As an event photographer, I call my clients sometime before the event. And I can recommend everyone else to do so too. Here’s why.
Usually, a client provides you with some kind of briefing. However, there are often some nuances missing in it. That’s why I often arrange a meeting or just call them up.
There are seven questions I usually ask them.
1. Where will you post the photos?
This can help me prepare for how to make the shots and also influence what type of event photography shots I need to make.
Is it for a sponsor report? Or are they going to post photos on social media? Because Instagram uses a different vertical aspect ratio. So I will have to crop the images to that size.
2. When will you need the photos?
The timing of delivery can be crucial. For some clients, it’s whenever; they just want the photos to promote next year’s edition.
For others, the timing can be critical. I had plenty of clients asking me for photos on the day itself. No problem, if I know in advance and can prepare for it. That’s why I ask this question nicely in advance.
3. What are the critical moments in the planning?
Usually, an event has, well, events. The time the doors open, when the food will be served, who speaks when and where. Sometimes multiple things are going on all at once.
It’s good to ask your client what the most crucial moments are. Just so all the priorities are straight. It can also turn out that some key moments happen synchronously. In that case, hiring a second shooter can be helpful.
4. Are there any non-planned moments that are important?
Most clients just send you the public planning of the event—the one they send with their invites or publish on the website.
But often, there are some secret moments. It’s suitable for the photographer to know about those, as they usually want them in photos too.
Moments like a prize giveaway. Or an employee who’s been in service for a long time and gets highlighted for a minute. All moments are never mentioned in the planning. So ask for them.
5. Is it okay to use speed lights?
Usually, the answer is yes, but I ask to be sure, and I find it polite to do so.
I don’t like using them; they make you too visible to capture candid moments. And in general, I’m not a big fan of the light.
But sometimes, it’s the only way to get the shots your client is paying you for. So, of course, you’ll have to then.
6. How will the food be served?
For me, if they serve food, there’s a difference between seated, non-seated, and buffets. If they bring small portions to people standing, it’s an entirely different way than when it’s people seated down.
I don’t like photographing people while they eat; it’s inelegant and intrusive. But you need some shots.
Often I follow the servers around while they hand out the plates. Or wait for someone to put food on their fork and talk to their neighbor. So not eating it, but having it there. It shows the food and the atmosphere and bypasses the ugly mouth open and fork-in-mouth photos.
7. Who are the VIPs?
It’s pretty straightforward. The VIPs give speeches. Sometimes it’s less prominent, like specific clients or sponsors that don’t get into the spotlight that day.
It’s best to ask in advance and at the event’s start. The organizer can then point out who’s important, which is more manageable than just getting a list of names that don’t tell you anything about how they look.
What questions would you ask more to your event photography clients? Let me know in the comments below!