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How to Get the Most Out of Your Event Photos

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Marketing is all about how you communicate your value to potential customers.

Think about the visual front you present. Does it represent your brand, products and services? Does it entice your potential customers to think, “This looks inexpensive, let’s find out how cheap we can get it” or “Wow, I wonder how cool they make my event?”

If you can’t properly communicate your value to consumers, why should they choose you?

Think, now, about the most effective way to communicate. Words are, of course, a large part of your communication and marketing. But words aren’t the first things to catch consumers’ attention.

Enter photos.

Up Your Photography Game

Great photos are some of the most important components of an email blast, advertisement, website home page—in fact, photos are so important that they play a dominant role in every social media platform out there. Even Instagram was born on the idea that people want photos more than anything, and it’s one of the fastest growing social media sites of all time! In fact, there have been over 40 billion photos uploaded to the platform since launching in 2010.

Here are three ways to get great photography to sell your catering services:

1. Hire a Professional Photographer

It’s not unrealistic to hire a photographer for one day to take photos at three or four separate events. Plan this on a day when you have events that are going to represent what you can do (at venues that are somewhat near each other). This way, you get a variety of photos, you will own the rights to each one and you can ask the photographer for specific photos, such as close-ups of food, photos of guests enjoying the food, centerpieces, décor, the waitstaff, etc. By doing it this way, you can get the most from your photography budget.

As a subset of this idea, if you are near a college or university with an arts program, there are probably many amateur photographers you could hire at a less expensive rate to take photos at your events.

2. Ask the Event Photographer for Rights

Oftentimes, hosts will hire their own photographer, which is especially true for weddings. By contacting the photographer or the hosts themselves, you can ask to use some of the photos in exchange for a link back to the photographer’s website. This is a very popular way to get professional photos. First, you will want to ask the client for approval to use the photos. Here is an example of a client request for wedding photos.

Hello [CLIENT NAME],

Hope all is well with you and [SPOUSE]! I recently received the notification that your wedding gallery was available to view. The pictures are absolutely beautiful! If you wouldn’t mind, we would love to be able to use some for our marketing materials and feature your wedding on our blog.

If this is okay with you, please let me know and I’ll reach out to [PHOTOGRAPHER NAME]

Thank you in advance!

Sincerely,
[NAME]

After client permission, reach out to the photographer. Here is a sample script you can use to ask for the photos:

Good morning!

My name is [NAME] and I work on the Special Events Team at [CATERING COMPANY NAME].

I met one of your studio photographers, [NAME] on [DATE], at [LOCATION] for the [EVENT NAME]. It was such a beautiful event and I am sure that countless priceless moments were captured of the evening.

I spoke with [CLIENT NAME] and he/she gave me the green light to contact you to see if you could share some photos from the event with us. We like to showcase our work, and it is professionals like you who capture what we do so well. You are more than welcome to leave your signature or watermark. I was given one of the event cards with the event name and password to access the wedding photo gallery when available – am I able to download photos from the site?

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,
[NAME]

BG Events and Catering Blog with Photographer Credits
Be sure to give your photographer a shout out when using their photos no matter the medium.

3. Have Your Team Take Photos

This route is definitely not as likely to get high-quality photos to use in your marketing pieces or on your website unless you have a really nice camera and someone who is experienced in photography. However, there are some companies fortunate enough to have someone on staff with this skill, in which case, he/she should be out on multiple jobs every month capturing high-quality photos of your food presentations and your staff in action!

How Photo Management Will Help Your Business

We know photos are important. They sell your value by showing people your events and catering in ways that words simply can’t.

But what good are photos if they just sit on memory cards, random folders on your hard drive or in the cloud?

Proper management and maintenance of your photo collection is just as important as having quality photos in the first place.

So now what?

2018, like any other, brings the promise of a more organized year, and we would like to help you translate that into your photo management. Make this a goal, because it truly will help your business in the following ways:

  1. You will know exactly where your photos are when you need to use them for things like:
    • Marketing pieces
    • Website and content updates/posts
    • Social media posts
    • Client proposals
    • Showing event staff a certain setup
    • Replicating last year’s or past events exactly
    • Documenting a venue layout
    • And more!
  2. You can tag photos with a string of keywords, such as “Hot Hors d’oeuvres” or “Cocktail Reception” so that you can retrieve them immediately when needed for that specific purpose.
  3. You can save photos based on the date, month, year and venue of the event so that you can reference the event quickly when needed.
  4. You can categorize folders based on the type of event, such as “Weddings” or “Holiday Parties.”
  5. And you can do so much more (in so much less time).

Photo Management Options

When it comes to managing your photos, you can imagine that there are countless options. Here, we discuss four of the more “popular” ways to store photos, which methods you should try and which ones you can skip.

Flickr

We love Flickr because you can do so many things within it, namely organize the photos by whatever works best for you (e.g., by type of event, date of event, name of event, etc.).

Plus, you can tag each photo with multiple “tags” so that when you are in need of finding a certain photo (or photos) of a “food station,” or even more specifically, an “Asian fusion food station,” you simply have to type that in your search bar and every photo with that tag will pop up, regardless of what folder you’ve stored it in. With the option for multiple albums and a variety of ways to organize based on how you want to use the photos, Flickr has a lot to offer a catering company.

 

Google Photos

Good things come from Google, and Google Photos is no different. It is not only a great photo management tool but is also equipped with top-of-the-line technology to identify your uploaded photos. What does this mean, you ask?

This program is able to identify specific items within your photos without having to personally plug in tags yourself. For example, looking for a gorgeous table setting photo you took last weekend at a special event? Just search the term “table setting” and poof, it is at your fingertips. Search by color, date, season, location and general item name. The possibilities are endless.

Not only is Google Photos a tagless system but it also has seamless cloud storage and allows for easy sharing and collaborating, Chromecast capabilities, facial recognition, photo editing and album creation. You even automatically receive 15 GB free of storage if you don’t already have a Google account.

Hard Drive Folders

Saving solely on your internal server or on your computer’s hard drive is the old-fashioned way of managing photos, and while it still works for some companies, we don’t recommend it. There are so many other systems that allow you to do more with your photos. It’s also very difficult to find what you need quickly, especially when you have a large collection, because you only have the option of saving the photos in a single folder. That gets time-consuming (and frustrating) when you go back into your photos to retrieve ones in contention for your marketing.

Dropbox

Let’s be clear about Dropbox; we think this is a great way to share information and larger files such as photos. In fact, we use Dropbox to receive photos from clients, but we never keep the photos there. We always transfer them to another photo management system, tag them appropriately and save them elsewhere. Dropbox is best for file transfers and sharing, not organizing for frequent usage.

How to Use Flickr for Photo Management

Essentially, Flickr stores photos in the cloud, but it also gives you the option to use so many tools to help the organizational process, and even more so, the retrieval process when you’re in need of a certain photo for one of your projects.

Here’s how to use Flickr in four easy steps:

  1. Go to flickr.com and click to sign up. Then fill in your information in the appropriate fields.
  2. Once you’ve confirmed, keep your phone handy, because they will text you a code to complete your sign up. Type in that code and submit.
  3. Congrats, you’re on Flickr! You just have to confirm a few things with your profile, including a username and contact email address.
  4. You’re on! Either drag and drop your photos from other files on your computer or select the files to upload manually.

How to manage photos with flickr

To learn the ins and outs of Flickr, including navigation and all of the great tools you can use, we suggest visiting the help desk.

Tagging Photos in Flickr

Once you’ve uploaded your photos, you have the option to organize and tag them all, which we highly recommend. After all, each photo will showcase different things from the same event, so tagging the photos becomes extremely important when you want to revisit and use those photos.

Here are some tags to consider when tagging your photos on Flickr:

  • Event Type: drop-off, corporate event, special event, wedding, picnic, etc.
  • Client/Event Name
  • Venue Name
  • Month/Year: for example, September 2015
  • Elements Involved: food, décor, centerpieces, entertainment, activities, grilling, indoor/outdoor, etc.
  • Orientation of Photo: portrait or landscape
  • Type of Meal: breakfast, lunch, dessert, passed hors d’oeuvres, cocktail reception, etc.
  • Type of Service: buffet, food stations, plated, passed hors d’oeuvres, sweets table, etc.
  • Food Items: for example, chicken champagne or bacon-wrapped scallops
  • Season: spring, summer, fall, winter
  • Photographer Name (if applicable)
  • Holiday (if applicable)
  • Color Schemes: for example, red & blue or black & white
  • Type of Shot: close-up, panorama, action, candid
  • Website Worthy: ‘five-star’ photos perfect for website sliders and pages
  • Whatever else seems appropriate!
Many of these tags may require multiple words per tag. To do so, simply put quotation marks around the entire phrase such as, “chocolate covered strawberries.”

How to Use Google Photos for Photo Management

Here’s how to use Google Photos from your desktop in two easy steps:

  1. Create or log in to your Google account.
  2. Then go to photos.google.com/ to start uploading photos. Either drag and drop your photos from other files on your computer or select the files to upload manually.

You can also use Google photos from your Android or Apple device: download it here.

To learn more about Google Photos or get answers to your questions about using this platform, we suggest visiting the help community.

Tagging Photos in Google Photos

Before you get too excited that Google can do it all with photo management, we have to let you know that to really make the most of your system, there is some additional work required. In the future, if you will want to search photos by venue, client name or event style, you will need to place that information in the “info” tab under the description in each individual photo.

Here are some additional tags to consider when tagging your photos on Google photos:

  • Event Type: wedding, corporate event, special event, drop-off, fundraiser, gala, picnic, etc.
  • Client/Event Name
  • Venue Name
  • Type of Service: buffet, food stations, plated, passed hors d’oeuvres, sweets table, etc.
  • Menu-Specific Name: for example, chicken champagne or bacon-wrapped scallops
  • Season: spring, summer, fall, winter
  • Photographer Name (if applicable)
  • Holiday (if applicable)

Tagging Photos in Google Photos
Fun fact: Not only can you search for terms, you can also search by emojis. Try 🙂 to find happy guests and employee photos or 🎂 to find images of the beautiful cake your culinary staff created during wedding season.

We know 2018 is going to be a very organized year. Besides photo management, what else are you looking to organize this year? Whatever the case, there is probably a system that has an answer for you, and maybe we can help with another step-by-step article, so let us know in the comments below!

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Meet Nuphoriq
Nuphoriq is a marketing company for caterers and event venues. And we're fun to work with! We work alongside everyone from family businesses to the Leading Caterers of America and partner with organizations like the ICA, LCA and Catersource.
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