Expert Tips for Planners Hiring an Event Photographer—From an Event Photographer

Chicago-based experiential photographer Chernise Taylor shares her top tips with planners for hiring event photographers.

Chernise Taylor, PUMA's Hybrid sneaker product launch

Here, Chernise Taylor, an experiential and brand activation photographer based in Chicago, chats with BizBash and shares expert insights for event pros looking to bring in a professional event photographer to document their production as live events make their comeback this year. 

How did you get your start in photography?
My interest in photography began when I noticed how much I stopped dead in my tracks to take a photo with my iPhone. I would take a picture of anything intriguing that caught my eye. I had accumulated a massive album of people, places and things. I wanted to up the quality of my pictures, so I began researching what professional camera to purchase. Thirsty for more knowledge, I continued to learn everything I could about photography via books, online courses and Youtube. I started photographing myself and getting many inquiries about what photographer I had hired. I sent my professional selfies over to my modeling and acting agents who loved the photos. My agents weren't aware that I had created the images of myself; that's when I knew I was on to something. After a couple of years of photographing people other than myself, I was ready to start accepting paid opportunities. 

"Chernise Taylor, Event Photographer"

Your favorite events to photograph?
My favorite events to photograph are experiential programs and brand activations, which is why I focus solely on that niche with my business. I enjoy attending events that are creative and out of the realm of something one gets to participate in just any day of the week. I enjoy photographing the fresh concepts and seeing the surprised and delighted faces of the event guest! 

Do you have any tips for event planners hiring photographers for their events?
1. View the photographer's portfolio to ensure their photography style aligns with your event style. When contacting the photographer, it’s helpful to reference images that you enjoy from their collection that correlate to your event.

2. Create a shot list of the final photos you expect to receive; the shot list assures you and the photographer are on the same page. The photographer can work more seamlessly and get more creative, and it's one less thing you have to think about the day of the event.

3. Your photographer will become part of your event's ambiance, so choose someone who matches the event's vibe.

4. Ensure you and the photographer have good chemistry because they are a temporary part of your team, and you both have the same goal of success.

Anything new coming up for you? 
While the live event industry is in a transitional phase due to COVID-19, I'm honing my lifestyle and product photography skills. I think there will be a shift in the type of images that brands will need to cater to the at-home event and mobile experience. I've been enjoying creating a portfolio of additional services to offer. 

This story originally appeared on Connect's sister site, BizBash.com, here.