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How long should I have a photographer for at my event?

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If money was no object, you’d have a photographer before your first staff arrived, and they’d be the last person leaving the venue. But the fact is photography coverage at a corporate event has a purpose, and that is to generate value for the company.

This means each photograph either has to raise the company profile, or attract more paying guests in a future event.

Here are some factors to consider when hiring for your business event.

Business Conference

The opening and final days of any conference are the most important. You should start coverage 30-60min before opening time, so you can capture the venue having last minute touches applied. The photographer can also scout all the rooms and plan the day ahead.

You will get photographs of the first delegates arriving, of how they are welcomed by your staff. These are very useful for marketing collateral.

On the first day, consider having 2 photographers, so you can have multiple angles of the opening speeches, and the guests reactions.

If the middle days are repetitive (ie similar format just different topics) you may not need coverage for the whole time. Note that you won’t be able to ask a professional photographer for 1 hour here and 1 hour there with gaps in between, your day would generally need to be continuous.

The final day you may again consider having 2 photographers for the closing speeches.

Gala Event/Awards Night

Start coverage 30min before opening time, similar to above. You will want coverage until all the main proceedings are complete. Then as people relax and go to the dance floor, you may consider whether it’s important for you to capture the guests leaving. If not, you may end coverage 30-60min after.

Be sure to account for delays if your speakers are known for going over time! We’ve been to events where a 8min speech went for 40min!

Networking Event

These are quite important because the guests derive value not only from you the host, but from the other guests they meet. We recommend going 30min before opening time until closing time. Usually 1 photographer is sufficient for this.

Festivals/Expos/Outdoor Events

Depending on the scale of the event, and how many are expected to attend, you may want to have 2 or more photographers. Again start 30min before opening time, and have coverage until the last formal proceedings.

If it’s a multi-day event, or if there are no formal proceedings, then consider getting a few slices of coverage. You just need enough to show a sense of the event, and the different things that happened.

Internal Celebrations

These are quite different. If all guests are staff and their partners, then the photographs are not earning you money directly, but rather raising employee morale.

You don’t need the fancy stuff, so you can start coverage at the first speech. You can finish a little after formal proceedings are complete – after all you don’t want cameras to get in the way of staff really relaxing after a few drinks.