Five Things I Love About Event Photography
I am a Las Vegas Event Photographer and now a San Diego Event Photographer as well. When people ask me what I photograph, and I say events, it’s usually followed by a puzzled look. I get it. Corporate event photography can encompass so many things depending and where you have set up your business. For me, being an event photographer in Las Vegas and now being San Diego based, event photography is trade shows and conventions, corporate outings and concerts. Sometimes it’s a sporting event or an awards ceremony. Occasionally, grand openings sneak their way into my schedule, as well as headshots, some architecture and even fashion and product work. On the surface, event photography may not seem all that exciting, or glamorous, but in my 15 years of experience, as a Corporate event photographer, I can emphatically say that that perception is simply not true! Well, to be honest, glamorous is going a bit far, but fun, exciting, challenging, interesting, and creative are all descriptions I can vouch for. Don’t get me wrong, event work is not easy. Long hours, limited breaks, non-stop shooting, constant challenges and unexpected changes, equipment failure, frantic deadlines, lofty expectations and sometimes boring sessions (Yes, I said it. Sometimes boring) means this line of work is not for the faint of heart. I think as event photographers we probably face the same struggles as in any other form of photography but what some may not realize is that event work is also creative and interesting and pushes the limits of creative photographers as well as technical ones. So here, in no particular order and without further ado, are five things I love about Las Vegas event photography and San Diego corporate event photography!
Variety. Event photography is Never the Same Thing Twice.
Commercial Photography, Sports Photography, Product Photography, Professional Headshots, Magazine Covers, Newsletters and Dailies, Concerts, Celebrities as well as Grip and Grins, Red Carpet Events, Breakout Sessions and Cocktail Hours I have shot it all. Some are obviously more exciting than others, but all have their unique and specific challenges as well as creative opportunities and perks. As a Las Vegas Event Photographer, and a San Diego Event Photographer, I am exposed to many different types of requests, requirements, specifications, and creative directions, and I feel comfortable in almost any photographic situation. Is every job different? No. In fact, many jobs are very much the same, same setup, same venue, same format, same final outcome but there is always something unique about a shoot, a client, a final output or usage that gives each job its own creative or technical footprint. Having the experience of shooting similar events, means I can focus more on creative photography and less on the actual execution. This is critical because I can provide consistent, high-level results which are an important byproduct of repetition and experience. Back to variety, which is one of the most important reasons I love event photography, there is enough variety, twists, exceptions, and variables, that each job has to be approached as a separate entity that keeps them all fun, exciting and challenging.
Event Photography is Technically Challenging.
If you take pride in exceptional work and want to offer professional quality, event photography can be extremely challenging for a photographer from a technical standpoint. Let’s take just one aspect of event photography and expand on that. Photography is all about light and event photography is no different. There are challenging lighting conditions in almost every job I shoot and being able to problem-solve and overcome those challenges is the core of the job. From low light to no light, bright lights, stage lights, colored lights, and balanced light. In any given event photography, I may encounter one, many or all the above lighting environments in a single 4-hour shoot. Trust me, even with a formal education in commercial and studio lighting, this fact keeps me on my toes. It also means I get to stretch my lighting chops and technical skills to the limit, and I find this aspect both rewarding and exciting. Don’t get me wrong, walking into a giant hall with poor lighting, (or no lighting) is not for the timid and while I always hope for beautiful lighting, and do what I can pre-shoot to insure success, at the end of the day, there is an immense amount of satisfaction in solving a tough lighting problem on the fly, resulting in professionally produced work that I can be proud of and that makes my customers happy.
Event Photography Will Teach You About a Lot of Different Things.
I have learned an immense amount of information about companies and industries that I never even knew existed. It’s almost like insider trading, but that’s illegal so let’s just say you can learn some interesting and valuable information working conventions and business summits. Besides what Las Vegas event photography as taught me about photography, I have received a lifetime of informative seminars, breakout sessions and marketing advice as well as political insight, motivational inspirations, and business strategies. It is important to point out that I am usually actively shooting so sometimes the things I learn are in bits and pieces, but by the process of informative osmosis (is that a thing?) it does add up over time. Working some of the bigger shows and conventions I get to see, touch, feel and be awed by some of the latest intel and gadgets in the technology and information spaces. Demonstrations, informative displays, compelling storytelling, presentations, speeches, and motivational lessons have all seeped into my consciousness while I watch, listen, predict and shoot. I have even made some political choices after listening to and spending time with politicians and behind the scene power brokers, whether as an active participant, or a fly on the wall observer and photojournalist. Because of my time as a Las Vegas event photography, I am guilty of occasionally spouting some random piece of knowledge or info in response to a question from friends or family. Inevitably they will ask where I got that from? My response? I must have heard it somewhere, I guess.
Event Photography Has Introduced Me to Many Really Interesting People.
I have met some really interesting people as a San Diego Event Photographer and a Las Vegas Corporate Photographer. I’m not going to actually do any name dropping, (though I want to)but I did sit on the edge of a bed in one of Caesar’s Palaces top floor luxury suites once, with a Superbowl and Hall of Fame quarterback watching the 6th game of the NBA finals for the entirety of the second half while waiting for our clients and their guests to show up for a grip and grins session. (just sayin’) I also spent a whole day photographing one of my childhood crushes for an Australian health magazine in various locations and was taken by this person’s humor, honesty, and grace. Ex-Presidents, congressman, Mayors, CEOs of major corporations, countless celebrities, hardworking planners, production people, crew and support staff. People from around the world, nationalities, locals and other vendors. I have made many friends and have close working relationships with so many hard-working people in the event business that many of them feel like family to me. An important and often overlooked aspect of Las Vegas event photography is your ability to work with all kinds of professions and personalities and under extreme pressure. Understanding what it means to be a professional and being willing to check your ego at the door are critical to your success. This also means knowing when to take control of your shoot, setting realistic expectations, and ensuring you meet deadlines, respect your subjects time and getting the shot when it is all said and done. Okay, I’m going to drop just one name, Jay Leno! One of the nicest, warmest celebrities I have ever worked with. He just gets it!
Event Photography is Fast Paced and Exciting.
There is never a boring event. They are fast-paced, stressful, organized down to the minute masterpieces when done right. These kinds of events are fun, exciting, exhilarating, exhausting and many times seem like more fun than work when combined with reasons 1-4 for why I love event photography. For the events that are less than masterpieces? Challenging, stressful, taxing, but even they come with an incredible sense of accomplishment when everything somehow comes together despite the hiccups. I mentioned that events are stressful. However, there times when they are not. Everything is flowing, I am feeling confident and comfortable with my gear, nothing breaks, everything works, the client is professional and courteous, the guests are polite and attentive, and everyone is experienced and knows how to do their job. My job as a Las Vegas event photographer, even under these perfect conditions may not be as stressful, but there is still an exciting tension, a buzz in the crowd, and eagerness in the client as they sense good things are happening and I can really focus on the creative and artistic. Yes, events can be very creative! As much as I like the challenging and technically unexpected, I also appreciate and enjoy the smoothness and wizardry of organizational perfection. Always fast-paced, I find event photography exciting and rewarding in all its manifestations.
So, there you have it. Five things I love about San Diego event photography and Las Vegas event photography. I hope I was able to communicate some of the reasons I have chosen Corporate event photography and maybe shared some aspects of event photography that you might not have been aware of. Until next time……