Conference Photography – A Tutorial

This is a tutorial on how to be a good conference photographer and by that I don’t just mean how to take good conference photographs! So, before I get into the nuts and bolts of how to do it, I think it’s important to say something about what sort of person you need to be in order to consider marketing yourself at this niche.

Like most photographers, a conference photographer must have a good eye for composition. Like any corporate event photographer, a conference photographer must be able to predict when will be the best moment to press the shutter.

There are however, a few more subtle skills and personality traits that are necessary if you truly want to become a great conference photographer.

British Astronaught Tim Peake giving a speech at UK Space Conference

Astronaut Tim Peake at UK Space Conference 2011

The first of these is curiosity and a taste for knowledge; I love photographing conferences because I always come away having learned something new:

  • At the Datacenter Dynamnics conference, I learned all about how server clusters are cooled and the challenges such an industry faces to become carbon neutral.
  • At the IABSE-IASS symposium, I learned all about the difficulty maintaining the Forth Road Bridge and I learned about the life and work of Heinz Isler – a pioneer of organic shapes and shell structures in architecture and engineering.
  • When I photographed the UK Space conference, I learned how much of a role British industry plays in space technology and I learned how robust the industry is even in the face of a recession – because space-tech is the future (I also saw some cool concept ideas for space tourism planes and met Tim Peake – an astronaut who is currently spending 6 months on the International Space Station!).

My point is; I take more than just a wage from each assignment. If I wasn’t the sort of person who loved learning new things – even things completely unrelated to my profession – then I would spend more time struggling to stay awake than focusing on getting the shot! After all, you usually find yourself in a warm, darkened room, more often than not with a less-than-engaging speaker, whose voice inevitably has a disturbingly soporific effect.

I often travel from Newcastle in the evening or early morning to a conference center in London or Birmingham and have to shoot all day having had little sleep and less to eat, so I rely on my natural inquisitiveness to keep me awake and interested. You must at all times be respectful – and snoring away in the front row won’t cut it!

 

You also have to be a patient person. This is a common trait amongst photographers in general but less so amongst event photographers. On a lot of shoots, the photographer is the most important person, even at weddings a good photographer often fills the role of master of ceremonies; directing the pace and setting the tone. This is never the case when it comes to conference photography.

Typically, there are a number of rooms where audiences gather to hear a speaker; and more often than not there are a number of speakers presenting on each topic. Your job as photographer is to capture a couple of good shots of each speaker in each room. This means you’ll be constantly nipping in and out and you’ll be acutely aware that any time spent photographing one speaker in one room, is time taken away from another speaker in one of the other rooms.

Because of this you need to be organized (hopefully you’ll have been given a good brief) and you also need to be patient. The reason I say this is because I find, in most cases, that when you enter the room with your conspicuous looking telephoto lens and hustle your way to a front row, the speaker will become nervous and will start to pay more attention to their cue-cards/laptop – or worse, the slideshow behind them – than to their audience.

This is anathema for you because it means you can only get shots of the speaker looking like they’re asleep at the podium or photographs of the back of their head.

So, you have to learn to put your camera down and listen to the speaker. Let your curiosity have the forefront, take some time to show interest – as a human being – in what’s being said and wait patiently for the speaker to get comfortable with your presence and relax before you pick up your camera.

This is hard to do when you know there are currently x-amount of speakers holding sessions in other rooms – and you’re supposed to get round them all in time – but it’s necessary if you want to maximize the amount of useable shots you get. As a bonus, shooting less means you’re distracting the audience less too.

This brings me to my final personality trait, which I’ve touched on already: respect. When photographing a conference, you have to bear in mind that no one is there to see you. Your role is important but it’s far more important that the handover between speakers is timely and efficient, that the delegates in the audience can see and hear without being distracted and that nobody feels your presence is a burden.

This means you have to try to blend into the background and stay out of people’s way – which is difficult to do when you’re sat at the front with a geet big camera and a bright flash! It means that you have to enter a room quietly during a natural lull in the speech and that you have to exit in the same manner.

It also means you don’t get to show frustration if it’s taking longer than you hoped to get a good shot of a certain speaker and that, if asked, you will leave immediately whether you got the shot or not (it does sometimes happen that a speaker will ask you not to photograph them. They tend to do it in a way that implies that you are vermin – but you just have to move on. Don’t take it personal). There’s no room for a photographer’s ego when it comes to photographing conferences.

 

Techniques:

Okay, now onto the nuts and bolts. I bet you thought we’d never make it here! In truth, this is the easy part but it’s no good knowing this if you haven’t got that other stuff down.

Framing: – Most conferences have branding somewhere or other. It’s usually on the front of the podium but sometimes it’s on a back board or a TV/banner in the background as well. It should go without saying that you need to get that in the shot: the events or PR company that hired you, want images that show the speaker was talking at their event. By all means get some close-ups of the speaker if they’re well known in their industry or are particularly interesting to watch but make sure you also have plenty good shots with the branding in.

This is okay occasionally:

Close-up of a speaker at the UK Space Conference 2011

The branding is lost in this close-up.

But this is better:

Speaker with branding at the IABSE-IASS conference 2011

Both sets of branding are captured without losing the speaker.

Sometimes the speaker will move away from the podium and spend more time at the front of the stage. In cases like this, you can wait until one of their slides (hopefully being shown in the background) accurately communicates what they’re talk is about and use that to substitute for the branding. Alternatively, you can experiment with some more dynamic framing angles (it’s always nice to give your client a broad choice of images, so this kind of experimenting is useful anyway).

Professer giving a talk on Heinz Isler at the IABSE-IASS Symposium

Here the slide clearly shows that the topic of conversation is Heinz Isler and his concrete shell structures.

 

Speaker takling about carbon footprints in the datacenter industry

The branding was so big in the background at this conference that I had to tilt the camera to fit it all in and create an interesting composition.

 

Eye Contact: – You’ll notice in all of these shots that you can see the speakers’ eyes: I’ve waited for them to look out at the audience before taking the shot. This is essential in order to make an engaging image but it’s easier said than done!

As I’ve already alluded to, most speakers are not performers and often they’re simply not used to presenting a conference. This can mean they spend an awful lot of time with their eyes pointed downward or turned toward their slide projections. For you, the photographer, this means you have to set your focus and your framing, then hold the camera in position (for what will feel like forever) and hit the shutter just as your target raises their eyes toward the audience.

Yes, you will find that your arms ache. Yes, you will find that even with the best preparation, the look is so fleeting that you get another blink shot or an unattractive expression. Yes, it’s tempting to switch the camera into continuous mode and machine-gun the speaker until you get a good shot. No, that’s really not a good idea – hence the patience I mentioned earlier!

Picture of speaker blinkng during a panel session at ICE 2012

Blink shots do happen. You just have to keep on shooting!

 

Conference speaker with back to audience

After 20mins looking at the back of a speaker’s head, you will be tempted to shoot as soon as you see the tips of their nose!

The problem is compounded when you’re shooting speakers on a panel. You may be focused on eye contact from the person speaking but what about others at the table? You have to keep an eye on the whole scene in order to get a shot with no-one blinking and with appropriate branding.

panel speakers at ICE 2012 - one blinking

This shot has no branding, poor framing and one of the subjects looks like he’s sleeping!

Sometimes you’re cornered into shots like these because the room sets are never laid out with the photographer in mind and because your subject(s) simply aren’t camera trained. However, it’s best to try to work around it and avoid clicking the shutter/setting the flash off until you have a good shot in the viewfinder.

Glasses: – The more observant amongst you will have noticed that a lot of these speakers wear glasses. That’s something to consider because you don’t want your flash to flare off their glasses and ruin all chance of eye contact. It’s all about angles; remember your GCSE physics? Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection? I must admit, I’ve never had any trouble with this because I use the Demb Flash Diffuser, which allows me to control the angle at which the light is bounced.

In fairness, it’s usually only a problem when you’re shooting smaller conferences and you don’t have much room to change your position. It’s simply a case of trial and error regarding the angle and power of your flash in order to fix the problem – needless to say, you should rarely ever need to point a naked flash directly at your subject.

 

Settings:

Typically, you’ll be using a mid/long range zoom to get the desired framing. I find that my Canon L-series 24-105mm IS f/4 lens is suitable for most occasions and the L-series 70-200mm IS f/2.8 comes out for the bigger (or darker) events, where there is more of a space between the stage set and the audience. Image stabilization lenses are important here, it’s definitely worth spending the extra money to get that extra few stops.

In most cases, you’ll be in a dimly lit room and, whilst the speaker is well lit by comparison, in reality, there’s not a lot of light to play with.

Because you’re using a telephoto, you need to keep the shutter speed reasonably high. This depends entirely on how steady you are (assisted, hopefully, by a good quality image stabilized lens). I find I need to shoot between 1/50th and 1/80th of a second to ensure decent sharpness at maximum zoom (depending on the lens).

Also, because the branding is usually on a different plain than the speaker; you need to choose the right aperture to get enough depth of field. Higher is better: f/8 would be ideal on my (full frame) camera but you can get away with f/5.6 on smaller sensor cameras. In fact, I often have to open up to as wide as f/5.0 to make best use of the available light (which is fine as long as the branding is still readable).

Sometimes the speaker is lit adequately enough to be able to avoid using flash (although, in these cases, you’ll need to choose a faster shutter speed to freeze the action) and if that is the case, then go with it – the flash is a distraction best avoided when possible. Most of the time, however, you will need to ping in a little bit of flash, even if it’s just to help the camera with the white balance (I usually leave it on auto white balance unless there is a really strong colour cast to the light).

I try to keep the flash power as low as possible – usually 1/8 +/- a few EV increments – and use the Demb attachment to bounce the light toward the subject. I know many photographers who use a Stofen diffuser, angle the flash at about 45 degrees and leave it on E-TTL (automatic) mode, using the EV sliders when necessary. Me, I’m a control freak and I like to know how the shot is going to turn out before I press the shutter – but it’s not really a requirement, especially if you have a good digital LCD screen on your camera, like the one on the 5D MkII, so just play around and find out what works best for you.

I don’t like to recommend using high ISO but in this case, the aperture and shutter speeds you’re likely to be using, combined with the lighting, usually means you have no choice. My Canon 5D MKII has great high ISO performance and I tend to shoot between ISO 800-1000.

Obviously, these settings are subject to your tastes – and the available light – but as a good starting point, you’re looking at an aperture of f/5.6, shutter at 1/80th, flash at 1/8th and ISO at 800.

 

Daylight: – Sometimes you’ll find yourself shooting a smaller conference or a break-out session in a room with large windows and lots of natural light. This is great because you can bring your ISO down and turn off your flash but often a side effect is that the speakers’ slide projections are bleached out in your shot. It doesn’t matter so much if your speaker is standing near some good branding but if you have a ‘wanderer’, then try upping your shutter speed to capture the slides and adding a ping of flash, carefully directed at your subject, to even the exposure.

Speaker adressing roome at IABSE-IASS Symposium

We want to avoid this (shot at standard settings ISO1000)

 

Speaker using slides at IABSE-IASS conference

And aim more for this (shot at ISO500 and a slightly faster shutter speed)

Getting the whole room: – If the room is busy, i.e. the seats are full, then your client will want pictures to that effect. A good opportunity to do this is to wait for the end of a speech and get a shot of everyone clapping and smiling. These are always appreciated but the downside is, there’s usually no branding at the back of the room, so when you shoot into the crowd it could be any crowd anywhere!

Photograph of conference delegates clapping after speech.

Your client will appreciate shots of full audiences clapping (and preferably smiling) but where’s the branding?!

For this reason, it’s always a good idea to get some shots from the back of the room as well. Switch to a wide lens (I use the Canon L 17-40mm f/4), find a spare chair to stand on so you can get a good overview, remove any diffusers from your flash and crank the power up to 1/2 (or higher if it’s a particularly big/dark room) and angle it at around 45 degrees, aiming to bounce it off the ceiling and down over the crowd.

This takes a bit of practice. You’re basically using the ceiling as a diffuser but you don’t want to get a bright ceiling in the shot as it will distract attention away from everything else. So you need to get up high, angle the flash to the ceiling and the camera down toward the room. Remember to get the stage and the branding in shot and preferably in focus too!

Your next challenge is avoiding hotspots; where the light hasn’t diffused evenly and is brighter at the front of the shot, or where the light is bouncing off bald heads in the audience and attracting attention to the wrong area of the image.

It’s largely a matter of playing with the angle and strength of your flash, although I do find that the Demb flip-it helps because I can fit it to the front of the flash and use it to flag the light, making sure I don’t cast any harsh shadows or create any hotspots.

A full house at the UK Space conference

This shot suffers from too much ceiling, hot spots and the stage is too small to get the branding.

 

Conference Photography | audience at UK Space conference

This is slightly better but the sloping nature of the ceiling means I should probably have shot from further down the stairs.

 

Shot of speaker addressing room at IABSE-IASS conference

This is cleaner but the bright white ceiling is distracting and will need to be cropped out.

 

Shot of crowd in conference at WTM 2011

This is what we’re aiming for: the flash is evenly diffused and the ceiling is hidden (mostly).

What should I charge?

I generally advocate charging by the image or by the project when it comes to photography. Charging by the hour turns you into a wage slave and simply doesn’t accurately reflect the value of the image to the client, nor take into account what sort of usage license you want to permit.

Corporate event photography, however, is a little different. You’re not creating art, the images are virtually useless to anyone other than the client and conference organisers have enough stress on their plate without having to deal with an anally retentive photographer; so make it easy for them to hire you by giving them day rates, half-day rates and standard travel/accomodation charges.

I won’t go into what your day rate etc should be for this type of work but bear in mind that you’ll often be expected to be there for more than 8hrs a day and that you will have a ton of editing to do afterwards (even if your technique is spot on, there’s still hundreds, perhaps thousands, of images to sort through, crop and colour correct when you get home), so don’t undervalue yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.

 

Conclusion:

So, that covers the basics of conference photography. In summary, it’s a fairly simple task of choosing the right framing to include branding and then waiting for the speaker to raise their eyes toward the audience. However, you will be expected to shoot a bunch of different rooms and different speakers simultaneously, you’ll find yourself photographing in mixed lighting conditions, there’ll be informal ‘breakout sessions’ in smaller rooms that you’ll need to cover too and you need to provide a range of different angles and viewpoints, so that your client has a choice of images for different uses.

You’ll need to do all of this while remaining discreet, patient and alert, so it takes a certain personality type to really enjoy and excel at conference photography.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the comment box below. I realise I’ve used more bad example photographs than good ones, so I’ll leave you with a few more good shots to check your results against. And remember, if you know someone who is looking for a professional conference photographer, then please mention me or have them contact me, especially if it’s an event located in Newcastle or the North East where I’m based (although I do frequently travel to London, Manchester and Birmingham too).

Fiona Jeffery addresses delgates at WTM 2011 opening conference.James Cracknell OBE giving an inspiring speech at World Travel Market 2011Conference Photography | Newcastle | UK Space Conference 2011IABSE-IASS symposium 2011 | Subtle Sensor Photography | Newcastle Conference PhotographerConference Photographer in Newcaslte | IABSE-IASS symposium, QEII, London

 

If you found this tutorial helpful, please 

  🙂

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About theSubtleSensor

I am a freelance photographer based in newcastle upon Tyne and specialising in Corporate Events, Architectural and Model Portfolio photography. Please have a look around my website – I even provide links to other freelance professional Newcastle photographers.

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17 Responses to Conference Photography – A Tutorial

  1. Mark says:

    Great Article, I enjoyed it a lot.
    I recently did a conference photoshoot myself in Antwerp, Belgium, so I can relate to the advice you give here. Anyway, the client was very happy with the results. However they did gave a pointer on … name plates in front of the speakers. The setting was in a dark meeting room with poor lighting. The speakers were all seated and had name plates in front of them. I focused on the different speakers with my canon 70-200 at f2.8 manual mode and did use bounce flash.
    This resulted in good images of the speaker, but left the name plates pretty unsharp. Do you have any advice on how to avoid this? I guess I could go to f5.6, but in a dark room… i’m not so sure.
    Thx again for the great article.

    • Hi,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

      I know what you mean about the name plates. Sometimes it’s better to stand further away and set you zoom to the maximum length (200mm) as this has the effect of ‘flattening’ elements in the image, meaning the nameplate will seem less unsharp.

      To be totally honest though, it’s pretty difficult to get both the speaker and the nameplate in focus. Moving further away and stopping down your aperture both help but they both mean your sensor is receiving less light from the subject and you have to do something to compensate (such as boost the flash or the ISO).

      I tend to find the best compromise, then add contrast and clarity to the image (or just the nameplate) in post.

      Hope that helps,

      Dan

  2. Pete says:

    Hi Daniel,

    A really good article. I’ve just read this and the nightclub photography post.

    I have a couple of questions if you could spare a few minutes to answer please?
    For a full day exhibition/conference (7-8hrs), on average how many edited images would you give the client? and do you just give them unlimited usage rights to save hassle or do you keep it to a year/2 media? and charge extra for more usage?

    I recently did an exhibition/conference which was 2 full days work. I gave the client around 175 images from day one and about 80 from day two. So around 250 for the two days. The reason i gave less from the second day was quite a lot of photos from the first day were of the exhibition stands and it would basically be the same shots. I made sure they had plenty of varied shots of each stand as well as crowds and any guest speakers.

    I charged £600 for the two days and gave unlimited usage. I’m quite new to conferences but reading your blog post was helpful because it pointed out what I did right…..and wrong. A lot of it was being prepared, like you said.
    Sometimes I felt like I should be constantly taking photos so the client knows I’m working and not standing around. Towards the end I knew what shots I needed and knew when I to take them rather than wandering around constantly firing off shots.

    cheers

    • Hi Pete,

      I see you’re from near my home-town of Newcastle (that’s right, I Facebook-stalked you) a local lad…. direct competition for me… shooting conferences on my turf and now you want advice too?! The cheek of it! =D)

      At least you’re not drastically undercharging – that would have made me cry a little.

      Ha ha, anyway, to answer your questions – the number of shots a client gets varies with every brief. I don’t go in there thinking ‘I need to come out with 300 shots today, or I need to be shooting 2 shots a minute in case the client checks the time stamps (I’ve never had that happen, don’t worry), I go in there thinking I need to get x amount of really great shots for each different section of the brief and y amount of great shots for each speaker highlighted.

      I’ll let you in to a big secret: The key to providing a good service for conference photography (in Newcastle, London or otherwise) is how you organise the files on the disc you submit. Any competent photographer can make usable pictures and send them to a client but if you can find a way to structure the files so the client can find what they’re looking for easily, then it doesn’t matter if you shoot 200 or 2000 pictures.

      If you’re not into organising your pictures, then definitely don’t shoot 2000 pictures! Clients hate trawling through images looking for good ones and the more they have to look at, the more they start to look the same!

      Now, you asked how many on average, so even though I’ve said it varies, I suppose I could give a rough benchmark figure. I charge a little more per day than you and I tend to deliver about 200 – 300 pictures per day depending on the size of the event. I’m looking to get 5 or 6 great pictures of the important speakers (which means there’ll be other, not so great ones included just in case my client’s taste differs), 3 or 4 good shots of other speakers and then – listen up because this part is important and I deliberately didn’t include it in the tutorial so as not to give my competition a head start – then I take **as many pictures as possible *** in the exhibition area. As long as you’re not shooting so much that you have no batteries to use for the speakers of course!

      The reason for this is because those organisations with stands in the exhibition area are the same people who sponsored and funded the event. The client will want to have images they can publish showing that their delegates enjoyed interacting with the exhibitors and the exhibitors did a lot of business. They’ll use those pictures to (re)secure sponsors and exhibitors next year. It’s not much fun photographing the exhibition but that’s where the money is, so that’s where you have to be.

      I could write a whole other tutorial about the nuances of exhibition photography – and maybe I will someday – but know this, even if it feels like you’re producing ‘basically the same shots’ you don’t know which one is going to make the client’s eyes light up, you should know who the major sponsors are (and if you don’t, the size of their stand is usually a good indication!) but generally, you don’t know which of the delegates are VIP’s and which set of interactions will be ideal for whatever the client has in mind for your pictures.

      So, while 200 – 300 pictures a day is almost definitely too much if you lump everything into one folder, I find that a client appreciates the extra work if you can organise those shots in a meaningful way that makes it easy for them to find what they need and use it.

      Having said all that, I understand the nagging sensation that you should be constantly taking pictures all the time but it sounds like you’re confident enough to know when you’ve got what you need – and that’s important.

      Your question about usage rights is a great one, I’m glad you asked (you don’t see that kind of question on the nightclub tutorial!). Most conferences are annual affairs, and most of the imagery you’re producing quite naturally has a short shelf life. Having said that, I never sign over all rights. My standard agreement states that I retain copyright and the client has a two year usage licence. Due to the naturally short shelf life (and the lack of any real creativity necessary to produce the shots) conference clients are the only ones that I don’t make a point of checking up on after two years – as long as they’re still hiring me every year, lol!

      I hope that helped – but not too much, I need to be photographing more conferences in Newcastle, it’s tiring going down to Birmingham and London all the time!

      Dan

  3. Pete says:

    Spot on! I appreciate the honest answer even though I could be considered your competition 😉
    The fact that you answered with good feedback to help a fellow photographer is really refreshing to see. If i’m busy on any work I get I’d gladly pass your details on to them. I noticed you work together with a few other photographers and I’ve read a couple of the blogs you guys do and it’s nice to see people helping each other out. Photography tends to be really competitive, or what I’ve seen in my short time doing it anyways!!

    The advice on how to send the files to the client is really good. I think that’s what I was more concerned about. Sending hundreds of images in a folder which would get boring to look through. If I can stick them in different folders for them for different speakers etc then this would make it a hell of a lot easier.

    I’ve only did the one conference and it’s work I get through a PR agency I work with. I haven’t really did any promotion and I don’t know if it’s what I’m going to be doing all the time but it was quite a good couple of days. I’m kind of at a point where I don’t know which road I’m gonna go down. I’ll probably end up doing something totally different to what I’d planned but hopefully it’s something I enjoy.

    Thanks

    Pete

    • Cheers =D) My mission statement when it comes to business is simple; don’t be a dick!

      The other guys in the FNP collective are both really sound, friendly guys and we all want to keep the quality bar high!

      Personally I believe competition in any field is a good thing for that field (even if I personally ‘lose’), so I’m happy to answer any questions.

      Good luck for the future and Merry Christmas!

      Dan

  4. conference centre melbourne says:

    I enjoy reading through a post that can make people think.

    Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  5. Tara says:

    This is one of the few ACTUALLY good articles I could find on this event photography. Thank you so much for the advice – all of us amateurs can learn from your expertise!

  6. Kellie says:

    I think this is among the most important info for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark
    on some general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really great
    : D. Good job, cheers

  7. Anthony says:

    For someone looking to start out, network and practice without necessarily charging standard professional fees, can you talk about basic equipment requirements?

    • I can briefly say that you need a camera body capable of shooting great quality images at high ISO – because you’re going to be working in rooms dimly lit by artificial lighting and because often they prefer you not to use flash.

      You’re gonna need a long lens to get speakers at the podium. 70-200mm or a 300mm, your call. Tou’re also going to need a wide lens (17-40, 12-24, or 10-20mm) to capture the full room set if you get a talk where the re’s a large audience. And you’re going to need a mid range zoom (I use a 24-70mm) for photographing the inevitable exhibition and networking stuff that appears on any conference brief. Although you’re sometimes required not to use flash, it still helps to have one for when you need it.

      You’d also be wise to invest in a set of light step ladders to aid you in shooting crowds at the exhibition or taking shots from the back of the room. A tripod might come in handy too, although I virtually never use one.

      I hope that’s what you were looking for.

      Dan

  8. Sam says:

    Hi Dan,
    I came here by way of your nightclub tutorial. I got offered some work shooting at local clubs ( near Sydney, Australia) and the first night didn’t go too well. After that I found your tutorial and my work improved immediately. There’s lots of room for improvement, but the clients happy and I’ve gotten shots I’m proud of.

    Thank you.

    I’m keen to know if you have any tips for approaching prospective clients? My partner works in an area that means we attend conferences overseas about twice a year, and he has a few locally too. if there was a chance I could do some work there I’d feel less like a superfluous freeloader.

    I haven’t done corporate work in this area before, mostly it’s been small gallery openings and community events ( like comic book and writers festivals ) It’s all just small stuff that giving me experience while I study part time. So it’ll be a while before I try to work at one of the conferences. ( like a year or to) I’d need a fair bit of specific expernce before I felt confident, but I’d like to start working towards that.

    Do you have an suggestions about getting started? Like where I could start finding a small events that would give the right kind of look, and how to offer your services.

    Cheers
    Sam

    • Hi Sam,

      I apologise for taking so long to reply.

      What I’d suggest you do to gain experience is try your local college or university. When they have events on, they usually get students to cover it for free, so you could ask to do the same to build your portfolio.

      Alternatively, when you find yourself at a conference, you could approach the photog there and offer to help out on future events.

      When you’re ready to start booking jobs, look for conference organisers or event planners to approach (either by searching locally, or finding out who runs the conferences you already attend. Conferences are rarely organised in house, they’re almost always done by an events company – and it’s these guys who hire the photographer, so start networking with them.

      It’s not an easy field to get into though, usually the events company have preferred photographers and are loyal to them. In this case, again, it might be worth approaching the photographer, who may be looking to share the workload.

      Dan

  9. This was priceless, thank you! Next week I start to shoot a neurosurgery international conference and it will by my first experience in shooting a conference. I am nervous a bit, but I find it very motivating! As we can see, shooting a conference is not so easy as it looks like. After your article, I think I will buy a monopod.
    Thanks for brilliant advices!

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