How I take pictures at conferences, and why it’s good for you.

I don’t use a flash

Have you had a flash in your face recently? It’s rather intrusive.

It also has the added benefit of adding texture to the images to stop them looking flat.But the latter is just a taste thing.

I mostly shoot using a telephoto lens

This helps your event look busy by compressing perspective.You’re having a really good event if i have my wide lens on for more than a couple of minutes. Or your venue is too small.It also enables me to get candid shots i might otherwise miss.

I only take pictures of people who are positively engaged

This is a fairly new rule with me – i.e. if you were to look back a couple of years, you will probably find exceptions. Subjects should be either

1. Talking to someone (who isn’t a bored colleague on their exhibition stand) whilst gesticulating with their hands

2. Smiling or laughing

3. Shaking hands

4. Exchanging business cards (This is the gold dust i spend every event trying to capture – it’s harder than you think, you have to learn the body language – if the subject gets into the “noddy” stage of a conversation, then moves suddenly towards their jacket pocket or purse they’re probably reaching for a business card.)

5.the subject is reading the conference agenda or delegate list, and it is obvious that that’s what they’re doing.

6. All of the above, which does happen but probably over several frames.

I frame up, then burst fire when the speaker looks up and/or moves their hands.

This is not, like, unique to me or anything, but it also explains why I don’t use a flash – no-one wants your conference to resemble a gabba hardcore night.


It’s the second one.

I spend at least 2 hrs per half day of work editing and colour correcting

Because I don’t send you anything useless, or anything that isn’t as pretty as I can make it. This is also necessitated by not using a flash and taking a dozen images to get one usable one.

Also because in it’s natural state your venue is probably lit by fluorescent lights, then you hire an AV company who come in and throw tungsten all over your stage set. This makes the available light a bit of a mixed bag. I shoot in RAW and colour correct in Lightroom.


This is lightroom. It is my best friend.


Look, this is just the way I do it, there are many ways that work just fine for everyone involved. Feel free to disagree with me below!



About the Author:
Photographer and film maker, knows a lot about photography, video, digital content, air crashes. Offers services around 3 of those.13 years in the commercial conference industry in sales and marketing.

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