Having spent the last 12 years photographing conferences, allow me to share some of the best practice I have witnessed and captured.
I’m Jas Sansi and this is my Conference Class from the perspective of a Photographer.
- Have a panel that reflects the audience
It’s not only diversity of colour or gender the world needs, its diversity of ideas and thoughts. And no single colour or gender has a monopoly on this.
Look at your conference panel, will the audience roll their eyes or sit up and listen. Be brave, go wider.
2. Get a Zebra
Remember your sponsors; Weave their brand into the Conference theme. If the Sponsor’s logo is a Zebra, get a Zebra. Doesn’t have to be a real one.
3. Go outside your comfort zone
A Conference Venue is the safest bet for a Conference but cities are packed with different options to host your event. Nightclubs, Museums, Libraries are just a few ideas. Think outside of the box.
4. Product Placement
Whatever your product, have it on display at your Conference. Or change it into a work of art and display that instead. Be proud.
5. Paint the venue
Flood your conference with your corporate colours. Painting with light is easier than with paint.
6. Host a seminar on a canal boat
Take delegates outside. If you’re near a canal, organise a canal boat. Birmingham has more canals and conferences than Venice.
7. Cash in on local history
Everywhere is famous for something. Utilise local history in Conference Marketing.
8. Reduce travel
Hosting a conference in a hotel removes the travel time back and forth to the venue.
Having the key note speaker on site and checked into a room ahead of their slot, is one less thing to worry about.
9. Cut the Coat
Cities have distinct districts, if you’re an edgy start up creative, host your conference in an edgy creative part of town.
10. Always look at the camera
When taking a selfie, always look at the mobile phone not the photographer taking a picture of the selfie being taken.
11. Look out for flashers
Remind photographers not to use flash during a speech. It distracts the speaker as well as the audience.
12. The Money Shot
Always capture a Press Release image that summaries the conference.
13. Trust Your Gut Instinct
If you believe the Press Release image may not work, have a back up one just in case.
14. Crowd Control
If everyone wants to be in the picture, take control even if there are VIPs in the shot. They will appreciate it.
15. Have Your Cake
Coffee breaks allow networking and refreshment. Everyone loves cake but ensure you account for Gluten Free and other dietary requirements. It demonstrates you are a details person.
16. Time waits for no one
Panel speakers are often rushing from one seminar to the next. If you want a key image after the speeches, let the panellists know before they engage in one to ones with the audience.
If you have famous celebrities, plan the photo call ahead of schedule. If fans are also in attendance, understand that you may have to react to events rather than trying to keep to a script.
18. Take a Walk
Stepping outside of the conference space can sometimes pay dividends if you are looking for an interesting shot.
Encouraging good mental health is a win win.
Offering an early morning Yoga session to conference delegates communicates you have their best interests at heart.
20. Take a lead
One of the longest queues, I have ever seen at a Conference breakout session was the opportunity to meet a number of Guide Dogs.
The positive effect they had on delegates was incredible.
21. Blue Sky Thinking
If skies are clear, use outside space for photo calls. Look out for delegates wearing reactor light spectacles though.
22. The Shadows
Light is one of the most important ingredients of a successful Conference. As a photographer, it provides so many opportunities to capture the event.
23. Did I mention cake?
24. Tap into a Major Conference
This is a clever idea. If you are not part of a conference but still want to engage with those attending the conference, organise a networking lunch nearby and invite the individuals you wish to speak to.
25. Networking Breakfast
A networking breakfast is an effective way to welcome delegates and create a holding space during registration.
26. Welcome Tour
Organising a walking tour of the host city the night before Conference is a great welcome to the event.
27. The Games People Play
Have engaging games on Conference stands to draw people in. A Scoreboard with a Conference End prize will introduce a level of competition keeping your brand in the minds of delegates.
Nudge delegates to engage with your social media platforms by offering an incentive on your Conference stands.
29. Innovate Everything
Everything can be re-invented. People may distrust change but they love innovation. Full English Breakfast on a stick anyone?
Ensure you have a Hashtag e.g. #TPC2019. Don’t have more than one. And check the hashtag before you announce it. And then announce it. Keep mentioning it throughout conference.
Encourage all delegates to use it across all Social Media channels before, during and after Conference.
31. Thanks for Nothing
Remember to thank everyone; Sponsors, Delegates, The Venue, Conference Organisers, everyone. It ends a Conference on a uplifting note. And it costs nothing.
I think that’s enough to be going on with. Thank you for reading this blog.
Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham specialising in Conference and Event Photography and Film.
@jassansi 07930 837 505 email@example.com