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There was a time when event photography was a luxury item. Now, the output of your average party can include official pictures from two or three photographers, tweeting guests touting cameraphones and a digital photo booth uploading images to facebook. In this media-mad age, our hunger for visuals knows no bounds. Luckily, there’s an ever-increasing array of technology with which to document your event – and entertain your guests – for months afterwards.
Take the good old-fashioned photo booths as an example. Perfect for informal, fun and themed environments – many companies offer unlimited instant prints – they are a cost-effective choice, especially for larger groups. A standard package from Say Fromage (tel: 020 7407 6290 squaremeal.co.uk/fromage) starts at £595 +VAT and includes unlimited prints, a dressing-up box and props, a booth attendant, a background of your choice and free logos and booth branding. While facebook and other networking sites might be banned during office hours, social media can be a valuable resource for event marketing.
Oliver Reed, director of Say Fromage, explains: ‘Our booths probably work best at launches or promotional events as the pictures can be uploaded to facebook and twitter live from the booths as well as making prints, meaning people have a memento of the event, and they are also publicising the event to all of their friends and followers.’
Alternatively, add some glamour to your event with a throng of red carpet snappers as your guests arrive. The Pressmen (tel: 07970 765759) – who are entertainers as well as photographers – aim to capture a more relaxed and ‘reportage’ style of photography throughout an event. ‘The Fake Paparazzi enter, making immediate contact, create rapport and in doing so, treat each attendee as a celebrity,’ says Pressmen founder and photographer Melvyn Altwarg. ‘This creates immediate smiles – it’s a strong ice-breaker.’
While paps might not work at events where people don’t know each other – awkward conversations probably aren’t the moments that you’d like to capture – creating flipbooks can encourage people to relax and interact early on. Guests make a seven-second video clip, and two minutes later they have their own flipbook to take away. ‘
The key is to personalise it,’ says James Homer, director of Funflip (tel: 0113 2452227). ‘Events with a theme usually work best – we can source props and costumes. Flipbook covers are branded and designed to suit the client, and green screen backgrounds are always appropriate to the event.’
Celebrity lookalikes make another fun add-on for flipbooks at parties. From Marilyn Monroe to Darth Vader, the choices are endless – you can even have flip books with ‘David Brent’ dancing at your office party. Green screen photography, which produces an uncannily realistic effect, is a particularly flexible option. ‘The beauty of green screen is that you can use any theme or person at all, from sporting heroes to singers, and you can have the background as a sports event, such as rugby at Twickenham, or a famous album cover,’ explains Simon Owen, managing director of Red Photographic (tel: 020 7524 7800). The sophistication of the technology produces results that are seriously impressive as well as entertaining, and immerse even the camera shy in the experience.
The appeal of inventive event photography not only lies in the entertainment it provides throughout the occasion itself, but also in the digital opportunities both during and after the event. Live projections of photos can help to really make an evening a more shared experience, while keyrings, guest books, branded images on the company website and the printed photos themselves are all mementos that will create a post-event buzz.
‘The thing to remember is that, by creating great pictures, the result will be seen for days, even weeks or months, not just for the night,’ says Reed. ‘We all know how long we keep pictures stuck to the fridge for!’
This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2012