It is tempting for any business to want to cut costs as long as there is no downside to doing so. It makes sense to reduce outgoings and keep income stable in order to make more profit. But when businesses cut out the professionals that they rely upon to support them, and replace them with people who do not have the skill, experience or equipment is inevitable that you will lose something.

If you went to your dentist that you have trusted for years and were told that your dentistry could be cheaper if you have it carried out by an experienced student, what would you say? The truth is that you get what you pay for, and this is the case for photographers, just as it is for any service.

The value of a professional photographer

Cameras have come a long way since digital was introduced to the professional market in 2000. Now even a camera available for £400 or less can produce reasonable results as long as the person using it knows how it works. However, true quality does require more than the bottom-of-the-range camera with a poor quality lens. Most professional photographers will have cameras costing in excess of £1,000 and lenses that cost the same. This is before you take into account other essential features, including a proper flash.

When you employ a photographer for your business you are paying for someone who has invested in their skill, their equipment, their experience. They have learned how to do what you need them to without failure and with the minimum of fuss. This applies to everything you need a photographer to do; portraits, products, services, and events.

A photographer for your next event

Event photography has the added dimension that it is a constantly unfolding, shifting, moving beast. An event photographer has to be organised, have a schedule, to know who has to be photographed, when and where. Photographing an event is not just about wandering around with a camera, it requires planning and organisation. It additionally requires the ability to change between locations and the difficulties each may bring. You need to have the equipment to cope with people on a stage, people receiving awards, a speech by the chairman and staff on a team building exercise. A professional event photographer is also someone who is good with people so managing individuals and groups to get the best results will be part of their skill set.

Unless you have someone in your organisation who has the equipment (and backup equipment in the case something fails) and the skill and knowledge to use the equipment and the experience to manage many different situations then you would be sensible to pay for a professional.

You might be spending a large amount of money to stage your event, so to get the best value for that money you have to tell the world about it and that means stunning images, social media interaction and a person who can deliver that. When placed against the total cost of an event, the price of a photographer is negligible but the rewards can be great.

Therefore engage a professional. Ensure you get one that has all the credentials listed above. Plus if you need them to be able to Wi-Fi direct to your Dropbox account make sure they can and will. Check that they have the insurance necessary if something goes terribly wrong and back-up in the case of equipment or personnel problems. Then you have to do some work to make sure you get best value.

Nine tips to get more out of professional photography

  1. Know why you need the pictures, how and where are you going to use them. The why question is so important when employing a photographer, otherwise you might not get what you need. This takes forethought and planning.
  2. Create an event list. This will be similar to your running schedule but it is not the same for the photographer. Too often, photographers are given pages of useless information because no thought has gone into what the client has needed photographically. The photographer’s event list should be where and when they need to be ready to photograph. If the event site is large or spread over a complex then make sure each room or area is noted and provide a map
  3. The brief to the photographer should be a combination of the event list but also include a list of the people needed to be photographed at each location and why they have to be photographed. So someone giving a presentation to an audience is different from someone being presented with something and photographically needs to be approached differently
  4. The brief should also include the names and numbers of all the contacts the photographer needs
  5. In break-out times when there are general milling around at say coffee or drinks, deputise one of your staff members to point out the important people so that you do get the VIPs covered whether talking to each other or to staff in an informal way
  6. If the event also requires group photographs of departments or even the whole list of attendees make sure the photographer knows when these will happen and where. Bear in mind that 200 people inside in a hall are very difficult to photograph as one group if you expect most people to be seen. Group photographs often need much more planning than they are given. Think about how the photographer might be positioned so they can see everyone.
  7. If the event is going on for a day or longer, understand that the photographer might need some down time to recover their own batteries and those of their cameras. If you need images as the event progresses the photographer might need a secure space for their laptop and ancillary equipment.
  8. Communication is vital so although you will be very busy on the day leaving the photographer standing around awaiting your instructions is frustrating for everyone. Organise as much as you can before the event
  9. Allow the photographer to have input, they are experienced, have been to far more events than you have and can be a valuable asset so do listen to them.
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Areas of interest
Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.