Market your photography by doing event photography! Famed event photographer Charlie McDonald shares lots of ideas for fine art photographers, portrait, commercial, wedding, children and real estate photographers. Event photography done strategically can expose you to your exact clients. When people know, like and trust you, they are more likely to buy your art, hire you as their newborn photographer and more.
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Using Event Photography to Make Connections
with Charlie McDonald
“Event photography is a way to subtly work on new relationships and contacts.”
- Get involved with your local event-based magazines (Florida Weekly) and small publications.
-Talk to the publisher or editor about submitting your photos.
-Send an email – “If you need anything…” Don’t be pushy.
-Link to your website/portfolio. Always have a professional-looking website to show off your work. If you want to sell high-end pieces, make sure your website looks high-end!
-Trade event pictures for advertising – then advertise what you’re REALLY trying to sell – your art, family portraits, etc.
- Get to know people. Volunteer for local charities – until you’re established, then ask for payment.
- Charities are always having galas and fundraisers. Find ones that fit for you.
–Your goal is to get closer to like-minded individuals.
-Is your focus quirky, artistic Fine Art Photography? Get involved with your local Art Associations and museums.
-Are you more into landscapes and nature? Look into Nature Conservancies, Zoos and Botanical Gardens.
Being Seen and Building a Reputation
- In the beginning… take ANY opportunity to get your feet wet, including church events.
- Get out in the public eye. The more people see you, the more confidence they’ll have in you.
- Network with other photographers. They may be too busy to take on a job and refer it to you.
- Go for the SOFT sell. It takes A LOT of patience.
– Take great pictures. Do a great job. Get to know people. Make them happy.
– Eventually, they will come to you with the trust and confidence that you’ll do a great job.
– Give out business cards only when asked. Don’t be a salesman.
Event Photography Tips
- Consultation is very important.
- Always know your Point of Contact at the event- it may not be the person who hired you.
- Ask about the expectations.
- Ask for a shot list. Insist on some direction – you want to take the photos they expect.
-Discuss possibilities and time constraints.
-Manage unrealistic expectations. Is the shot list too long? Cut it back or suggest hiring a second photographer.
-Who are the VIP’s? Ask for a point person (volunteer) to show you who they are.
- Get there EARLY.
-It builds confidence with your employer.
-It allows you to get the lay of the land and check lighting conditions.
-Take a few artistic shots of the venue and decor, including the name of the charity or event, and post them on social media.
Include pics of celebrities in attendance.
*Don’t post pics of private citizens on your account.
- Dress for the event.
-Always look professional— never wear jeans or shorts.
-Black attire helps you to blend in and be discreet. Sometimes you need to be invisible.
-No loud colors or inappropriate styles – it’s not about you, it’s about the client.
- Be warm and friendly. Talk to people. Smile.
-Compliment people. Ask them questions “How did you become involved with this charity?”
– If you can make them feel good about themselves and be comfortable, you’ll get better pictures.
Taking Good Pictures
- You have to know lighting and how to use flash appropriately.
- Camera settings:
-f/5 or f/5.6 (f/8 for larger groups) for a little depth of field
-flash (diffused) at 1/16 power
- Posing (minor adjustments only due to time constraints)
-Turn shoulders toward each other/toward the camera.
-NEVER shoot women square to the camera! Always angle the body slightly.
-Arms around each other is not flattering for anyone.
-Don’t leave gaps between people in groups – encourage them to move closer together.
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Gear Recommendation of the Week
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