This article originally appeared on the Prime Design Solutions website.

Corporate events, fundraisers and other gatherings require a lot of planning, preparation and all-around work. With so many moving parts, it’s understandable that one often overlooked detail is acquiring a photographer to capture images of the happening as it unfolds. But the benefits of having this collection of photographs make it one of the more important factors of the entire event.

What is it about organized events that makes having professional photographer on hand a good idea?

Events bring about a unique collection of people and happenings in a single venue:

  • Prominent guests
  • Speakers
  • Showcases
  • Unique happenings, such as ribbon cuttings or awards or fun things
  • Attendees are often in a festive or anticipatory mood, perhaps dressed more formally or even in more fun attire
  • There is generally some level of anticipation for the occurrence
  • Lots of things happen, often quickly
  • Many times things happen and only a select few are on hand to witness

Sharing these moments (or even a different perspective on the moment) later inform those that missed it and reinforce the significance to everyone.

What are these photos used for?

There are so many uses for professional-quality photos of your event. Depending on your company and the type of the event, you might use photos to:

  • Remind those that attended what the day was like
  • Show those who weren’t able to be there what they missed
  • Media relations — a high-quality image (or several) will make your press release more appealing in certain media situations
  • Marketing
  • Photographs increase viewership and retention of message in nearly all marketing platforms
  • Looking ahead to the next occurrence (say, for an annual event) or to promote similar scheduled happenings, original photography demonstrates first-hand exact reasons to attend
  • General promotion showing that the organization is active

What is it about professional photography that makes it better than just sending someone out with a camera to grab some snapshots?

These days, virtually everyone has a camera available all the time on their smartphones. That can be handy in a pinch, but it’s a poor solution if you want good results. Here are some of the things photographers are more-suited to do than someone who’s just grabbing a couple shots:

  • The photographer has only one task — get great photos. They are not there to socialize or otherwise take part in the event
  • Knowledge + better equipment = better results
  • Knowing what to look for
  • Timing that moment so no one is blinking or eating or making a weird face
  • Framing the photo
  • Anticipating human behavior — the speaker is likely to pause or smile in *this* particular moment
  • Having a creative eye
  • Capturing interesting and engaging moments that compel people to want to look at them
  • Life is imperfect, so the ability to clean up a *nearly* great shot in Photoshop or Lightroom can result in something with tremendous impact that perhaps would have had to be overlooked due to a flaw in the composition
  • No camera’s white balance is perfect. Color correction and lighting correction are often overlooked in photos, but once a photo is corrected the difference between the original and edited is night and day (In a good way, bright happy and clear)

What are some ways to help the photographer get the best results?

If you decide to invest in professional photography, here are ways you can get the most out of your investment:

  • Introduce them to the venue
  • Provide them with a schedule
  • Note the times/places of the key occurrences
  • Indicate specific key individuals or items to be photographed — sometimes, it’s obvious (the speaker! the honored guest!), other times, less obvious (a major donor, a board chairperson, etc.)
  • Designated areas allowed/not allowed

What should you make sure your photographer does for you?

At a minimum, your photographer should:

  • Get you at least a few photos right away for social media/blog posts — before editing of the larger group occurs
  • Even better if you can get something posted to social media channels while the event is occurring
  • Deliver the photos in an edited form (that is, color balanced etc., with bad shots sorted away) in an archive (disc, .zip, thumbdrive)