasoned pro once in a while so you can learn from them. Your photography will improve when you see what they are doing.