San Diego Event Photography Grand Opening Event

San Diego Event photography Early morning signage during a Professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

I finally feel like a San Diego Event Photographer. Having photographed several events in San Diego over the last few months and photographed many events in Las Vegas since relocating my Event Photography Business to San Diego, this is the first event I professionally photographed for a new client who contacted me on my new website. That is a very exciting development for me and I hope to eventually do most of my event photography here in San Diego. I love Las Vegas and spent the last 15 years shooting thousands of events there, but the drive and flight to and from is starting to get long and a bit predictable.  I look forward to spending as much time in San Diego as possible.

Long lines of customers in front during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

I have worked hard to get my website towards the top of the page rankings for San Diego Event photographer and I am excited to say that we are now on the top of page 2 and inching forward. We can discuss how I did it in a later blog post because, in this post, I want to share my first new San Diego client.

Young Customer having fun during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

My client is a branding company that helps new businesses with branding and marketing projects and they contacted me through my San Diego Event photographer website and requested a quote. I provided an estimate based on the information provided and sent it out to them as soon as possible. In may seem obvious, but I feel it is important to respond as quickly as possible to estimate requests. Clients are busy and being able to get estimates quickly is beneficial for both you and them. I am always surprised to hear from my clients about how slow some photographers are with requests and quotes. Good communication and timely responses are key to getting and keeping good clients. After a few days and a few questions, they made it official and I reserved their event’s date and time.

Colorful vegetable and fruit displays during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

The location for the store’s grand opening was in San Ysidro, which is a small “suburb” south of San Diego and adjacent to the border with Tijuana, Mexico. Not being familiar with the area, I decided to take a quick trip down to the store’s location the day before to take a look and scout a bit. Scouting is something I do frequently when shooting in a new location. Since the shoot was to begin early the next morning, I didn’t want to show up and have to deal with any surprises. Scouting is an important part of my job and while I don’t charge extra I sometimes build it into the cost in my estimate if it is a unique location or further away from my studio. In this case, the location was only 15 minutes away and I wanted to test traffic, parking, (parking is a major consideration in San Diego) and the general layout of the store. I also wanted to see how the morning light might affect the shoot positively or negatively.

Professional event photographs of a grocery store grand opening in San Diego including images of the produce section.

Colorful melon display during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

I would be working from a shot list and was provided a timeline of events.  The client did a great job of spelling out what they needed and what their expectations were. We had an informational phone call a few days before the grand opening to discuss any details and one of the requests was for me to capture as much of the new store set up as possible before the doors were to open at 9 am. 

Colorful Craft Beer Display during a Professional event photographs of a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

I was scheduled to arrive at 8 am which would give me an hour to capture the pristine interior and various departments. Being an anxious person, I decided to arrive earlier than required so that I could shoot at my own pace, at least in the beginning. The parking lot was already full when I arrived and there was a ton of activity inside the store as last-minute details were taken care of.

Wine Section during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

I’ll mention that this was a well-organized event. My client was on hand to keep things organized and they did a great job. I ended up having plenty of time to capture the store set up beforehand and was ready and waiting for the eager rush of new customers when the doors opened.

Excited Cashiers getting last minute training during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

The new store owners were nervous, excited and very friendly and all the participants were a pleasure to work with. The customers were very appreciative to have a grocery store opening in their neighborhood and it was a fun event for everyone

Dignitary presentation during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

There was ample lighting inside the store with both fluorescent and large windows that provided plenty of daylight into the customer service areas. Because the daylight overpowered the fluorescents, there was no need to gel my flash so my setup was pretty basic and simple.

The moment a ribbon is cut during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

The sun was directly behind the store’s main entrance and all the events outside, like the ribbon-cutting and presentations, were protected from the harsh light of the sun by the building and it’s overhang. I used fill flash set on auto and exposure compensation at -2.5 for most everything and kept the camera set on manual since the lighting stayed consistent.

Happy owners and family members after a ribbon cutting during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

For this particular event, the challenge was to find interesting and pleasing angles and compositions to show the best features of the store to include plenty of branding and to capture the fun and excitement of the staff and customers.

Chamber of Commerce presentation to owners during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

I think I was able to do that. Giving myself a little extra time in the morning and then putting myself in the right places and at the right times increased my chances for success. Being prepared and anticipating the fun and excitement of a new store opening helped me create images that captured the overall atmosphere of this grand opening and exceeded my client’s expectations.

Happy customers and baggers during a Professional event photographed during a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

Group photo of owners and donation during a professional event photographed at a grocery store grand opening in San Diego

My client was happy, I was glad to be photographing an event in San Diego, and I can now share that experience with you. I look forward to many more going forward. Until next time…

About

Now based out of San Diego, John Morris has been a successful corporate event photographer in Las Vegas for the past 15 years. John also teaches and coaches photography and business to aspiring photographers.