event photographer training

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What is the Best Website Name?

Many people choose a website name without thinking of the consequences or how it is going to be used. So how do you select the best URL?

Let us look at the purpose of a website name; it is there to represent your business in a manner that is easy for your customers to use. We are going to use a fictional example of Dave Smith who runs a portrait photography business in Norfolk called beautiful portraits.

For many it is a simple choice such as www.DaveSmithPhotography or www.beautifulportraits which is great if you are an established business as people will know you or the business name, but what happens if you are not?

One way used by many people is create a search friendly URL i.e. one that contains words that you feel people will enter when searching for a business like yours without necessarily knowing who you are. People are becoming more skilled at searching the internet so a search such as “Norfolk Portrait Photographer” which would give us potential URLs such as www.norfolkportraitphotographer or www.portraitphotographernorfolk. This is OK but there is a story on the internet about www.expertsexchange which is really for a business that is “Experts Exchange”.

Google recognises hyphens and full stops as breaks between words so that site is actually www.experts-exchange and without the hyphen may appear in some interesting searches. There is however a widely held belief that spammers have used this format to generate spammy site names in the format www.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4 etc. but there is no proof of rankings harm for sites that are not short lived. The use of hyphens then allows Google to easily recognise your keywords. Using hyphens may however not be people friendly, as in they find it harder to use.

Another fine question is .co.uk or .com – Google automatically recognises .co.uk as being located in the UK whereas a .com will have to be associated with the UK geographical area. All other factors being equal a .co.uk will rank as high, if not higher in Google if it knows you are carrying out the search from the UK.

So Dave decides to go for www.portraitphotographernorfolk.co.uk which he prints on his business cards and other stationary (because it is people friendly) and sets up his website on www.portrait-photographer-norfolk.co.uk to help get better results on Google. To ensure that everybody ends up at the right site he uses a 301 redirect to send the traffic from www.portraitphotographernorfolk.co.uk to www.portrait-photographer-norfolk.co.uk and knowing that not everybody is as clever as he is he also purchases the .com versions of both URLs and puts a 301 redirect from them to his site.

I was reading a thread on another forum about why are most training courses aimed at a relatively low level i.e. there are no courses for advanced level event photography along with most otehr photographic disciplines.

Personally I would have thought the answer is fairly obvious and that is that it is easy to generalise when you teach / lecture etc. but as the student approaches a higher level and has more specific requirements you move from a teaching to a mentoring stage. In fact the requirements could be so specific that it might be difficult to find more than 2 or 3 others that require the same training.

Lighting is lighting regardless of done at an event or in a studio so the skills dont have to be taught by event photographers. Posing is another key area that it is worth looking at varied sources for.

Workflow is somewhat different as there are many aspects to it such as software use and computer networking, again large groups dont help teaching such subject areas.

Marketing, sales etc. are other skills where again although we as event photographers have ideas there are people out there with much more skill than most at their subject – as a point we usually worry about photographer training but what about assistants and sales people?

One of the things that is apparent to me is that when speaking to many photographers they do not recognise where they have skill deficiencies and often rate their photography more highly than probably it deserves i.e. the end product is a photograph and if the quality is high you will probably sell many more but if you are mistaken about your own skill level you may be confident where you really should be working hard at improving – we need to seperate ourselves from the Uncle Bobs.

Try this exercise, if 0 is no photographic ability and 10 is photographic excellence, where do you see yourself and what do you need to do to move closer to a 10?

Do the same for your workflow, marketing & sales. Hopefully you should find your weakest area and come up with ideas of what training you need.

Ian Bonthrone of fotologic  made the following comments

“This forum has seen the argument here before that only an Event Photographer could possibly teach anybody about Photography at an Event.

Having listened recently to some very eminent photographers I think there are very few who could hold their hands up and say they have nothing to learn about Photography at events.

Recent posts have alluded to the fact that mediocrity in portraiture just will not cut it in the future for the Social Event Photography scene.

The whole idea of producing for our customers something that they may put in a frame rather than shove in the cupboard with every other event photo they have bought is something I am passionate about.

However it is also true that an Excellent Photographer at Events does not make a successful Event Photography Business.”

Wheras Paul Rogers of Pellier Noir said

“Everyone is worried mad about sales and marketing and not the quality of their work. Word of mouth is by far the best sales and marketing ploy. But if you don’t have a good enough product then word of mouth will be your downfall.”

I have just been asked about what training will be delvered at the Profit from Proms seminar and my answer was “have you identified the training you need before asking the question?” Only then will you know if any training will suit your needs.

So have you worked out what training you need? Have you worked out who would be the best person to deliver it?

If we are to believe certain areas of the photographic press you just need to take a few snaps, print them out and the public will be falling over themselves to give you money, so what is the reality?

As with any service provided to clients you put yourself in a position where you could become liable if things go wrong so make sure that insurance is at the top of your list.

It is probably best to now look at what sets event photography apart from other photographic disciplines and that is that most often event photographers produce images on-site. This is where dye-sub printers come into the equation as they are able to deliver professional quality images in seconds. The printer however is just part of the workflow of getting the images from the camera to the customer. There are many ways that this can be achieved dependent upon the type of event being covered.

There is little substitute for experience and knowledge in this area and the people that have that in abundance are event photographers so joining a forum like http://www.eventphotographersociety.co.uk/phpBB3 is one of best ways of acquiring these skills. You will need to setup suitable software for such things as downloading images, wireless connections, viewing images and finally printing them.

Now what we need is suitable images to sell and again the type of event will dictate what photographic equipment is required. Social event photography has very different lens requirements to sporting events and you may also have to work at high ISO’s to acquire the desired shutter speed. Once we have established the equipment what we need to do is look at the various techniques such as posing and lighting for social events or knowledge of the event for sports i.e. what and where you should be looking at to capture the peak of the action. Events such as http://www.eventphotographysolutions.co.uk/the-profit-from-seminars.html amongst others could help you develop the required skills.

From the points listed I have developed a simple list of things that need to be considered. Of primary importance is insurance and for virtually everything else there is training which will help determine the other items on the list.


  1. Insurance
  2. Training
  3. Dye-Sub Printer
  4. Workflow Software
  5. Camera & Lens
  6. Lighting & Other Equipment

The EPS are in the process of producing several training courses throughout 2011.

These will be open to EPS members and at a very competitive rate.
The type of training days that we are hoping to cover should include;
‘Running Your Own Business’, ‘Sales & Marketing’, ‘On site Sales and Marketing’, ‘Photoshop’
and ‘Workflow’.
It is also hoped that there will be training days with a more hands on approach.
These may include live events where ‘Motorsport’, ‘Football’, ‘Rugby’, ‘Equestrian’ and ‘Team Sports’ are covered.
These subjects may be added to depending on the feedback from members and whether there is a need for more topics to be covered.
We are considering opening these training days to non-members, however these will not receive a preferential rate of discount.
To learn more or to express an interest, please contact

So what are the real advantages of booking a professional event photographer? It comes in many aspects such as a professional will carry all the appropriate insurances – we don’t want anything to go wrong but if it does this should give you peace of mind.

Low Light Equestrian Photography

Low Light Equestrian Photography

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So what Happened at the Autumn Meet?

We have a number of people to thank, so I will start with Alan Warner who was happy to put a great deal of effort into organising the program, arranging the speakers and the sponsors but did not want to stand at the front and take the plaudits.

Next we have our main speakers, Zoe Richards and Mark Pearson who I know passed on many ideas about branding and Logos, Search Engine Optimisation and website design that I know many of us learnt a great deal from.
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