“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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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?
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…
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?
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: 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Generally speaking, one wouldn’t say “company holiday party” and “circus” in the same sentence…. Unless they would. Local Chicago company, Wintrust, decided to plan their company holiday party and yearly Wintrust Awards with a old-world French circus theme. The event brought together the quirky aspects of a circus experience with the joy and wonderment of an entertaining run-of-show.
Company holiday party event planning, especially for an event like the Wintrust Awards and Holiday Party, can be daunting. Planners have to estimate costs, and find a venue that is perfect for the theme. In this case, asking the question, “Can we have aerial silks dancers suspended from the ceiling for this?!” Wintrust found the perfect team to pull it all off!
Wintrust partnered with the team at 360 Destination Group to manage all aspects of the planning process. The industrial warehouse feel of Morgan Manufacturing provided the space and rafters to hang both silk dancers, as well as hallways decked out in lush, velvety red curtains. Gold Grid Studios was selected to photograph the event.
Morgan MFG is an entirely renovated pre-Chicago Fire building, rich in history and robust in structure. When 360 Destination Group reached out to us at Gold Grid Studios with the scope, we wanted to create commercial photography that would be memorable, beautiful, and unique.
Here’s another case-in-point: those of you who plan corporate events that involve sports like ping pong or golf? Even poker and casino games? We get to channel our inner sports photographer self. Even if the end result is still stunning commercial photography that showcases the skills and prowess of your team members.
(And hey, you can always choose to only show the photographs that make you look like you’re always winning. Even if ping pong isn’t your thing. Just sayin’.)
In addition to capturing the ambiance, details, and entertainment of the night, we couldn’t help but notice the table displays. Golden circus elephant centerpieces were adorned with vibrant floral arrangements exploding from their schnoz. And the goblets added a touch of regality.
Award ceremonies are important – both for companies as well as the individuals who have worked hard to achieve recognition. Wintrust Bank was founded on the original mission that there’s still “a need, and desire, for a true community bank: where tellers know their customers by name; bankers care about local businesses because they frequent them; and the bank invests in the neighborhood because it’s actually part of the neighborhood.” We got to know many of the individuals from Wintrust by name over the course of the event. Wintrust’s holiday party brought in a number of local businesses to come together and celebrate alongside Wintrust, and everyone felt welcomed while sharing a mutual sense of accomplishment.
It’s the people of the company that ultimately make the event what it is. Wintrust is a leader in Chicago, and has a poignant history here. We wanted to show that.
Gold Grid Studios creates corporate photography that is an engaging reflection of your company, and we do it right. Because beyond the careful details of the event, there’s a story, there’s people, and there’s history.
Reach out to us if you have an upcoming event in Chicago where you want us to be your event photographers. Or circus photographers. Or sports photographers… We’ll suit up!
How can an organization strive to make a large corporate event, convention or conference an intimate, meaningful experience? How can corporate photography reflect that aspect? Gold Grid Studios, a leader in Chicago conference photography, rose to the challenge.
NAFCD – NBMDA presented Gold Grid Studios with the challenge of capturing moments throughout the conference that showcased both large room conversations and speakers as well as small group breakout sessions and one-on-one conversations.
Gold Grid Studios contributed commercial photography for the conference that emphasized the focus on intimacy and meaningful conversation at both large and small scale. Our experienced team was familiar with the unique set of rooms and layout of The Hyatt Regency, and used that knowledge to present the conference organizers with images that captured their vision and goal.
The Hyatt Regency is one of the largest event spaces in downtown Chicago, so that knowledge was key. It is a 365-foot tall building with over 2,000 guest rooms in two different towers connected by an above-ground skyway and an underground concourse. Plus, it houses all of its cutting-edge, the modular event spaces.
The high ceilings, a large atrium with walkways, and massive elevators do the heavy lifting to quickly transport visitors and guests about the building. But the thing the Hyatt Regency excels at are the sheer amount of nooks, cocktail bars, clusters of chairs for relaxing, and intimate spaces that dot the interior. There is no lack of space here, but also no lack of smaller spaces to get away, get to know a new colleague, or reflect on the day’s keynote speakers.
As photographers well experienced with the scale of multi-day conventions, as well as Chicago conference photography, we stay aware of what a space can say about your event. The meditative fireplaces that mark these gathering spaces, the LED walls that add the warm glow, or an edgy, modern look. We are drawn to the variation of aesthetic character in these spaces. It just feels good.
If you’re looking for an event space for your next corporate event, try to find a balance of intimacy with functionality. The photographs will say quite a bit about that as well.
Gold Grid Studios is familiar with the majority of Chicago venues, their quirks, their overall look, and how we can accommodate the space through beautiful lighting, and meaningful commercial photography.
NAFCD + NBMDA also worked with The Hyatt Regency Chicago on their own strategy to create intimate environment, during the main presentations and break-out sessions. Instead of having row chair seating throughout the room, the Hyatt Regency set up round tables, with modern white linens. Attendees automatically had the opportunity to join various small groups for the duration of the programming, which fostered discussion, idea generation, and meaningful exchange.
NAFCD + NBMDA delivers value through trends, networking, education, and leadership at their Annual Conference. All of this becomes possible through seamless event coordination in a venue that fostered the sense of intimacy during a large event and this was reflected in the images that showed those relationships forming.
We are a small team at Gold Grid Studios, but well-equipped to show imagery that is compelling for your corporate event. Because the moments depicted through commercial photography – at an event at any scale – should feel intimate, too.