So, who needs a shot list? Anyone who has a creative vision and needs to offer creative direction to hired photographers and videographers who will be on-site at your event. This post will focus on how to build your photography shot list. You can do it, it’s easy, Mmmkay!
The shot list serves as a checklist for your event photographer. It’s a list of all the essential imagery that you and/or your client needs that you would like the photographer to capture. It’s a method to avoid miscommunications by clearly setting your expectations for the final images you want to receive.
A Simple Shot List Includes:
1. Date +Time Of Event
2. Location + Address
3. Special Instructions
4. On-Site Contact Information
5. List Of Required Shots W/ Or Without Examples
You Can Choose To Add Even More Information Like:
6. List Of Shots To Avoid
7. How Photos Will Be Used
8. How Many Final Photos Of Each Scenario You Are Expecting (x3, x5, x10, Etc.)
9. Special Attendees Names W/or Without Headshots
10. Run Of Show
A Professional Event Photographer Will Intuitively Know To Photograph Close-Up, Medium + Wide Shots At Multiple Angles Of All Aspects Of Your Event, Including:
* Before/ After Interior + Exterior Atmosphere + Venue Shots
* All Branding Including Any Sponsors + Vendors
* Small + large Details Of The Footprint Or Event Space
* Candids + Posed Shots Of Happy Attendees Interacting With Each Other Or Any Displays
* Anyone W/ A Microphone Or On A Platform Such As Emcees, Dj’s, Speakers, Award + Raffle Winners, Etc.
*Celebrities, VIP’s, Special Guest, Influencers, etc.
However, There Is A Plethora Of Information Your Event Photographer Will Still Need To Know, Like:
* How To Identify Your Special Guest
* Which Scenarios You Will Need The Most Images Of + For What Usage
*Timeline Of Events Set To Take Place
*Where Attendees Will Be Entering/ Exiting The Event
*If Any Areas Of The Space Are Off-Limits
*Whether Or Not Using Flash Photography Is Allowed …
Your shot list allows the photographer to be informed and have a quick sheet to glace at throughout the event to stay on track with grabbing all of your requested shots. Once the photographer captures all the essential desired shots, it allows them more time to get extra creative in getting unique shots that will further tell the story of your event.
It’s ideal to deliver your shot list to your event photographer as soon as possible, especially if you have not had the chance to verbally communicate the final image objectives or layout of the event space due to the information not being finalized. While every professional photographer has an arsenal of equipment, quickly receiving the shot list allows them to plan for having the appropriate gear such as lenses and lighting to appropriately shoot the unique details of your event. You will want to give the photographer enough time to rent any necessary additional equipment if needed.
Your shot list should be visually appealing and easy to read, so it can quickly be glanced at by the photographer on a smartphone. Keep in mind, along with providing the shot list, it’s ideal to have a quick verbal conversation beforehand with the photographer to review the list. If your event is larger scale and action-packed with extensive timelines, multiple access points, security checks, etc. You will definitely want to have a full event deck sent to the photographer will all the details that they can review in-depth. The event photography shot list is meant to a quick view document.
Photographers are visual beings, so creating a visual document is the best idea to convey your message. You can use your favorite software to construct your shot list, such as Word, Pages, etc. Canva was used to create the sample documents featured in this post. Include sample photos that you love from your past events or events from competitors. You can find inspiration from pictures you see on Vendry, Event Marketer, Ad Week, Pinterest, or even Instagram post.
If your event has a timeline of scheduled activities or presentations, it’s beneficial to add the run of the show to the shot list document for quick and easy viewing. The run of the show will generally include times, locations, and a brief description of the event. Providing these extra details to the photographer helps them know when and where to be, so they are prepared to capture all the event highlights.
If you find yourself in a crunch for time or just desire to send a more simplistic document, a text version like the one shown below is a great option as long as it contains all the pertinent information.
Receiving input from your social media, marketing, or PR teams on what images they can best utilize will be helpful to you in deciding what shots to list on your shot shist. If needed, a professional event photographer will be able to provide you with valuable information to help you with your shot list.
Providing clear instructions to your event photographer will set clear expectations for what final images will be delivered. That stellar set of final images is going to be valuable post-event marketing asset gold. Here Are 8 DO’s To Communicate To Your Event Photographer.
1. KNOW HOW THE FINAL IMAGES WILL BE USED
Whether your photos will be used for various social media platforms, banners, post-event recaps, personal and agency portfolios, and/or print, let your photographer know. Having this pertinent information allows them to determine if they’ll need to take wider shots to provide negative space for logos or text or to compose the shots to fill the entire frame of the photo to show detail or emphasize a particular person or products, etc.
2. DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOS YOU WILL NEED
Knowing how the final images will be used helps to determine what kind of shots you will need. Based on your end goal…
- Do you need shots of attendees posed, candid, or both?
- Do you need shots that are close-ups, wide, or both?
- Do you need photos of guests waiting in line to check-in?
- Do you need beauty shot of products?
- Will there be interactive displays that you want attendees captured interacting with?
- Is it essential to capture staff and vendors in action?
Asking yourself questions along these lines will assist with what information to convey to the event photographer, so they know what moments to look for as they shoot.
3. SHARE THE DEFINITE DON’TS + MUST-HAVES OF WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE FINAL IMAGES
Be clear with your photographer about what they should not photograph. For instance, some clients will only want to see a specific demographic reflected. In contrast, some clients will wish to showcase a very diverse demographic. Also, be clear about your must-have shots, i.e., shots of the influencers posed in front of the step-n-repeat, attendees with the branded cookies in hand, attendees interacting with the touch wall, the brand ambassadors handing goody bags to the guest, etc.
4. PROVIDE INFORMATION ON UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE EVENT+ VENUE
Let your photographer know anything unique to the event or venue. For instance, list out any interactive or branded areas of the footprint or event space that should be photographed. That could include signage, gift bags, items in the gift bags, step-and-repeats, or anything else you spent time customizing. Anything custom or branded is essential to your event story, and it should be captured by the photographer.
The photographer will need to know about event elements, layout, and lighting to ensure they bring the correct equipment. For example, if you have a quiet room at the event where attendees will be participating in yoga, the photographer needs to know they must have the ability to shoot in silent mode without the shutter clicking sound to avoid disrupting the event. If your event has a speaker on a stage that will be far away or high up on a platform, the photographer will need to know to bring a lens that reaches far away. Another example is if the venue lighting will be very dark, the photographer then knows to bring the correct lighting and light modifiers with them to make your event look it’s best on camera. Some event venues will require the photographer to have (COI ) Certificate of Insurance for the day of your event. COI protects the venue from being liable to any injury or damage. Let the photographer know as soon as possible, so they can obtain it, which in some cases can take at least 24 hours.
Since dress attire is unique to every event, do let your photographer know if it is a dressier event, because no one likes to feel under or inappropriately dressed. Also, your photographer is a representation of you and the client while on-site; they should look the part. Be sure that the photographer knows not to wear any competitor brands, for example, wearing an Adidas shirt at a Nike event would be pretty cringe-worthy.
Your shot list should be in an easy-to-read format that your photographer can glance at quickly. It’s a good idea to also include a run-of-show, which is the timeline of scheduled events set to take place. The document generally includes times and locations of any scheduled product demonstrations, speakers, DJs, influencers, celebrities, giveaways, production notes, etc. These extra details help the photographer know when and where to be before important events take place so they can capture the shots you need.
You and your Photographer should go through your vision for the final images and event logistics. If you aren’t precisely sure of all the types of photos you need, be sure to communicate that with your photographer so you can both work together to come up with a game plan. Pointing out images that you like from the photographer’s own portfolio can give them a good idea of what style and type of photos you are seeking.
6. DETERMINE THE DEADLINE FOR THE FINAL IMAGES
Your photographer should be aware of when you expect the images post-event so they can allow themselves the time to upload, cull through, edit, organize, and deliver them to you. It should be discussed in advance if you need photos in real-time or during the event for pr and social media posts. Provided photos that fast will require a camera with wi-fi capabilities and/or an assistant who will work behind the scenes getting the images to you so your photographer can continue to photograph the event uninterrupted.
7. COMMUNICATE ANY CHANGES + SURPRISES
Your photographer is an extension of your team, and they need to be informed right away if any changes or surprises are happening so they can be in place beforehand, with the correct lens and camera settings to beautifully and creatively capture the moment. At larger events, consider adding your photographer to your production text list to make communicating during the event quicker and easier.
8. ALLOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER TO CREATE
Provide clear direction with room for allowing for creative freedom. The previous 8 tips really boil down to informing your photographer of your event 5 W’s and H- Who, What, Where, When, and How’s. Armed with this knowledge, your photographer can go forth photographing your event with purpose and ease. You have chosen your photographer based on their creative talents and know-how, trust they will create amazing images for you.
HOW I GOT STARTED IN THE EXPERIENTIAL EVENT INDUSTRY
My career started in Chicago in the early 2000s working as a promotional model through my modeling agency. Little did I know that working a few gigs as a promotional model would lead to the start of an exciting freelance career that would take me around the world, representing hundreds of most iconic and well-known brands. As I discovered the potential for professional growth in the events industry, I advanced to working as a brand ambassador. As I became more polished and knowledgeable in experiential events and brand activations, I began leading and managing event teams in the field for various types of brand activations and representing companies at tradeshows. From there, I advanced into becoming an Emcee/Narrator and Product Specialist, as well as assisting behind the scenes in event production
HOW MY PHOTOGRAPHY NICHE WAS DEVELOPED
Over the years, the more and more I observed and learned about different types of brand activations, I fell in love, and a passion was developed. Entering into the events industry has provided me with many ah-ha moments. One of my ah-ha moments (It’s 2020, we can still say ah-ha moment right?) set the course for my niche in experiential and brand activation event photography. With love for finding and capturing beauty in each moment, I had been dappling in various forms of photography, but nothing really felt completely satisfying until I turned to events. I thought to myself the experiential event industry is already a fulfilling career that I’m immersed in and have a passion for, forget a double rainbow, you’ve got a double passion! (Do you ever chuckle at your own lame jokes? I just did.)
FAMILIARITY IN THE LIVE EVENT INDUSTRY
Although each venue, location, and experience is unique, having been involved in so many types of events over the years, I’m able to hone right in and recognize the event flow and understand what needs to be the highlight in photos. I feel comfortable and confident roaming throughout the event capturing shots. Because of my consumer-facing background, it’s second nature to get a crowd excited, direct, or gather people together for particular establishing shots when it’s needed; otherwise, I seamlessly move throughout the event space.
WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT BRAND ACTIVATIONS
It’s incredible to witness an empty event space transform into an out of this world experience! I admire the marketing teams that conjure up the most creative activation ideas that seamlessly convey strong brand messaging. It’s even more of a joy to witness people enjoying themselves and seeing everyone connect by sharing an exciting collective experience.
THE FUTURE OF EXPERIENTIAL + BRAND ACTIVATION NICHE PHOTOGRAPHERS
I don’t envision that the use of live events to promote, elevate a brand and brand messaging will ever go away. There will always be a need for high-quality promotional imagery that tells a story, which means that the skill set to produce those images must be available. It must be challenging when event producers and agencies are seeking photographers and fall into the internet sea of wedding and studio portrait and commercial photographers. I think there’s definitely a need for experiential professionals to be able to easily and quickly identify photographers that are as passionate and knowledgeable about brand events as they are. Having a Photographer that understands the industry and can be proactive about capturing amazing photos will also help in branding opportunities, and brand visibility is vital. The Vendry, which is a company that has dedicated themselves to connect brands and agencies to vendors who are invested in live experiences, is a good sign of things to come. My photography business Photos By Chernise has been featured on their website as one of their top photographers in Chicago.
NEXT STEPS IN MY PHOTOGRAPHY CAREER
I’m ready to continue to capture amazing moments that help tell the stories of each brand. I’m glad I was able to officiate the marriage of my two passions, photography, and events.