I've had the pleasure of experiencing an evolving career. When I started in hospitality, I was a restaurant server. A strong drive and willingness (OK, maybe insistence?) to be the boss quickly promoted me to a manager. And from there, I started planning events. I've planned everything from corporate parties and leadership conferences to extravagant weddings. This work experience had made me detail oriented, customer focused and quick to react to potential fires. I'm very grateful to be able to bring these traits and more to my photography.
Photographers are often drawn to the business because they are artists and have found a way to make a living with their art. I think I'm a little different in this regard. I'm really a business person who happens to have artistic skill. This puts me at an advantage in the corporate world. I approach my corporate events as a meeting planner would.
My first question is how can I contribute to the success of this event? Obviously, creating great images is a must. I focus on images that show how fantastic the event was. I make sure my images show the event was well attended (avoiding empty seats and rooms), engaging (focusing on intense expressions) and fun (catching your guests in a handshake or a laugh). But the "how" is just as important as the "what." I know your speakers and guests need to focus on the task at hand. They do not need a distracting photographer running around the room. So I work hard to move slowly, stay out of sight lines and avoid obtrusive flash at all costs. I'm also sure to never hold up a tight timeline by being punctual and understanding any group photos required.
I am quick to document room set ups and details. Not only because these are an important part of your event, but also because it's sometimes difficult to remember what the centerpieces looked like last year or which furniture was on the stage. Clients find these little reminders very helpful!
Finally, I try to get photos of my meeting planners and their teams. These important people are ironically, often overlooked during an event. These people spend long hours together leading up to a big event. They're often quite close by the completion. It's great to have a photo with the people you've spent so much time with!
As a result of these practices, I'm thrilled to be able to work with several companies year after year. I've become such a familiar face at some events, employees have started stopping by to say hello at events. I love it when I'm called for a repeat event and told to just "do what I always do because that's perfect." I've started to feel like a fellow employee at amazing companies like Bright Horizons, Berkshire Partners, and TJX. Now, how do I get that TJX employee discount...