How to Find an AMAZING Event Photographer
Listen up! If you’re starting a career in event planning, your “hard” planning skills are important. But don’t let that overshadow the soft skills you’ll need to develop in order to get your event planning business off the ground.
One of the best things you can do for your business is to start networking as soon as you can! And we don’t mean just with clients—you’ll need to connect with a variety of professionals in the events industry. One of the most important professionals you must connect with is the event photographer!
Clients look for a planner with a great reputation and who can recommend good vendors for their needs. So how can you sift through the dozens of photography pros in your local industry to find professionals who will complement your work?
Here are 9 indicators of a great event photographer!
Does their events portfolio show diversity?
A great event photographer should show a diverse portfolio of different events jobs and perspectives. If their portfolio only consists of the same shot from slightly different angles, this is a red flag.
In their work, they should be able to show their knowledge of posing clients (if necessary). This could be important if your event has special guests who need to be captured.
Keep in mind that those just starting in the photography business may only have experience shooting styled shoots. This can mean limited portfolio photos with real people. That doesn’t mean that they cannot compose photos that are visually interesting, though. If this is something you’re concerned about, definitely get in touch with them to speak more about their experiences.
Do they have a specific photography style?
We just discussed why photographers should show diversity in their portfolio. But they should not sacrifice cohesion!
The photographer should deliver focus and consistency in their professional portfolio and social media. Do they have moody and dark photos in their portfolio? What about the unsaturated vintage-style popular with barn weddings? And let’s not forget the light and airy pastel color scheme that runs throughout Pinterest.
Two photographers can photograph the same event and deliver completely different photos. From how they compose the shot to how they edit it in post-production, the end results should communicate one distinct style.
Do they have any prior education in photography?
Professional photographers don’t require formal education. But don’t you feel more confident in your abilities as a planner after earning your event planning certification? The certificate is a testament to your expertise and dedication to the craft, the same applies to photographers.
A great photographer learns real techniques before they venture off into developing their own style. If they have learned from real pros in the field, they’ll be able to adapt to meet any challenges that may come on the big day!
Do they know how to photograph events with extreme lighting changes?
For example, if a wedding ceremony is set up outdoors at mid-day, there will be harsh lights settling on the clients. Your photographer will have the unique challenge of adjusting their camera settings to deliver stunning photos. They shouldn’t look like black blobs in front of the bright sun!
On the other hand, your photographer must also know how to handle low-light settings. Whether you’re planning an indoor or outdoor event, the wedding reception will likely happen at night. When dusk hits, your photographer should have the right equipment/camera settings to take well-lit photos!
Ask them if they have a full-frame camera. Full-frame cameras work in all lighting conditions while delivering higher resolution images! The wrong equipment could mean grainy photos that can’t be redone!
Are they consistent with their professional communication?
You’ll want to connect with a professional you can rely on. As a new event planner, you may want to set up a styled shoot to expand your portfolio. When networking with other professionals in the events industry, a styled shoot is a great time to see what the professionals you’re working with are made of. If you meet a photographer who replies days later, is vague with details, and arrives at the shoot late, complete this project and walk away!
You want someone reliable and easy to work with. If they are trouble at a styled shoot, it’ll spell disaster when there is a paying client around!
Are they friendly and easy to be around?
If the photographer isn’t friendly, at best they’ll be awkward to work with. At worst, they may ruin the whole event for clients and all the other professionals.
Photographers should be approachable for intimate celebrations and parties. If they aren’t, guests may feel uncomfortable and be stiff for their photos. It’s their job to make people comfortable in front of the camera. Trust us, if they aren’t easy to be around, their resulting work will be disappointing.
Are they wrapped up in their “art” instead of the needs of their paying clients?
Event photographers capture the best moments of an event. Obviously, they want to produce great photos that they can add to their own portfolio. But it shouldn’t be their primary goal. The goal is to serve your mutual clients!
If they’re caught up in capturing the perfect shot, it could mean they’re missing candids of sweet moments. Some of the photos that emerge from an event aren’t staged. And focusing on their own portfolio needs definitely means they’ll miss out on these moments.
Do they have professional business insurance?
Every event professional needs a backup plan. They should have their own liability and equipment insurance to protect themselves. Beyond that, many venues require vendors and other events professionals to submit proof of insurance before they can work on-site.
Besides insurance and contract protection, the photographer should have their own backup plan to help them complete the event to the best of their ability. Anything can go wrong!
They should come prepared with extra lenses, camera batteries, and/or memory cards. Especially for milestone events, if something were to happen to the photographer’s equipment, they may miss those once-in-a-lifetime moments!
Do they have an event photography shot list?
If you’re networking with a photographer who is also getting started in the events business, they’ll likely have a written shot list to guide them through the event (just as you’ll be consulting your event planning course materials!)
They should consult the client about the types of shots they need and if there are any other specifications. Photographers shouldn’t be too concerned with overly creative, time-consuming shots! Shots that are really fussy to create could mean missing important moments elsewhere.
Not to mention that photographers just beginning their event careers may simply forget the shots they need to capture. This could be from the pressures of shooting an event for the first time or being overwhelmed by the number of moments they’re expected to capture at a large event.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in a comment!