First Impressions

Bono sings Frank Sinatra. ©Kelly McKeon

Let your guests breathe and eat.

There are two, really awkward times for guests attending events, and for the photographers covering them.

The first is the arrival.

 I have been asked often to photograph guests as they walk through the venue doors. I’m not referring to capturing candid images of the wow factor expressed on their faces, that can easily be accomplished stealthily before anyone takes notice.

I’m referring to stopping the guest, or redirecting them to a specific area while asking them for a quick image.

Seems rather painless and fun. However, you would not believe how much people dislike this, and it shows on their faces. Remember, many people are shy or uncomfortable being photographed, and when asked immediately upon entering a room, they like it even less.

You don’t want this to be their first impression of the event.

Rather, you want the guest to enter the venue and take it all in, and they want to become orientated with the space. They do not want to be stopped immediately in this process. At least not for a photograph. The guest wants to breathe in all that incredible decor and atmosphere you created.

The solution is to allow the photographer to roam. Most photographers are great people readers and can spot relaxed moments to approach your guests. This works so much better. The tension is gone. The guest is comfortable and your photographer gets to create an image, and a far improved exchange enhancing the guest experience.

The second most awkward moment is dinner.

Many times, speakers, awards and or entertainment is occurring during a sit down dinner. You want photographers in the room, capturing stage and speaking moments. You don’t want guests tensing up while they eat.

When guests see photographers turn their cameras towards the audience, they stop chewing, cover their mouths, look in another direction, or practically bolt from their seat.

If there is just house music playing during dinner, remove the photographers entirely. Out of sight, out of mind.

If you do have speakers, awards or entertainers during dinner, discuss with your photographer, not to direct his attention towards the audience. This is really where an experienced, appreciative photographer comes into play. He or she will be versed in this situation and have some mannerisms employed to relieve the concern of seated guests.

One of those, is having the camera nestled with lens pointed in the elbow as the photographer walks the room, indicating the camera is resting.

There are many behavioral tricks professional photographers can employ in capturing great photography, while adding to a more pleasant experience for your guest.

Think of your photographer as part of your event experience, not an add on.

©Kelly McKeon

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