The oft-quoted “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life” may seem elusive to some, but I must confess that I am one of the lucky ones to whom this rings true. I love photography, and the fact that I get to do it for a living is immensely gratifying. One of the things I love about photography is the people, places, and events it introduces me to. Especially when I’m photographing performances.
Chicago’s Most Colorful Chorus
On Saturday, Dec. 9th, I had the pleasure of photographing “Naughty or Nice,” the holiday concert of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois. G. Thomas Ward Photography has had a long standing relationship with CGMC, photographing many of their shows, along with images for posters and promotional material. While I photograph many corporate and non-profit events, I always look forward to the creativity, musicality, and flashy entertainment of CGMC. They are, after all, known as Chicago’s most colorful chorus, and for good reason!
One of the things I love about photographing CGMC is the challenge that it provides. Capturing the atmosphere, the excitement, and the playfulness of the choir is essential to bringing the concerts to life through photos. With so much movement and variable lighting, it takes a trained eye and a quick shutter finger to know when the moment is “just right” for that perfect photo. Luckily for me, CGMC is masterful at what they do, so being able to capture them in their element is a true joy for me.
Whether you’re looking for corporate headshots, event photographs, or a way to capture your next big production, make sure you find someone who can bring out the best in your team, company, or event. You’ll know if they’re the right fit for you if they’re curious, asking questions, and providing constructive guidance. Finding the right photographer is similar to finding the right employee: sometimes, you just know, and that partnership is a wonderful thing.
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Nothing compares to a great conference. Today, millions millennial workers are attending professional conferences, networking receptions, and business meetings. In fact, about 89% of adults aged 18 to 34 said that they have attended at least one event in the past year.
If you want this younger generation to interact with your brand or attend your event, you want to make sure that your conference is millennial-friendly.
Here are 4 things millennials expect from conferences.
Social Media Integration
Today, most people spend a lot of time on their smartphones. In fact, many of them check their phones right when they wake up and before they get out of bed.
Social media provides a great way to reach and interact with your audience. If you want to get the word out about your event, then you should consider incorporating social media into your marketing campaign. Also, consider creating your own unique hashtag and use it when posting content about your event. Given that millennials are the most populous part of the social media audience, you want to share as much information with your online community as you can to boost engagement.
It is also a good idea to post updates during the event itself and give offsite attendees a glimpse into what’s happening during the event. Millennials want to share their experiences with their online friends, too.
Conferences are usually where people within the same or similar industries gather to network. Most people attend conferences to meet new people.
Millennials want to expand their network and are looking for job opportunities or new connections. Many of them are expecting to meet people who can help them build their career. Event organizers should take this into account and create activities that would encourage attendees to go around and interact with each other. Plus, ice breakers provide a quick break from the monotony of the daily schedule.
Millennials have a shorter attention span than baby boomers. For them, sitting all day, listening to lecture after lecture is less than ideal. Instead, this generation wants to take part of the conversation.
Instead of focusing on lectures and presentation, encourage your speaker to leave enough room for Q&A session or a panel discussion with audience questions.
Millennials are hungry to gain knowledge and learn from industry leaders. But that isn’t the only reason why they attend conferences. Many of them crave genuine, unique experiences.
Millennials value experiences over material things. Try to integrate tech trends and new innovations into your event. Offer new and exciting opportunities to attendees that other conferences don’t offer.
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Planning a corporate event is definitely not easy. There are a lot of things to do and a lot of people to talk to. And then there is the all-important budget.
If this is your first time organizing an event, chances are you may make a mistake or two along the way. These mistakes, no matter how small, may end up costing you a lot of money. This isn’t good considering how expensive it is to plan an event. To prevent this from happening, we have put together a list of the most common mistakes event managers commit while organizing a corporate event. Keep these things in mind to ensure that your event will be a success.
Here are 4 critical mistakes to avoid when planning a corporate event in Chicago.
Waiting Until the last minute
Planning a corporate event takes time. So make sure that you start working as soon as you know the date of the event.
Start by looking for venues. Hotels and other venues get booked fast, so it is important to start looking as early as possible. Failing to start the event process early will limit your venue choices and may even cause a host of other problems down the line.
Not finalizing the number of attendees
Before booking a venue, you need to have a good idea how many attendees you are expecting for the event. A small function room will be too cramped for 200 guests. A larger venue may look too big and empty if you only have 100 attendees.
Before committing to a venue, ask the advice of the staff to find out the capacity of the venue. Also, find a happy medium between the numbers you expect. A bigger space is a lot better than a small space, just don’t go overboard.
Doing everything on your own
Planning a corporate event can be exhausting and stress-inducing. It requires months of planning. The sooner you realize that you can’t do everything on your own, the better off both you and your event will be.
Seek help from your colleagues and try to delegate some tasks. This way, you can do things more efficiently and in a timely manner. Having enough staff on hand at the event itself is also of great importance. There should be enough staff to accommodate all the attendees and ensure that the registration process goes on smoothly.
Lack of Plan B
No matter how well organized or planned an event is, things can go awry on the Big Day. As such, it is important to have a Plan B in place just in case things go haywire.
We cannot predict the future, but it is a good idea to plan for the worst. Before the event, try to determine which areas where your event’s success could be jeopardized and have a contingency plan in place.
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Corporate events provide several benefits to your organization. Hosting symposiums, conferences, business meetings or company dinners reinforces your image as an industry leader and creates networking opportunities. It helps foster and strengthen relationships with customers, clients, and employees. It also builds loyalty and can help you close sales.
Corporate events can be stressful and time consuming. They require careful planning and budgeting. The planning process becomes even more challenging when you’re working on a limited budget. Your brainstorming ideas can be put on hold once you realize that you may not have enough money for your next event.
Here are some great tips for corporate event planners who are looking to use their budget wisely.
Search for guest speakers early
Advance planning is beneficial to land the best speaker for your event. The earlier you contact the person, the better. Other speakers bump up their rates as their calendar fills up. To avoid this, we suggest that you contact a professional speaker at least 6 months prior to the event.
It is also a good idea to book a speaker who already has an appearance booked in your area. This secrect can help reduce your expenses since you will no longer need to spring for transportation and lodging.
Think through food arrangements
Food and snacks is one area where you can really make the most of your budget. Instead of a sit down meal, consider offering buffet. Buffets eliminate the need for a large wait staff, and they take up less time in the schedule, too.
Another added bonus is that buffets provide attendees an opportunity to interact with one another in a more comfortable mealtime environment.
Find the right venue
Finding a venue is one of the most challenging parts of planning an event. There are a lot of things to consider when looking for one. Of course, you need to consider your budget, the attendees, and the accessibility of the venue.
You want to make sure that the venue fits your budget. Also, find one that will be able to accommodate all the attendees. There is no point in booking a big venue if you are only catering to a small group.
Some of the savvier companies have gotten really creative when they’re putting on events. One way to make the most out of your budget is to seek sponsorships for your event.
Find a budding company that is looking to get their name out in the public. Often, they don’t charge much for their services. Others would even offer their services for free. Take advantage of that.
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Consistency is the key ingredient for business success. Having a brand and sticking to it is essential to continually growing a business that will last for years to come. Consistency goes beyond the products, social media, and marketing campaign. It also applies to your professional headshots.
As a business owner, you are the face of your brand. The quality and style of photos you use conveys a great deal, not only about you as a person, but also about how you conduct business. Whether you’re using the headshot for your company’s website or your social media profile, you want to make sure that it lines up with your brand.
With this in mind, we came up with a list of tips to help ensure that your headshots reflect your brand.
Do your research
Even little details like the background, props, and poses you adopt will help tell your brand story through your photos. Before the shoot, you should have an idea of what you want your headshots to look like. From here, it will be easier for you to plan the next steps. Know what you want ahead of time. Some things you may wish to think about are whether you want studio or environmental style shots that show the space you’re in. Do you want something traditional, or something with more edge? If you’re not sure what you want, consult with an experienced photographer to help you create the right image for your company and budget.
Hire the right photographer
Now that you have an idea of what types of headshots you want, it’s time to look for a photographer. Whether your brand is serious and stark or colorful and fun, your headshot should be taken in the same style as the rest of your brand.
You need a headshot that perfectly encapsulates your professional life. Browse through each photographer’s portfolio and find a photographer who knows how to capture the essence a brand. Can you envision them capturing your brand in a similar way? Find a photographer who can shoot images that matches your brand.
Select your outfit wisely
The type of clothing you choose should reflect your everyday work attire. It should also match or complement the colors of your brand. Also, choose something you feel confident and comfortable in.
You also have the option of using different photos for different platforms. For your company profile and speaker profiles, a traditional business look is ideal. For your social media profiles and other marketing materials, a business casual look may be more appropriate. Of course, there’s no “one size fits” all, so choose your wardrobe based on overall messaging and what’s appropriate for your industry.
Choose the right setting
The background of the photo is just as important as your clothing. The right setting helps you tell a visual story about you and your business. If you are a fitness guru, consider holding the photo session in a gym. If you are a designer or an artist, we suggest that you get some shots in your studio.
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My years of experience include shooting for a wide variety of clients both corporate and personal, including Cartier, WTTW, The Chicago Reader, Northwestern University, Hartmarx, Music of the Baroque, Red Moon Theater, Theo Ubique, Third Coast Marketing and many, many more.