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10 Tips to Get the Best Photos at Store Events

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a strong, well-composed photo is worth so much more. The perfect shot can showcase your operation in a beautiful light, boost sales and even engage your customer base. Having a collection of pictures on hand can help add character to your social media posts and give customers an idea of your operation’s unique brand. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of hosting an event at your business, so check out these 10 tips for better event photography to help your store shine.

1. Make a shot list.
Go into your next event with a plan. Take some time to make a list of the photos you absolutely want to take before, during and after the event to end up with a complete set of pictures. Consider taking shots of event signage prior to the event, and take candid images of guests arriving, of speakers and event entertainment. Rounding out the event with a group shot is a great way to ensure you photograph as many attendees as possible. Having a thorough shot list will keep you organized from beginning to end.

2. Invest in the right camera.
Taking pictures with your smartphone is perfectly acceptable, especially if you’re going to post directly to your social media pages, but for truly dynamic, rich photography, purchasing a versatile camera could be a sound investment for your operation. Great cameras are available at every price point, so research your options, and don’t be afraid to practice, practice, practice with your new camera to get the hang of it.

3. Follow the rule of thirds.
Try to structure your pictures with the rule of thirds to produce compelling images. Imagine a tic-tac-toe board across your field of vision. Often, it makes sense to put the subject of a photo right in the center of that tic-tac-toe board, but choosing to place your subject off-center (along one of the tic-tac-toe board’s vertical lines) can be an unexpected choice that highlights your building, your inventory and other attendees.

4. Shoot early, shoot often.
During an in-store event, it’s much better to take too many pictures than too few. Stay respectful throughout the event and don’t interrupt attendees, but keep in mind that you’ll want as many options as possible after the event ends, so taking lots of pictures is your best bet. Take photos from a variety of angles and include a mix of subjects to truly record an event and have as many photos as possible for social media, promo materials and company archives.

5. Use a simple background.
When you’re taking group shots or headshots of individual attendees, be sure to choose a simple background so the focus is directly on your subject. Finding a plain wall in the event space and using that as a predetermined area for photos can add consistency to your photography and produce stunning results that highlight your subject.

6. Make the rounds.
When you’re taking photos at an event, mingling is part of your job description! Being mobile throughout your event will help ensure that your photos have a wide range of angles and framing options. Having a final set of photos that include images from many different vantage points will diversify your photos and create compelling options for future use online and in print.

7. Use natural light.
Try using ambient light—the light that is naturally produced in a room by overhead lights, lamps and windows—for your photos instead of flash whenever possible. This type of lighting will give your photography a warm, inviting look that organically highlights your event. If possible, take outdoor photos during the golden hours—the two hours after sunrise and before sunset can be a photographer’s best friend. There are times when flash photography is necessary, but when natural light is enough to illuminate a room, it can make for stunning shots.

8. Take a cue from the building.
Staying on your toes as an event photographer means keeping a close eye on your surroundings. Be on the lookout for special design elements of your store that would make for interesting photos, especially unique architectural elements, symmetrical objects and special decorations. Photos that include these one-of-a-kind details are pleasing to the eye, can help distinguish your photos and frame subjects in memorable ways.

9. Pay attention to the details.
Following your shot list will help you capture all the most important aspects of an event, but don’t be afraid to look for shots to take in the moment. Even a few on-the-fly photos of an unexpected event or a candid interaction can add surprise and spontaneity to your photos and help you truly capture an event to remember for years to come.

10. Back up your photos.
It’s one thing to take photography tips and tricks into practice, but all your perfectly composed images could be lost forever if you don’t back up your photos. There are lots of options to help safeguard your photos. Affordable USB drives are readily available at electronics stores. Also consider storing your photos on the cloud, which will protect your photos if your USB drives are lost or your operation suffers a natural disaster.

About Todd Taber

Todd Taber
Todd is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017 and now serves on the news and marketing teams. In his free time, he likes to run, spend time with family and travel the country.

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