You’ve likely heard the saying “perception is reality” as it applies to marketing, but it’s also true of events. If the event photos make your B2B 3-day conference on ‘focusing and productivity in the workplace’ look way cooler than it is, the more people it will attract. The more favourable things people say, the better your event will look. Finally, the more vendors, sponsors or speakers you have aligned with for your event, and the event photos you share of them, will make your event seem even more desirable. We live in the age of social media and ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ so you might as well make the most out of it and document that it did indeed, happen. Here is our list of top 5 tips for taking event photos for social media.
1. Cater your photos for the social media platform
You hear a lot about optimizing your content for each social media channel. Twitter posts are a great way to use trending hashtags to have conversations with people; Instagram is the place to take advantage of multiple hashtags to discover, and be discovered by a new audience; and Facebook gives you the freedom for photo, text-based, video or live video posts (and a plethora of ways to tag people). The most successful social media marketers understand the importance of optimizing your event photos for your social channel. Instagram images should be 1080px by 1080px (if you are going with square orientation); Twitter should be 1024px by 576px for mobile, etc. When you are at the event snapping away with your cell phone, pay attention to orientation of your photos and take mental note of what social platform you are planning to post them on. Having a photo strategy always makes for better, trendier posts.
2. #FoodPorn makes for great event photos
Do you know what every event has in common? From stuffy B2B conferences to the coolest event planning expos and pet shows and fitness expos… Food! The answer is food. All events must provide food to their guests and that’s a great thing for you, as someone hoping to take photos for social media at the event. There is usually a variety to choose from. It’s plated very uniquely (unless it’s a buffet – in which case you get to put your food design skills to the test!) and it all looks amazing on camera. Take a bunch of event photos of food…
- on your plate
- on someone else’s plate
at the cooking station
on the table display
… that way, you’ll have a bunch of images to choose from, you’ll have content for each network and you won’t have to be boring and share identical content across your platforms.
3. Layers, and flat-lays, and angles, oh my!
Images courtesy of Instagram.com/ElephantsRemark & Instagram.com/PhotosWithFinesse
If you aren’t a confident photography whiz, taking event photos for social media can seem pretty intimidating.
What should you take pictures of? How many should you take? Do you look ridiculous climbing on a chair to shoot downward? How do you politely ask that person to shoot over their shoulder?
Never fear: we got you, fam!
If you have absolutely no idea what to photograph or how, there are some quick tricks you can take advantage of.
- Arrange flat lays on a table and shoot looking down at it. You can control lighting and composition this way.
- If you are dealing with multiple items, layer them to create texture.
- Finally, remember that you don’t have to shoot straight on. Shoot from the side, a 45-degree angle, get on your knees and shoot upwards or shoot a live photo on your iPhone. You’ve got options to be versatile.
4. Know your filters
It can sometimes seem like no matter how many photos you snap, none of them look quite right. And when you’re shooting for social, and are on-the-go, you really don’t have time to pull out the laptop and hope that Adobe After Effects will have your back. You can utilize filters right inside the social media apps on your phone to enhance your photographs. Instagram has a huge selection to choose from (Gingham and Clarendon are both popular) and you can even give your photos some wonky effects if you use Snapchap. If the lighting or the colour just isn’t right but the composition or emotion in the photo is there, it’s nothing that a little filter tweak can’t help. And the era of #NoFilter event photos is dead anyways. Just don’t overdo it on the edits or you may be perceived as artificial and non-authentic – which is certainly not a good thing.
5. On-the-go edits are your best friend
It’s very possible that your strength lies in design rather than taking the live event photos. In that case, you should definitely take advantage of a mobile photo editing app to make the most of your social media event photography.
Our favourite photo editing apps:
We are partial to Canva as neither Sarah or myself are self-proclaimed designers so it’s user interface is friendly, and it’s easy to create cute images and do simple text overlays in minutes rather than slaving in front of Photoshop on the laptop for an unspecified length of time. These simple photo editing apps will allow you to incorporate key messaging about upcoming speakers, contests you are running, promoting ticket sales, and so much more, all without any particular design skill whatsoever.
Disclaimer: we advise playing around on one of these apps before an event so you don’t miss amazing photography opportunities while staring at your device trying to figure out how to do a simple edit.
Taking event photos for social media doesn’t have to be a scary and overwhelming experience if you arm yourself with the best tips possible. Once you figure out what you’re good at, stick with it; don’t worry about having to do everything at once. Take advantage of whatever free mobile resources you can and before you know it, you’ll be an Instagram wizard. If you still need more tips for event photography or you want to talk about the big picture at your next event, send up your trunk and #letsgetsocial.
Ashley Saunders, Matriarch, Strategist, Live Social Coordinator