Things to Do During Chicago Winter

Things to Do During Chicago Winter

Friends, we are happy to report that there ARE things to do during Chicago winter! As photographers and residents of Chicago, we know our city inside and out. So, our team compiled a list of fabulous suggestions that will liven up your scenery – even during the gross months like February and March.

(By the way, does anyone else think of a mint-flavored Chex Mix when the weather forecast is “a wintery mix”?! We digress.)

Without further ado, here are our top-rated suggestions!

View of South Loop in Chicago
No matter what you think of the weather, Chicago architecture is ALWAYS in season! Check out this gorgeous view of the South Loop!

Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon is one of the most classic things to do during Chicago winter!

This is one of the most popular things to do during Chicago winter – and for good reason! This unique skating ribbon is located in one of Chicago’s beautiful Maggie Daley Park, and is a place where ice skaters at any skill level can come out to relax, skate, and take in the Chicago skyline. Maggie Daley Park describes it as a “multi-sensory experience” where you can take in the rolling landscape, and then break to sip on a cup of hot chocolate!

Garfield Park Conservatory is a wonderful way to find 75 degree weather all year round.

If you are craving greenery and humidity while in Chicago, the Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the best things to experience during Chicago winter. Over 100 years old, this “landscape art under glass” location is one of the largest conservatories in the country.

Couple at Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago
This photograph, by our team at Rebecca Marie Photography, was taken in December in Chicago. But, you would never know from all the tropical plants in the fern room at Garfield Park Conservatory!

Also, it happens to be one of our favorite places to photograph people! Our sister brand, Rebecca Marie Photography, specializes in weddings and engagements. Rebecca and our team members adore the lush walkways, cactus room, and constant 75 degree climate! (If you’d like to see more of our work, check out our @teamrebeccamarie Instagram!)

Couple walking at Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago
There is something wonderful about this room housing hundreds of native desert plants.

The Chicago Riverwalk during Chicago winter is absolutely breathtaking.

Truth be told, you might need to walk outside to take in the full length of Chicago’s newly expanded Riverwalk. One of our favorite spots along the Chicago Riverwalk is River Roast, a rustic-meets-modern restaurant with warming comfort foods and a perfect view of the new Riverwalk expansion. 

There are so many places to stop, duck inside, and enjoy a beautiful view of the river. If if suits your fancy, you can grab a warming cocktail or glass of wine.

Table decor at River Roast in Chicago
A cozy ambiance can liven up any room! From Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, to any “just cause” celebration, the Chicago Riverwalk is a wonderful place to celebrates!
Room at River Roast in Chicago
The rustic interior of River Roast walks straight out to a beautiful view of the Chicago Riverwalk.

Speaking of warming cocktails and wine… you should see the outside of:

Bridgeport Art Center where you can escape the cold inside of a cozy globe!

Warming globes at Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago
The team at Venue Logic is responsible for adding these cozy globes to the entryway of Bridgeport Art Center! Just wait ’til you see the inside…

During colder months, this destination will actually construct outdoor warming globes you can sit inside of while enjoying your old fashioned. Truly, the definition of cozy!

And, on the 3rd Friday of the month, Bridgeport Art Center hosts open studios, where you can walk through artists’ studios who have residence in their space.

Inside of warming globes at Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago
Craft bourbon cocktails in a warm, intimate space? Yes, yes, and yes.

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour is one of the top-rated things to do during Chicago winter!

Conference attendees on Chicago Architectural Boat Tour
The views from the top deck of the Chicago Architectural Boat tour are worth it, even if you duck back inside to lounge by a window right afterwards.

On these year-round tours, a knowledgeable guide will describe the history of various buildings in Chicago as you pass them on a double-decker river boat. Don’t worry – you don’t have to sit on the chilly top deck! The lower level interior has cushy seats where you can still see out the window and listen to your guide while sipping a hot drink from the bar.

Group photo on Chicago Architectural Boat Tour
The White Dress Society team took a group photo on the top deck after their retreat!
Panelists at White Dress Society Retreat in Chicago
Panelists at the retreat inspired wedding professionals to incorporate their city’s culture during any season.

We hope you check out The White Dress Society full gallery to see even more from their retreat in Chicago!

The Chicago Music Scene will lift your spirits!

One of our favorite classic Chicago venues is House of Blues! This incredible space hosts numerous musicians each week, and has tiers of seating areas where you can pitch up to see the performance. We photographed the Jordan Kahn Orchestra launch party at House of Blues, and they rocked the house.

Jordan Kahn Orchestra performs at House of Blues Chicago
Jordan Kahn’s launch party was filled with dramatic moments like this! They rocked the stage.

Be sure to check out this Fortune article, featuring Jordan Kahn AND our photography from the House of Blues!

Jordan Kahn Orchestra performing at House of Blues in Chicago
We love the view from the balcony seats at The House of Blues!

If you want to learn more about Jordan Kahn, here’s his rockstar website!

And last, but definitely not least,

Chicago Museums are a great way to experience art and culture in Chicago.

There are so many options here depending on what fascinates your intellect. Everything from The Field Museum (check out Fifth Third’s event among Maximo’s skeleton!], The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Adler Planetarium… each of these institutions contains an archive to satisfy your curiosity. 

Field Museum special event for Fifth Third Bank in Chicago
The Field Museum Special Events team creatively lit the interior during Fifth Third’s event. We think it looked pretty epic.
Field Museum's Maximo in Chicago at Fifth Third Bank event
Maximo, the dino skeleton you see here, is one of the Field Museum’s most recent (and largest!) displays!
Adler Planetarium Cafe corporate event
The cafe at the Adler Planetarium is one of our favorite museum retreats, and a Chicago favorite for corporate events!
Bride and groom at Art Institute Chicago impressionism gallery
Our team at Rebecca Marie Photography captured a wedding at Chicago’s Art Institute – and it was the perfect space.
Chicago wedding at Art Institute Chicago
We love the sweeping staircase in the center of the historic wing of The Art Institute. The building itself is a work of art.
Conference outing at Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
The Museum of Science and Industry is wonderfully interactive!
Conference goers at Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
Conference attendees from the APA conference at McCormick Place had a chance to take in the multiple exhibits and floors of The Museum of Science and Industry when they came to Chicago.

To wrap up… 

Chicago in the winter might not sound ideal, but there are definitely ways to keep your conference attendees and yourself engaged AND warm! We love the new ideas we see amazing planners come up with. Send us an email! We’d be happy to connect you with our favorite DMC and planning teams here to make sure your next event is amazing no matter the weather!

Reach out if you have any questions about your event photography needs or about things to do during the winter months in Chicago.

In the meantime, we might just be at London House (you should see our Case Study from The Knot Workshop!) sipping a warming winter cocktail ourselves… Cheers!

How to Spoil Your Team in Q1 – With Examples!

How to Spoil Your Team in Q1 – With Examples!

It’s the new year and everyone is finally back at the office! Q1 might take a little bit more time to get back into the swing of things, but also might just be the perfect time to show your appreciation for your team. The good news? Figuring out how to spoil your team in Q1 doesn’t have to be difficult. And, the return on investment is simple: people who feel appreciated value their work. This is a win-win in sooo many ways.

In fact, according to a recent report (2010, Robert Half International) cited by Business Insider Magazine, we know employee appreciation is a heckofa* positive thing (*our word, not theirs). Over 50% of managers and HR reps believe that employee appreciation is a HUGE opportunity to improve morale, productivity, loyalty, and innovation in their company.

So, how do you achieve this? We have a few ideas on how to spoil your team in Q1… with photographs to prove it!

Spoil Your Team with Intimate Lunch Meetings in Unique Spaces

This intimate lunch meeting at the historic Lyric Opera of Chicago had a feeling of regal importance, yet decor was whimsical and fun. Personalized place settings and long tables made for a conversational, banquet-style outing!

We are putting this one first on the list simply because it is one of our favorites. For smaller teams or departments, finding a space that inspires can TOTALLY alter the tone of the first meeting of Q1. From hosting a lunch at The Lyric Opera to dining in a small conference room with a view in Downtown Chicago, we’ve seen how innovative spaces can completely alter the mood of a meeting. There aren’t a ton of people to coordinate or account for, which allows a myriad of flexibility. This applies to the intimate design, floral, or even personal mini champagne bottles you might coordinate for your event! Your team will feel pampered. You’ll feel accomplished. And, the camaraderie of being together (and feeling a tiny bit epic about it) goes a long way.

Team members take a group photo at The Lyric Opera in Chicago, a great example of how to spoil your team in q1!
After their lunch meeting at The Lyric Opera, team members took a photo together in the space to remind them of their experience! This is absolutely a great case for having a photographer capture your Q1 events!
Chicago intimate meeting for The White Dress Society
For this off-site for The White Dress Society, team members had white-themed, on-brand decor that made the space feel like their own.
Partyslate company luncheon in Chicago
Personalization is key! At this celebratory corporate luncheon, each team member had their own mini bottle of champagne waiting for them at the table upon arrival!
Personalized mug at White Dress Society meeting in Chicago, a great example of how to spoil your team in q1
Speaking of personalization, team members at this event received mugs with their names printed! That’s a wonderful way to show appreciation.
Partyslate meeting at historic warehouse in Chicago
We LOVE converted warehouse spaces with exposed brick, high windows, and a feeling of a industrial importance. What better way to liven the space than with succulents and colorful decor?

Plan a Company Off-Site (with memorable activities…)

Corporate outing to Whirlyball in Chicago, a great example of how to spoil your team in q1!
Professional photography can do a few things your iPhone can’t… like capturing a close-up of your team about to snag a Whirlyball mid-air! This was such a memorable outing after two days of conferencing in Chicago.

If the majority of your team works 9-5 at a desk, one of the best things you can do to spoil them is taking them away from the normal routine! In fact, hosting a day-long outing at Whirlyball, Top Golf, or even a dedicated Ping Pong bar like SPIN in Chicago is a great way to get your team engaged. Added bonus: If you hire a photographer, you’ll be able to look back and laugh at all the memories from your outing… and then pick your favorites for your social media narrative!

Corporate outing to SPIN ping pong in Chicago
At SPIN! in Chicago, you can take your team to face-off against each other alongside ping pong pros! This company had their logo inscribed on the ping pong tables, for that added touch of engaging branding – and it looks fantastic in their photos!
Company outing to Whirlyball in Chicago
Definitely a non-traditional group photo that looks FABULOUS in that post-conference wrap-up email.

Spoil Your Team with Massages

Massages available for conference-goers at Langham hotel in Chicago, great example of how to spoil your team in q1
At this Chicago conference at The Langham hotel, attendees could take a break to enjoy a complimentary massage or manicure before heading to the next breakout session.

Don’t even question this one – we’ve actually taken headshots at a conference for attendees who had a massage upstairs just an hour prior, and everyone was SO relaxed! (Not to mention, they still had their best professional look on!) Working a job in any industry almost BY DEFINITION causes some level of stress, and massages help to assuage the tension almost instantly. Spoil your team by planning to hire massage experts for your next conference, or bring their expertise directly into your office! Obviously, pick a day without client meetings, or else plan to offer massages to your clients as well… it will be too luxurious an opportunity to pass up!

Give Your Team VIP Access

Company outing to see Bears stadium in Chicago
Attendees at this Chicago conference took an outing with a private tour of Soldier Field, the Bears Stadium! We are pretty sure that the photos showing the looks on everyone’s faces says it best.

This is probably one of the most direct ways to make your team feel extra important. Whether spoiling your team with tickets to a sporting event, access to a unique Chicago museum, or even a private concert, VIP access makes one feel… well… like a Very Important Person!

Conference attendees tour the Bears stadium in Chicago
…And this happened when everyone first arrived to the stadium. That’s how you VIP! (VIP as a verb, in this context 🙂
APA conference attendees visit The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, a great example of how to spoil your team in q1!
At the APA (American Psychological Association) conference in Chicago, attendees visited The Museum of Science and Industry after hours. Our photography helped capture epic moments like this, and the image below.
APA conference attendees visit The Museum of Science and Industry
Two APA members stood with their tote bags learning about science and technology at The Museum of Science and Industry.
Conference attendee visits Soldier Field in Chicago a great example of how to spoil your team in q1
Need we say more? It feels good to be a VIP for a day!
Conference attendees enjoy a private concert at Wintrust Arena in Chicago
Salesforce conference attendees witnessed a private performance at Wintrust Arena after the first two days of conferencing. This is a fantastic example of how to spoil your team in Q1!
Conference attendee dances with roller girls
This hilarious moment happened when a Salesforce conference attendee joined to dance with the roller girls! …If you look closely, her cell phone completely flew out of her pocket… and didn’t break!

Time for New Headshots

Speaking of win-win ways of how to spoil your team in Q1, you should schedule new headshots! While headshots might feel like another necessary procedure, employees will appreciate the opportunity to have a new, professional photo on the website alongside an updated list of their accomplishments in the new year. If you’re worried it might be a lot to coordinate, just send your team our Gold Grid guide for How to Prepare for Your Headshots! Let your photographer (or us) do the rest.

Authentic female headshot by exposed brick wall
One of our strong suits is natural, authentic headshots. For the team at Venue Logic, we came to their company party and made sure each individual looked their best!
Venue Logic group photo in front of exposed brick, a great example of how to spoil your team in q1!
Of course, group photos are always a great idea when everyone on your team is dressed and ready!

Still trying to figure out your strategy for how to spoil your team in Q1? Reach out to us and we will be happy to share additional expertise! Plus, we can give some pretty great reasons why you might consider hiring a photographer at your Q1 events.

Do I Need Flash Photography for My Speaker?

Do I Need Flash Photography for My Speaker?

“I’m planning a conference and our speaker has requested to have no flash photography during their presentation. Will the photos be okay?”

We are asked this question so often. And, we always want to create the best possible photos in the least disruptive way. Just like you, we want your attendees to remain focused on the main event. We agree – there is nothing worse than the photographer who stands two feet in front of you blasting a flash like a disco dance strobe directly into your eyes while you’re announcing your thoughtful and exciting plans for the next fiscal year. All of a sudden, the whole situation feels distracting, rude, and unprofessional.

The good news is this: We never do that. It’s not our style, and it never will be.

However, there are some situations when non-intrusive flash can be useful. If you are wondering, “Do I need flash photography for my speaker?” here’s a list of questions to consider when planning your event:

Keynote Speaker at APA Convention in Chicago
When the light feels right, your speaker will feel right too. This was one of our favorite moments from the APA Convention in Chicago, at McCormick Place!

Is my Speaker presenting during the day in a venue with a lot of natural window light?

If your venue has rows of windows on the side (note: NOT behind the speaker), and/or your event is happening in the middle of the day, we can probably rock it out with available light.

That said, are you sure it’s ENOUGH light?

Consider this: Does the room feel bright enough even before turning on those typical overhead, fluorescent lights? As a guest, would you be able to see the presenter without any of those lights on? Then, no flash needed. Even in a brightly lit room with windows during the day, there are still some variables that might make you want to consider having flash. So, be sure to read on:

Female speaker at Chicago's White Dress Society Meeting
While this room had some window light, we used flash to cancel out some of the yellow light coming from the overhead chandelier.

None of us want to accentuate the lack of sleep under our eyes… which very well might LOOK the case with overhead lights!

Overhead lights are common, but definitely aren’t the most flattering. Flash photography at your event can help minimize those harsh shadows. 

Chicago presenter pauses to laugh while at the podium
This presentation took place in a windowless conference room. Our flash helped to illuminate the speaker’s face and make him stand out from the typical, beige background.

My speaker is in a bright room, but has a slideshow presentation.

Even if you’re in the brightest warehouse space in Chicago, if the speaker is giving a presentation with slides, you probably want to curtain the windows so attendees can see the information. If you want the slides to be legible in photos (especially when they are the brightest thing in the room), flash for can help. 

Speaker shows slides at Chicago event
At this event, flash was super helpful to ensure that both the slide presentation and the speaker could be seen. Without flash, the speaker would have been too dark against the bright screen behind him.
Panelists at a Chicago corporate event
With the powerful stage lights during this panel discussion, we could see the panelists and the projection behind them.

Is my Speaker presenting while standing right in front of a window?

Without any flash photography, your speaker will be silhouetted and dark against the window light behind them. It will be difficult to see the expression on their face, let alone their identity. We highly recommend flash in this scenario.

Is my Speaker presenting in a windowless conference room or convention center room? Do I need flash photography for my speaker if this is the case?

If yes, then there are definitely other variables to consider. The vast majority of our events take place in these kind of environments – hotels, convention centers, historic venues with a touch of stained glass. Each space has a different set-up, and your event planning team is probably already asking specific questions related to the overall level of technical production and impact you want your event to have.

Are there stage lights that come with the venue for the presentation?

If yes, it ultimately comes down to the amount of light and direction of light from the available stage lights. Sometimes, available stage lighting provided by the venue can work well to highlight your Speaker, but in other cases, the lighting may not look the best in photos. In some theatre venues in Chicago, the lighting works wonderfully for a stage performance or off-the-cuff improv show, but does not have the level of professionalism you may want for your CEO.

Speaker presenting at Salesforce Connections at McCormick Place in Chicago
During the Salesforce Connections event at McCormick Place in Chicago, lighting crews flooded an entire circular fireside chat-style keynote space. Even attendees in the first several rows were well-illuminated.
Panelists discussing at Chicago event
While this photo demonstrates an engaging moment between these two speakers, the small lighting units in this theater space cast dark shadows under the speakers’ eyes. Due to the nature of the event, we were unable to utilize flash here, but this photo proves as an excellent example of the limitations of some types of stage lighting.

If you want to talk through the best options for lighting, send us an email!

Did my team hire a lighting crew to install stage lights specifically tailored for the presentation?

If you’re bringing in a pro-team (like Frost Lighting in Chicago) to install lighting for your presenter’s stage, specifically tailored to your brand, odds are they’ve got it covered. But sometimes, spot lights are too small and don’t always cover the stage.

That said, here’s one thing you want to make sure of: Ask your lighting team to create an even flood of light across the stage. If your speaker wanders while they talk, you want them to be well-lit regardless of where they stand.

Additionally, we have one more note on stage lighting. Ask about the color of light. This is definitely a factor we can discuss with you! Overly cool or overly warm colored lights might work for stage illumination, but are not always ideal in photographs.

Panelists discussing topics at Swisshotel Chicago
While this dramatic and colorful lighting looked fantastic from the audience’s perspective, the extreme color choices did show up in our photographs. The green cast from one of the stage lights was very noticeable.
Panelists discussing topics at Swisshotel in Chicago during corporate conference
And the light colors in the background kept changing throughout the presentations and panelists. By no means do we consider this a “bad” photograph (we can absolutely adapt to most any scenario!), but it does make a good case for you to make sure you’ve asked about stage lighting and color with your lighting team prior to your event.
Keynote speaker at APA Convention in Chicago at McCormick Place
At this event, the background was super colorful, but speakers were lit in with natural-looking white light. No green light issues here.

If we use flash, it will be minimal, or used to simply highlight a few of the seated guests as they engage with each other and the presenter.  Which brings us to the last question:

Do I want photos of attendees while they are listening to the speaker or getting into break-out sessions?

Most likely, your guests are sitting in the darkest part of the room. You’ve beautifully lit the stage for your speaker and naturally, the rest of the room is dark. If you’d like photos of your attendees, flash can help! And it won’t blind them.

Attendee engaging at Chicago conference
This is a great example of flash used in a way that isn’t easily noticed! This conference attendee was in the midst of an engaging conversation that never stopped while we were taking his picture.
Engaged conference attendees in Chicago
Just like you, we love seeing a full room of engaged conference attendees!

Okay, so it sounds like I might want to consider talking to my speaker about incorporating flash photography. What kind of experience can I expect from Gold Grid Studios?

Generally, we place our flashes out of the way of attendees and the speaker, raised up high and nowhere near eye-level, in the back or sides of the room. We use flash in a non-direct way that won’t blind your speaker, and won’t call attention to itself.

In most scenarios that are not equipped with professional stage lighting tailored to your event, we do recommend considering flash. We want to make photos that you’ll feel excited to share on social media, on your next company-wide email, and on your website! We take pride in our craft. And, we know that you want your public-facing imagery to show the pride you take in yours.

We know this might all sound like a LOT of variables to consider. Don’t hesitate to contact us! We are happy to talk through all of the possible variables with you. We’ve photographed inside of countless event spaces in Chicago over the years, and have become familiar with the lighting solutions that work best in any scenario. Our goal? For you to receive the best possible photos for your event.

Male Speaker presenting at bank conference in Chicago

Reach out to us if you have any questions, and we’ll get to them in a flash! (Yep, we went there…)

Salesforce Connections at McCormick Place

Salesforce Connections at McCormick Place

Salesforce Connections at McCormick Place was a 3-day conference of 13,000+ attendees. However, it provided an engaging experience for each and every one of it’s guests. First, Salesforce transformed McCormick Place (the nation’s largest conference center!) into an interactive campsite. Salesforce ensured attendees would remember their experience. Second, Salesforce’s iconic outdoor-adventure-themed branding created an engaging, fun space for learning and networking.

Salesforce attendees networking at Salesforce Connections 2019
Salesforce Connections attendees networked in the main hallway at McCormick Place while a live DJ created an inviting ambiance.
Registration area at Salesforce Connections 2019 at McCormick Place.
The registration area included a panoramic banner with Chicago-specific illustrations integrated with Salesforce’s original character illustrations.

Salesforce holds the core idea of meaningful engagement at the heart of its company culture.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that Salesforce was ranked first in Fortune‘s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018 and second in 2019! For Salesforce, it’s not only about their broad steps and research in developer innovation, AI, and cloud-based marketing. At Salesforce Connections at McCormick Place, we witnessed their focus on creative engagement through branding.

Attendees networking at Salesforce Connections 2019 at McCormick Place.
Branded backpacks, fanny packs, and lanyards were a part of the large selection of Salesforce swag we spotted at Salesforce Connections.

What was it like?

Think high tech learning meets outdoor forest adventure. When we go off to summer camp as kids, our parents expect us to come back with new friends. Maybe, we come back with a little more knowledge about the world. Salesforce hosted a conference that excites the same energy as a camp in the woods, but with a focus on technology innovation. After all, companies who have integrated Salesforce’s technology are called “Trailblazers” for a reason!

Attendees at Salesforce Connections 2019 at McCormick Place look at their conference guide.
Playful, branded signage around McCormick Place made it easy to navigate sessions in the large conference space.
At Salesforce Connections, attendees could play an original video game featuring Salesforce’s characters navigating the company’s core missions by going on a virtual outdoor adventure.

Great conferences aren’t possible without great branding.

Salesforce orchestrated a uniquely branded experience by making the space their own. Salesforce transformed each and every room in the conference center.

Presenter shares her insights at Salesforce Connections 2019 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Presenters in the main keynote space shared their insights with attendees on a fireside chat-style platform.
Female panelists at Salesforce Connections at McCormick Place presented their expertise.
Panelists spoke about their experiences and offered their expertise, engaging the room in a conversation about diversity.
The “Trailblazer” sign in the hallway at McCormick Place became an exciting photo-op for conference attendees.

The most immersive space was “Campground”.

This was Salesforce Connections’s trade show in the main exhibit hall in McCormick Place. Landmarks and trailhead signage created an environment perfect for meeting sites and exploring. Additionally, each environment was completely integrated with Salesforce’s iconic branding and signage.

Entrance to Salesforce Connections Campground trade show area at McCormick Place.
The entrance to Salesforces’s Campground trade show area at McCormick Place encouraged attendees to “Blaze Your Trail.” Sound design in the entryway was composed of gurgling brooks, rustling trees, and birds chirping. This thoughtful audio created the feeling of hiking a trail in the woods.
Salesforce Connections Campground tradeshow room at McCormick Place
Campground was the most visited space throughout Salesforce Connections, with bold banners directing the attendee’s experience to each interactive kiosk.

Salesforce kiosks fit the Campground theme as attendees gathered around these inviting, interactive huts.

These stations glowed under banners with each of Salesforce’s core services. That said, these seating areas became home-base for meeting clients and colleagues.

Salesforce's branded networking area.
Forested seating areas allowed guests intimate spaces to network, charge their laptops, and relax.
Treehouse presentation space at Salesforce Connections.
Treehouse was an engaging presentation space in Campground where there was a series of presentations by the Salesforce team. Each presentation focused on education about their services.
Salesforce Connections attendees high five.
Branded landmarks like Treehouse became great meet-up places in the large trade show area of Campground.

Larger sponsor stations like Google’s invited attendees to learn about Salesforce integration. Collaboration across platforms is key to Salesforce’s mission. So, it made sense that attendees could visit each unique sponsor station as its own welcoming retreat.

And, the Salesforce characters were there!

One of our favorite parts was photographing the Salesforce characters (these super cute mascots!) as they walked around Campground. They gave everyone the thrill of seeing an adorable illustration come to life. 

Salesforce characters posing with conference attendee.
A Salesforce Connections attendee poses with the four Salesforce characters, who were extremely popular during each of their appearances throughout the conference.
Salesforce branded fanny pack, speaker, and stuffed animal.
One popular piece of swag at Salesforce Connections was this fanny pack, reading “Leader of the Pack”! Fanny packs, mini speakers, and stuffed animals were available to attendees at the conference.

Are you investing time and resources to create and brand an engaging conference for YOUR attendees?

You can ensure your ROI will last longer with equally engaging photography. With this, photos from the event will remind you and your team how awesome of an experience it was. Then, they will come back year after year.

DJ plays music at Salesforce Connections.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Gold Grid Studios! For us, any conference is a great adventure.

Want to see how Salesforce Chicago makes a positive impact in our community? Click here to read about their outreach on MLK Day in Chicago Public Schools!

Why to Have a Photographer at Your Holiday Party

Why to Have a Photographer at Your Holiday Party

It’s officially party planning season… which means you are probably in the midst of getting ready for this year’s holiday party for your team! There are so many aspects to the planning process to consider: decor, entertainment, cuisine, perhaps an awards presentation, the perfect venue… but have you considered hiring a photographer for your holiday party? 

With all the effort you are putting into planning the event, wouldn’t it be nice to extend the ROI well past the end of the evening? Here are 8 simple ways photography can just do that: 

Photos for your beaming awards recipients! If you have award recipients, you’re celebrating leadership, or individuals on your team who have made a difference in your company, there is no better way to make it “official” than through photographs that are shared in your email newsletters, internal announcement boards, or social media networks. Shout your excitement and appreciation for these award recipients from the rooftops with photos they can even use for their own archives. Not everyone may be able to attend your event, and with photography, your awardees can walk in to work on Monday with continued recognition by the whole office!

Company awards ceremony.
Candid moments like this are wonderful to share after an evening of awards, laughter, and memories.
Company team member receives award.
Beaming associates will be beaming again when they see their accomplishments recognized again in a company-wide email after the event!

Social Media Content: You can control the narrative of the night. With a holiday party photographer capturing all of the night’s events, your employees can enjoy themselves rather than worrying about trying to post on Instagram with your company hashtag. This way, you can curate the most beautiful moments of the night, and keep the late night shenanigans on the dance floor. Plus, if you have any branded giveaways, coffee mugs, or treats at your event, these are always fun to talk about on social!

Company holiday party toast.
This toast happened right before the event officially started, as team members showed off their energy AND metallic sparkles for a kick-off photo for social media!
Speaker presents at company party.
Speeches and presentations at holiday parties are motivating, and show your company leaders in action!

Give a gift to your team through photos: Do your team members often bring their partners or spouses to the holiday party? Team members will appreciate a professional photo of themselves and their significant other dressed up to the nines! Let’s be honest: When was the last time YOU and your partner got all glitzy for an event? Wouldn’t you want to capture yourselves in a professional photo to send to your friends and family? We are strong believers that the super dark and grainy photo from your phone just won’t do it  justice. In fact, our gallery sharing service with Gold Grid Studios makes it super easy for you to share photos with all your attendees without your staff having to do extra work. Simply share a link in a company wide email and we’ll take care of the rest for you! 

Company holiday party couple photo with backdrop.
Decor for this event included a backdrop that was the perfect setting for couples and group photos all night long! Attendees purchased their prints easily and directly online after the event.
Couple attends company holiday party.
Holiday parties are wonderful for letting your team relax, introduce their significant others to each other, and celebrate together. Your holiday party photographer will make a point to capture it all!

Group photos of team leaders. Your leaders will look poised and professional in a beautiful venue, dressed for success. What better time to get everyone together for a group photo?

Company leaders in group photo.
This was a fun group photo that happened after several presentations by team leaders, addressing the whole office with accomplishments of the year.

The Company Archive: Whether a member of your team or a seasoned event-planning DMC like 360 Destination Group is planning your event, you may want photos for archival purposes. What did you do at your holiday party this year? What might you do differently next year? How did you brand the room uniquely to your company? We know you have a lot on your plate with all the daily tasks and meetings at the office, and calling to mind the color and brand of table linens that match a particular floral arrangement you had last year probably won’t be top of mind next year…

Holiday party decor with warm autumn theme.
This autumnal theme was unexpected, warm, inviting, and intimate.
With this unique industrial event space as their venue, this company chose to create a laid-back yet modern atmosphere.
Company holiday party decor centerpiece.
This company decked out their event in colors that represent their brand – bold blues and whites in their floral arrangements as well as furniture selected for the event.

Company Culture: You’re planning an event that’s uniquely fitted for your team, and you know that everything from the decor to entertainment, the theme of the night, and the atmosphere will reflect who you are as a company. Photographs will showcase the spirit of your team, and provide everyone wonderful memories of the night that will speak to your brand and your mission. What new hire isn’t going to be excited about attendees next year’s party once they see all of this fun captured by your holiday party photographer?

Corporate holiday party group photo.
Photos while guests are mixing and mingling are a fun way to capture the excitement of your team before they hit the dance floor!
No matter how often you get to celebrate together, the holiday party is a special and unique time to capture memories of your team.

Need help planning your Holiday Party? Shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to send over a list of some of our most trusted professionals to complete your vendor list! When it comes to events, there really isn’t a merrier time of the year, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you!

How to Prepare for Your Headshots

How to Prepare for Your Headshots

How to prepare for your headshots: Well, you’ve put it off for months (maybe years?) and now it’s finally time to refresh your headshot. Whether you are starting your own business, transitioning to a new position, or just updating your LinkedIn, your headshot is often your first impression. The most common question we get asked is “What do I wear?” You always want to look your best, and sometimes certain clothing styles photograph better than others.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of helpful tips so you can work on your next interview, not fret about your headshot. Obviously, different industries have different expectations, but if you’re looking to play it safe and professional, these 10 Tips outlining how to prepare for your headshot won’t fail you! 

Female business portrait
A fitted blazer is a must – it makes for a clean, professional look that ties the outfit together.

Tip 1: Pick the outfit that makes you feel incredibly confident. We all have one. It’s that dress or blazer that has you checking yourself out in the window reflection as you walk to your next sales meeting. Whatever that outfit is, choose that! “But how formal should it be?” is the follow up question everyone asks the most. Our rule of thumb: Wear whatever it is you would choose for a first new client meeting. I.e. If you don’t show up to meetings in a tie, then skip the tie. If you always have your glasses on, keep ‘em on! 

Male business casual portrait
Take note: he’s not wearing a tie! This decision makes for a casual but modern look without losing professional flair.

Tip 2: Keep it fitted. Loose or ill-fitting clothing will add unnecessary extra weight when viewed in a photo. We aren’t suggesting skin tight clothing, but something with structure and that fits in all the right places is a must.

Female outdoor corporate portrait
This flowy navy blouse is a more casual, relaxed piece, but the flattering V-neck pulls our attention up to her face.

Tip 3: If you’re not sure what color looks best on you, neutrals will always stay classic and keep a headshot looking timeless. When you’re considering how to prepare for your headshots, you can never go wrong with blues and grays are our favorite suggestion for not being quite as heavy as all black.

Male outdoor corporate portrait
His blue button-down shirt has a subtle texture that doesn’t scream for attention, but adds a pop of interest against his vibrant blue suit jacket.
Female business person portrait as example for how to prepare for your headshots.
Her necklace is a gorgeous accent that provides a touch of personality while keeping her look classic.

Tip 4: Play it safe with solids. Some patterns can work, but loud, bold stripes or big floral patterns will distract from what the main focus should be – You! Bringing in patterns in a great tie or pocket square for the gents or more of your personality with statement jewelry for the ladies is a great way to keep the solid shirts from getting boring. 

Male corporate portrait as example for how to prepare for your headshots.
A tight, gridded pattern looks professional and thoughtful on his button-down shirt, and ties in the grays from his slate-colored blazer.

Tip 5: Cover your arms and shoulders. Seriously, anything without sleeves loses that put-together sense of professionalism. And, you definitely don’t want any arm insecurities getting between you and the camera.

Female professional headshot
Her makeup looks clean and natural, with just a bit of definition.

Tip 6: Bring options and layers to try out several looks! Something as simple as taking a blazer on or off can give you two different looks quickly. For example, scarves, ties, necklaces and pocket squares are all simple items to toss in your bag. Plus, you can switch out for different looks as a great way to bring in more color if you are sticking with the neutral top.

Tip 7: Dress professionally from head-to-toe. Even if you only need a LinkedIn photo that shows from the waist up, dress like you would for the interview. Dressing up your shoes will automatically improve your posture. The total look also boosts your confidence – you should want to own your outfit long after the headshot is over and rake in those compliments when you wear it to work.

Male casual corporate headshot
This portrait is a little more casual, but showcases his incredible confidence, while not losing the professional flair. His striped button down is more formal, and his sweater relaxes the look while also looking decidedly fashionable.

Tip 8: Makeup: A little goes a long way. Just because you’ll be on camera for your headshot doesn’t mean you should cake it on like you did for your 8th grade musical. What’s most important here is definition not quantity. Even if you don’t wear eyeliner on a daily basis, simple eye liner and a great mascara will help define your eyes beautifully in photos. We get asked about makeup all the time. So, we had to include it in our list of how to prepare for your headshots!

Female professional headshot as example for how to prepare for your headshots.
Her portrait demonstrates that even a touch of eyeliner can go a long way!

Tip 9: Hair: Keep it simple and professional. Definitely pack a brush or comb if you like driving with the windows down… For the ladies, consider a quick stop at your local blow out bar for that added touch of confidence.

Female posing for headshot example for how to prepare for your headshots.
In Suzanne’s portrait, there is a touch of interest with her cut-out neckline and her shorter sleeves keep her look professional but summer appropriate. Do you have a headshot for all seasons?

Tip 10: Practice! Try out your wardrobe combinations in front of a mirror. Solicit your trusted friends or significant other for their opinions. Or even feel free to email us over some quick cell phone snaps! Importantly, you should feel confident in whatever you are wearing. The best advice we can give when it comes to how to prepare for your headshots is this: Confidence is what makes all the difference in photos! 

Female business portrait shows how to prepare for your headshots.
Her polished look is on-point, and a touch of hairspray helps eliminate those flyaways for her outdoor portrait.

If you’re looking to book your next headshot, let us know! We are happy to answer all your questions leading up to your headshot, and talk about the best background and environment to pair with your super pro look.