We’re excited to host Patrick Williams, Owner & Director of Direction of PWP Studio, as our first guest blogger on the AFFAIRS at the FOX Blog. Patrick and PWP Studio have been a trusted partner of Affairs to Remember Caterers for many years and they have photographed countless special events at the Fox Theatre. Enjoy Patrick’s insights for planning a successful fundraising event. – Travis
The Fox Theatre is among my favorite Atlanta venues to photograph special events because the ‘movie palace’ makes me feel like I am stepping back in time to an era of exotic opulence that could only be imagined in fantasy! Every nook and cranny of the historic icon is adorned with detail that begs to be captured with a creative eye! Plus, it is the perfect backdrop for a fundraiser because—just like my experience—event guests are transported to a time when going out meant going all out; big spenders had grand times!
From a planning perspective, utilizing a photographer in the correct way could be one of the most beneficial elements you plan for your fundraising event. Notice that I mentioned utilizing a photographer in the “correct way”—not just having a photographer onsite; the main difference between just having a photographer onsite and utilizing a photographer correctly translates to the difference between just having some fun party pics versus successfully marketing your annual event in the future.
Here are the top five requests you should make when it comes to hiring a photographer for your next, and subsequent, fundraising event:
1. Branding! Branding! Branding! It is no secret that sponsors want exposure, and usually the more exposure the better! When you have a photographer scheduled at your event, make sure and ask for a good selection of images that include the branding/logo of all sponsors – and especially key ‘presenting’ or high level sponsors. Ask for these images to be “clean” (with no people or other distracting elements), and ask for some with other elements incorporated into the image like auction items, entertainment, photo-journalistic images of engaged guests enjoying the event, or posed small group photos of representatives/attendees from the sponsor company itself.
2. Creative close-ups of auction items, or signage stating what items will be used for the purpose of fundraising. Request a variety of: single item images, tabletop images, and vignette images to include multiple displays of different sizes, if applicable.
3. If you are running an auction with bid lists, make sure to request photos of the lists of a few of the more “active” auction items. Similarly, if there is going to be some sort of live auction – request photos of the crowd emphatically raising hands, raising bid numbers, or engaging the auctioneer.
4. Overall images showing a variety of angles of a well-attended space/activity – capture as many different well-attended spaces as possible.
5. Well-lit images of VIP guests – with and without key sponsor logos in the background. It will be up to you to define that list of VIP guests, but your photographer needs to clearly understand you have an expectation that those guests will be included in his/her photos before the end of the evening.
Now, how you use these images is probably just as important as having them to begin with! When you’re planning your next fundraiser, you’re better equipped to engage past and prospective sponsors with images showing your past event was well attended, buzzing with bidding, and sponsor logos presented beautifully. Show a prospect how their donated item will be displayed/merchandised, or the difference between sponsorship levels with a picture.
With a varied collection of these images, you also have a content library deep enough to support year-long efforts to increase attendance with social media, blog posts and event advertising – without using the same image or two over and over again.
All in all, when you trust a competent photographer with a thorough list of expectations, you are building an image library that will support your donations, sponsorship, and attendance for years to come!