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Event Photography 101: The Essential Shot List

Whenever an event photographer is hired, it is crucial that the client supplies him or her with a shot list. In essence, a shot list lists all of the crucial moments or items that absolutely need to be taken. When I ran a Google search for shot list ideas, I was shocked to find that they largely refer to weddings or movies because shot lists are undoubtedly necessary for just about any professional photography project.

Why is a Shot List Important?

A shot list is essentially a checklist for photographers. Without a shot list, a photographer is more likely to shoot blindly and not get all of the crucial photos that the customer requires. As a result, it is crucial that lots of effort and thought go into the compilation of a short list. Generally speaking, the customer is responsible for supplying a shot list to the photographer. However, a competent photographer should be able to add their own insight to help their client with the shot list if needed.

Event Photography Shot List

In light of the foregoing, the following items ought to be on a shot list for basic event photography:

1. Details

Take pictures of anything that is specific to the event and has branding on it. This includes promotional materials like banners, flyers, and gift bags. They should be recorded since they are crucial parts of the event’s narrative. Some of these photos may be associated with sponsors, while others may be used only as relics or historical records. In either case, make sure to take pictures of all the event materials.

2. Venue Photos

Odds are tons of preparation and money went into how the event is designed and set up. Take pictures of the event site’s exterior and interior. Focus on portions of the facility that have been modified expressly for the event, such as a red carpet with a photo backdrop, or trade fair tables with merchants. Always shoot a “before” shot before people arrive, then take a shot during the event when the venue is as packed as possible. Also, attempt to obtain a photo of the venue with a large line of attendees waiting to go inside. Don’t forget to take a sizable group shot of the event crew both before and during work.

3. Sponsor shots

Most events have at least one business sponsor who gives money, products, or services. It’s crucial to acquire photographs of the sponsor donations in action. Capture it by itself and with attendees engaging with it, whether it’s a product with sponsor branding on it or a service with sponsorship signage.

Intended Use: These photos will be helpful to the event’s marketing team who will subsequently be able to show the sponsor how worthwhile their gift was. For photographers, sponsor photos are also a terrific networking opportunity.

4. Happy Attendees

Capture a wide array of candid images that convey the spirit of the occasion. Get images of people engaging with booths and merchants, sample products or services, and having a wonderful time with each other. Close up images are fantastic, but also include wide perspective shots to convey the grandeur and breadth of the event. If you can, try to arrange access to a higher vantage point by acquiring rooftop access or ascending a ladder. A bird’s eye view always provides for unusual images.

5. VIPs and Special Guests

A VIP will almost certainly attend the event, and it is important to record his or her presence. Be sure to ask the client for a comprehensive list of VIPs or special guests, and also don’t be hesitant to solicit their help in pointing the attendees out on site. There won’t be many CEOs or corporate VIPs who can be named right away. Try to capture a mix of candid images and posed portraits, preferably with event or client branding in the photo as well.

As a result

A short list is necessary to ensure that you acquire all the images you require, whether you are a client hiring a photographer for your event or a photographer yourself. Do you frequently utilize a short list? Would you amend the list to include any important items? Please share in the comments section. If you think this content is helpful, please share it.

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