Suggestions for Conference Photographers

To ensure that we use the highest quality photographs possible in the Journal, we thought that it might be advantageous to put forth the following tips for conference photographers.

  • Make sure the subject does not blend with the background.
  • Candid photographs may be fine for some things, but not for conference presenters. (They invariably have their mouths open.) The photographs of the presenters should be posed, preferably in front of a light colored, flat finish surface. In order that the presenters are readily identifiable, they should be facing the photographer and close enough that the presenters occupy as much of the photograph as possible.
  • If necessary, be sure to match the flash to the type of lens and lens setting. A wide-angle lens with the wrong type of flash will produce pictures with dark corners. If the flash and lens and lens f-stop settings are not close together, the pictures could be either too light or too dark. Point and shoot cameras do not have flash units capable of taking long shots.
  • Watch the background! You could end up with photos of people with plants growing out of their heads. Polished wood paneling on the walls can produce flash reflections like a mirror. A projection screen can also confuse an automatic flash.
  • Ensure that photographers test their cameras, indoors and outdoors, before the conference begins. Many photographs received from recent conferences were out of focus. This could be a problem with an auto-focus camera or a photographer with a minor vision problem using a manual-focus camera. Electronic enhancement cannot improve the focus.
  • Ensure that the number of photographers is adequate to cover the technical sessions and the social events. Ensure that enough photographers make a commitment to be available throughout the duration of the conference.
  • There should be two photographers available for the authors’ breakfast each morning, or when the presenters gather before a track/workshop. These are the best times to get group photos of the chairmen and the authors.
  • Prior to the conference, prepare a checklist of the chairmen, authors, presenters, officers, etc. to be photographed. Ensure that photographers identify, by name, the people in the photographs they take (in the right order) immediately after taking them. Review the checklist after each day to ensure that you do not miss anyone, or waste time by taking unnecessary photos of the same person.
  • The importance of taking good pictures of the sponsors’/vendors’ displays cannot be over emphasized. Ensure that photos are taken by more than one photographer, or at least with more than one camera. This is an area where extra time should be invested to ensure that good quality photographs are obtained. The photographs should also include the vendors’ representatives. Do not forget to get their names!!
  • Our current printer requires everything in an electronic format and requires that digital photos have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. A photograph that looks good on a computer monitor, typically 72 dpi, does not necessarily look good printed at 600 dpi.
  • This suggestion is for the Conference Host as well as the photographers. Request that the recipients of any awards remain after the awards banquet for a photo session. There have been occasions when there were NO usable photographs of the award recipients from the awards banquet. Having no usable photographs from the awards banquet can result in photographs as much as 15 years old being used in the awards write-ups.
  • The quality of digital photos usually cannot be improved without introducing flaws (“artifacts”) to some extent. Electronic enhancement cannot make up for poor photography.