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Meeting Planner 411: The Importance of Event Photography

Meeting Monday:

Today features an article from Smart Meetings Magazine’s very own Mr. Smart E. Pants and his response to an inquiring meeting planner regarding event photography.


Meeting event space at the Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City hotel

Dear Mr. Smart E. Pants,

I’m figuring out my budget for next year and wanted your perspective on event photography. Do you think professional photography is a priority for event planners?


Helena Peterson
Atlanta, Georgia


Dear Helena,

I think hiring a professional photographer completely depends on what type of event you’re hosting. For example, most of our events are featured in our magazine and require high-resolution photos; so, for us, it makes sense. We also use the photos in our marketing materials.

If you host attendance-driven events like I do, it’s important to have quality photos that you can use to promote the event. However, if you’re hosting an annual meeting that focuses on educational sessions, professional photography doesn’t matter as much; plus, attendees are required to attend. Note: association members aren’t required to attend their annual meetings; they choose whether or not to attend, and have to pay their own way.

One way to cut back on your professional photography budget is to hire local photographers instead of flying in staff members from the photography company you work with in your area. A lot of companies are also willing to work out partnerships, giving you discount rates to advertise at your event. I do advocate, however, that if you are looking for photographers in another location, you should get recommendations from the CVBs or hotels you’re working with for your event. The last thing you want is to pay big bucks or endorse the photographer and have them come up short.

Lately, I’ve been using both Specialty Imaging International and Orange Photography, for different reasons. Specialty Imaging is more focused on incentive meetings. For instance, they offer various ways to create a unique name badge; they help us interact with attendees on our social media pages; and they have photo kiosks for our attendees to print out their own images. Orange Photography, on the other hand, has lots of experience at a variety of functions. They have a unique style for receptions, and they even offer on-site photo booths.

No matter what you decide to do, the bottom line is that you want to make your events look attractive. If you use marketing materials to advertise your events, I suggest hiring a professional that’ll portray them at their best. If your educational seminars on their own are impressive enough to get people to attend, then maybe photography isn’t something you need to have eating up your budget. Either way, good luck in the coming year!


Mr. Smart E. Pants


Mr. Smart E. Pants is none other than the energetic meeting and event manager Benton Partin. With a diverse background and 10 years of planning experience, Benton brings a unique and creative approach to meetings management. Have a burning question for Mr. Smart E. Pants? E-mail him at ben@smartmeetings.com.

As seen in Issue: Smart Meetings November 2010