8 Practical Camera Selection Tips for Event Planners

If photos are for clients, printed brochures, or ads, it's always best to hire a professional photographer.

As we have previously discussed, in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries, unless a photographer is a full-time employee, copyright defaults to the photographer (professional, semi-professional or amateur). To retain copyright control over event photos, some event planning firms with small teams and independent event planners who hire freelancers, take their own photos for archival purposes, social media, blogs, or websites.

Based on my experience of recently purchasing a new camera, here are some practical selection tips.

  1. How much experience do you have?
    If your experience is limited, opt for a point and shoot camera with Intelligent Auto and Intelligent Scene Selector. These  smart cameras auto focus, determine if flash is needed, and select the appropriate scene setting (macro).

    Until recently, I used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5. The Intelligent Scene Selector had 30 automatic settings including many that are perfect for event planners  (e.g. portrait, party, beach, candlelight, night scenery, and fireworks). Similar settings are available on the newer Lumix Panasonic ZS25.
  2. Determine how much zoom you require?
    Are your photos at large conferences, sporting, auto, or polo events? Are you taking scenic shots from mountain vistas? Zooms on standard digital cameras is 3X. If events involve shooting from a distance, select a camera with a stronger zoom.

    The first 2 photos were taken through a window at Palazzo in Las Vegas. A setting on the camera compensated for the glass.

Las Vegas Golf CourseLas Vegas Golf Course ZoomPalazzo AtriumPalazzo

  1. What terrain will you be photographing?
    For terrain with a lot of water (waterfalls), sand (desert or beach) or snow, consider a camera with a built-in, retractable lens cover.
  2. Are guest room and meeting photos during site inspections important?
    A camera that allows white balance adjustment is important to remove the unnatural yellow or green tones that some light bulbs cast over images.
  3. Do you plan a lot of out of town or foreign events?
    It may be best to opt for a smaller, lighter camera with built in flash and zoom lens.
  4. Nikon D800Are you planning to print photos for an event portfolio? Do you need special lighting (e.g. speed lights, flashes) or the ability to add more powerful lenses?
    It may be time to upgrade to a high dynamic range camera like the Nikon D800 used by Cvent photographer, Frank Duenas.
  5. If you plan to crop a lot of photos or edit them on a desktop or laptop, select a camera that produces high resolution photos. Resolution, which is stated in megapixels (MP), represents the amount of detail in a photo. A megapixel is 1 million pixels.

    Compare each photo on the left taken with a Lumix DMC-FZ70 with the photo on the right taken with a Nikon D800.

    What differences do you see in detail and colour saturation? The differences would show up even more in print:

Slinky Light FixturesSlinkiesCvent Twitter LoungeSelfie Zone

  1. Will many photos require flash?
    A camera with a horseshoe to attach an extra light would likely be a good investment if a lot of events take place at night or in dark spaces. 

Opening Party GuestsOpening Party GuestsOpening Party LumixOpening Party Cvent Summit

With subdued lighting at a party or nightclub, a high dynamic range camera with separate lighting makes a big difference in terms of image brightness.

Read 3 Photography Tips for Events on Cvent  Event Blog.

Photo Credits: Panasonic, Nikon, Executive Oasis International, Cvent

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