By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie
Today we sit down and talk all things events and photography with the amazing Fi Mims from Fi Mims Photography. Fi has photographed many of my clients and my own events and in my eyes, there is no-one better for the job! I believe that great event photography is something that all businesses should aspire too as it is something that you can use in your marketing and branding all year round AND it is a beautiful way for guests to relive their experience.
Fi shares with us her experience at events and how you can include and prepare for event photography.
You have photographed many different events from corporates to entrepreneurs to women’s networking days. Why do you think more and more people are getting photographers on board these days?
As doing business online has increased and social media platforms like Instagram have become a must for business, so too has the need for good visual marketing. Being able to showcase great images from events or networking days has become an important way for businesses to connect with their audience, as well as share experiences and keep customers up to date.
It has become much easier and faster to start businesses in the last 10 years – the ability to learn skills, network and connect with suppliers online has meant product and service businesses come to market so quickly. It also means that the marketplace is much more saturated and competitive. As a result having a strong brand, including imagery, that quickly stands out and attracts your target market is fundamental to success.
Businesses that connect most successfully online to their consumers use imagery as it brings a more emotional and deeper brand connection that text just can’t deliver. It builds trust and loyalty much quicker and more authentically.
Why do you feel it's important to have a professional capturing those special moments at an event?
My husband works in hospitality and is an amazing cook (yes he’s a keeper!), and watching him throw together a meal he always makes it look so easy. But I struggle in the kitchen, even if I’m working to a recipe.
I think photography is the same. It’s very easy today for people to pick up a camera and take photos, but learning how to be a good photographer can take years of learning and practice. You often don’t know what the conditions will be like until you turn up on the day so you need to know how to work in all kinds of light. You also need to know how to deal with all kinds of people, and for events in particular you need good timing and the ability to capture moments that convey the feeling and emotion of the day.
These are all skills that professional photographers spend a lot of time working on. And in addition, we invest a lot of money into equipment that we know will help us capture good quality images.
How do you prepare for an upcoming event?
If my client has a website or online presence I always check them out so I can get a feel for their brand and how they like to connect with their audience. I might also look at what type of images they like to share on social media. I use this to develop a creative shot plan for the event which means I can merge their brand with my own style of photography. I also work closely with the organiser to make sure I have all the event info I need such as speaker profiles and timelines so I know what is happening and when, that way there won’t be any surprises on the day.
How do you ensure your clients receive the images they are after?
I aim to capture all the detail, from overall room shots to something that catches my eye, for example a goodie bag sitting on a chair with beautiful ribbon and the clients logo. That way I cover all bases and hopefully don’t miss a thing! But I do also liaise with organisers ahead of events to check if there’s anything in particular they would like. And most will have a couple of key shots they really want. That could be shots of particular speakers, crowd photos or images for sponsors. If I know what the key shots are, then I can make sure I cover those off and spend the rest of my time capturing additional images I think they will appreciate and be able to use.
Has social media played a part in how you conduct your shoot and turnaround times on editing your images?
Absolutely! Social media plays a huge role for most of my business clients. It’s how they connect with their audience and is also a big way for them to attract new people. When I started out as a professional photographer social media didn’t exist (yes I’m old!) so there was a lot more flexibility around turnaround.
However, fast forward to now and I know that sharing event images on social media as soon as possible after an event is a way for my clients to keep the momentum from the day going, and the sooner this can happen the better. It also gives attendees a chance to reconnect with them and other people they met at the event, and it allows my clients to share the day with people who weren’t there.
For something fun I often take i-phone photos and post them to social media with the event hashtag during the event, to create some excitement and exposure. For the edited shots, I‘lI usually turn them around within 24-48 hours. If the event is large and the sheer number of shots doesn’t allow for this, I send clients a small gallery of highlights so they have something to share while they wait for the rest of the images to come through.
What keeps you motivated to explore more and continue to be inspired?
One of the things I love most about being a photographer is that no two shoots are the same. Every time I have someone in front of my lens it’s a new challenge to capture something authentic and amazing for them and I love that! It’s impossible to get bored in my job I’m also a bit of a perfectionist (which has its pros and cons!) and that part of my personality continually drives me to work harder and be better at my craft.
I also have a weakness for design magazines (luckily they are cheaper than shoes!), whenever I flick through them I always see a story or image that inspires me to try something new.
It probably sounds clichéd but my clients are the biggest and most continual source of inspiration for me. Seeing how excited they get when they see their images, how much joy they feel and how treasured their photos become, that motivates me every day and makes me want to continue creating images for people for as long as I can!
All photo credits belong to Fi Mims Photography