Attending a tradeshow is a great opportunity to learn, make new contacts, and promote your brand. We spend so much time preparing tradeshow deliverables like graphics, presentations and collateral that it’s easy to forget that it's also a prime opportunity to take photos.
Taking pictures may not be the first thing on your mind when you're busy running a booth, but posting about your experience on your company's blog or social accounts will show followers that you have your finger on the pulse of your industry. However, if the pictures you post are sloppy, you might just end up looking unprofessional instead.
Don’t have the budget to bring in a local photographer? Not a problem. Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve your tradeshow pictures so you can look like the expert you are:
1Clean Up Your Booth
At the start of the day, your booth may be perfectly organized, but after many people have stopped by, it won't look as neat. Empty water bottles, flyers or giveaways scattered across the tables and displays moved around will all be glaring distractions in a social media picture.
If you forgot to take pictures before the show floor opened, it's not too late! Take a few minutes to clean up the space, arrange your promotional items and make sure any staff backpacks or belongings are out of sight. Make sure any messaging that’s in the shot (whether it’s on a tradeshow booth design, sell sheet or even t-shirt) is easy to read.
You want to give the impression of a tempting booth that will impress your followers and make the ones who didn’t attend wish they did.
2Include Employees in Your Shots
Tradeshow pictures can be an excellent way to show the human face behind your company. Take some team pictures, as well as more candid shots of employees interacting with samples or talking to each other in the booth. We recommend doing this earlier in the day when team members have the most energy and look well-rested.
An important point—try to avoid including non-employees in your shots! If they're identifiable, it's a best practice to have them sign a release before using their image in promotional material (and they may not consent). If you do take pictures of visitors at your booth, try to get their backs or profiles as they chat with one of your team members.
3Pay Attention to Technical Factors
Professional photographers take into account a lot of factors when on a shoot—lighting, composition, camera type, etc. It's unlikely you'll have much control over these factors when taking your tradeshow photos, but that's ok! Here are some easy things you can do to improve your chances of getting a great photo:
- Take a LOT of pictures — Most phones or digital cameras will have plenty of storage space for photos, so there's no reason not to take a lot. For each shot that you set up, take 5+ pictures. In between pictures, move a little bit forward or back, allow the camera to refocus and try framing the shot slightly differently. If you supply a few options to a graphic designer after you get back, they will be able to choose the best fit or even composite the best parts of each photo into one image.
- Make sure to get some close-ups — Even though cellphone camera resolution these days is quite high, there’s still only so much enhancing one can do on a zoomed-out photo. It’s a good idea to take photos of one scene from both near and far away. Taking some close-ups of your marketing materials or products could even lead to a photo worthy of going on one of your product pages.
- Try different angles — The first impulse when using a camera phone is usually to hold the phone slightly below eye level. Instead, try raising it high, or crouching down to take a low angle shot to make your shots more interesting.
- Seek out good lighting — This can be hard to control in a tradeshow setting, so your best bet is to try lots of different options. When taking photos of the booth staff, have them try out different positions relative to the closest light source, or even take some photos of the team outside if the weather is nice.
4Don’t Just Take Photos of Your Booth
At many tradeshows, there's so much more going on besides visiting your booth. Maybe people from your organization are attending a breakout session, or hosting a talk or customer dinner —these are all great opportunities to take more photos. The more relevant shots you can get throughout the event, the better and more cohesive the image will be of your company as an expert in your field.
Where to Use Your Tradeshow Pictures
Now that you’ve gotten the most bang for your buck at a tradeshow – including taking all those incredible photos, how are you going to use them?
There are many ways to leverage them; here are some ideas:
- Write a blog article about your tradeshow takeaways and include the photos.
- Create many social media posts talking about things you learned or saw at the tradeshow, illustrating them with pictures.
- Use the photos to promote your company's presence at the same event next year and give followers a sneak peek of what they'll learn by visiting your booth.
- Use more general photos throughout the year as part of your social media presence. For example, a close-up of your products arranged on the booth table could support many types of social posts.
Get out there and take some pictures!