When you’re organizing an event, good photo and video coverage can be vital. In the age of smartphone cameras, powerful apps, and social media, anyone can be a photographer. This makes it reasonable to consider someone from your team to provide coverage, or crowdsource images from audience volunteers.
Still, there are some types of events when hiring a freelance professional or videography company remains the best option – for instance, a wedding or a concert. So how do you decide what works best?
Planning for event coverage should be done as early as possible. Any photographer will benefit from being able to scout your location, and often they must be booked well in advance. The longer you delay this critical part of the planning process, the more likely you are to get subpar results.
Flesh out your specific goals for event coverage. Are you looking for full archival of a business meeting? Will segments or stills be used for marketing? Or do you want to capture moments as they unfold, as candidly as possible? Event coverage can serve many purposes; narrowing down what you need is the first step to getting great results.
Do as much research as you can. Are there any videos of similar events you liked? Visual imagery can have a strong immediate appeal – try to identify what it is exactly that made you like a video. Was it the storytelling, the lighting, composition, or some other aspect of technique?
Who can do it best
Now that you have a clear vision for your event coverage look for people who can best realize it. If you’re after an audience perspective, having your team or audience members do the job is perfect. You can give some guidelines on what type of shots you’re looking for and hold the best picture competition for fun.
If you need a variety of angles or shot quality, it helps to understand how these are accomplished. Aerial capture most likely requires a team operating drones, unless you have an open venue with high vantage points nearby. You can’t hire a solo photographer and expect them to capture the entirety of a speaker’s talk while also taking good photos of the audience. A great portrait photographer may work too slowly when using editing software.
Go over multiple professional portfolios to find someone whose aesthetic closely aligns with your vision, and see if they have the skills for the job.
Budget and return
Few of us get to hire a dream team, though. The aim is usually to strike a great balance between ideal results and what you can afford. When negotiating with professionals, negotiate their package. This doesn’t mean lowballing – instead, you should inquire if you can customize their services to suit your needs. You might not need two extra shooters, a same day edit, or setups for sound capture or lighting. Sometimes, reducing the need for specialized skills or gear will let you land a great team within your budget.
The potential upside of your event coverage can matter. This isn’t about going viral. Instead, consider, for instance, the possible impact of using relevant footage or images when used in your future blogs on industry topics. Unique and original content adds value and can drive future exposure beyond the scope of the event itself.
A quick evaluation of your event’s need for photo and video coverage must be done well ahead of time, and fortunately can be summed into three steps. Flesh out your purpose for coverage, the capabilities of your ideal team, and let your budget analysis guide you on where to compromise.