I get a huge variety of photography briefs for the events I photograph. Some briefs are just verbal, on the phone or even at the venue five minutes before the event itself! Some clients hire me because of work of mine they’ve seen and so they don’t want to give me a photography brief that restricts the way I shoot.
Ultimately there is no one way to brief a photographer, only the right way for that particular event.

What Will The Event Photographs Be Used For?

This is without doubt the most crucial part of an event photography brief. There is often a specific reason for the event photographs. Letting me know what that reason is will hugely increase the chances of you getting great photos. There are sometimes secondary reasons for the photos, so it’s good to let me know that too, but definitely rank the reasons in order of importance.

Asking For An Event Photography brief

When booking in an event to photograph, I always ask how the photos will be used. A recent example was a conference I photographed at Excel London. The client primarily wanted photos for social media, mainly Twitter and Instagram, but also to put on their own app feed during the conference. From this I knew I needed not only to get great photos that would work well on those platforms, but also get them to them quickly and in the format they needed to get them online easily.
A secondary reason for the event photos was a record of the conference that would be used in internal correspondence and newsletters as well as for their photo library. As a result, when I had got a good load of shots to them to use immediately, I was able to spend a bit of time documenting the event thoroughly.

A Good Event Photography Brief Can Sometimes Be No Brief At All

I often find that just knowing the way the event photographs will be used can be enough of a brief to get the photographs my client wants. Sometimes being over briefed can restrict the way I shoot. For example I might approach photographing the event from a completely different angle if I have the freedom to do that. This can mean much more interesting shots with loads of energy as I will be following the feel and atmosphere of the event. Whereas if I have a specific brief I will always follow that.
Often the confidence to let your photographer shoot the event the way they see it comes from having worked together regularly.
I’ve photographed the Effie Awards Judging Panel a few times. The photographs I’ve shot have changed hugely as the client felt more confident to let me photograph the event as I saw it. As a result, the feedback from not only the client, but also many people from the company I was shooting for has been excellent.

Conditions At The Event

As a London Event Photographer I’ve shot events at a huge range of venues across the city, such as the ExCel London, the Hilton Park Lane, and even the Houses of Parliament. So it’s likely I will have an idea of the conditions I will be shooting with at the venue where you are holding your event. However, it’s also possible you will have exhibitor stands or some kind of performance or stage that will be exclusive to your event. It’s a good idea to let me know anything like that so I can be totally prepared for your event. This can sometimes mean me bringing specialist equipment, or might mean I will ring the venue to check if I can have access to specific areas to have a particular view.

Where And When I’m Needed

At lots of events I photograph there will be times when there will be a particular shot needed or a specific person photographed. For instance if awards are being given or a speech. It’s very important I know the rough timings and location of those shots so I can prepare and be in the right place at the right time with the right photographic equipment.

What Not To Photograph

This is a slightly odd one, but comes up surprisingly regularly. Sometimes there are things that my client doesn’t want photographed. This can be particular people who have requested not to be included in any photos or more often it can be a part of the event that is just of no interest to the client. For instance I often spend time photographing audience reactions to awards or speeches. Occasionally a client will say that while those shots are great, they just have no use for them. As a result, I can use my time and energy photographing what they do want.

The Best Event Photography Brief

Hopefully the information above will be helpful when putting together a brief for me or another photographer at your event. There are many other factors at an event, but I’ve specifically kept it to what is relevant to me as a photographer for the reasons I made above about not over briefing. If you’re interested in reading more about my work you might like this page about my conference photography.
If you have any questions or want to talk to me about a particular event, please get in touch through my contact page or by email at neil@neilwalker.com or by phone on 020 3633 5512.