why you should film your corporate event

If you have ever hosted a conference, you already know that they’re no walk in the park. There are so many moving parts: schedules to keep, speakers to book,  venues to reserve…and those are just the “big” things.

With all of the work that goes into putting on a successful conference, it would be a wasted opportunity not to capture the moments that people will talk about long after they leave. When you take the time to photograph and capture video at your conference or corporate event, you memorialize the fruits of your efforts. This media can then be used in future promotions for upcoming conferences or marketing collateral down the road.

why you should film your corporate event

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What sessions and speakers are your “main attractions?” Focus on those first. A good videographer will work with you and ask these questions. If you know any of your speakers are especially engaging and energetic presenters, ask them ahead of time if they mind being filmed (hint: most love it!). Working with your speakers ahead of time ensures the film crew won’t throw them off during their session. Filming activities in between sessions is also a great way to find those organic interactions with people enjoying themselves.


Keep it Fresh

Have you ever had to sit through someone’s wedding video where Uncle Earl recorded everything without leaving his seat? For your sake, we hope not. This type of filming is more common than you think, but it doesn’t tell a great story.

Static video (think a video camera on a tripod in the back of the room) isn’t very exciting footage, so ask your videographer if multiple camera-operators are an option. When editing the material later, being able to combine clips from different vantage points during a presentation provides a nice viewing experience for your audience.



While people are at your conference, “in the thick of things,” you have a golden opportunity to get positive feedback and testimonials. Find those key stakeholders and ask them if they can do a 15-second testimonial for you. Someone you trust can even prompt positive reviews of your work and the event by asking leading questions. These sound bites can be used later on your website or as promotional material for another event.


Bring it all Together

By the time your conference comes to an end, you’re exhausted. For a few days, you kept a lot of people very busy and on their toes. While the event itself may be over, your videography team will be busy at work putting the video together in a comprehensive, cohesive, narrative.

The final output will be an invaluable marketing tool for you for years to come.


photographing your corporate event

When was the last time your company hosted an outing for all of your employees?  Do you do this annually? Quarterly? Not at all?

Company outings are a wonderful morale boost for offices. It demonstrates to employees that you care about them. When booking your next (or first!) get-together, consider hiring an experienced corporate photographer to join the fun. Documenting the day’s events serve as a great reminder of a fun day when everyone returns to the office.


Boost Morale

Allowing your employees to spend a day outside of the office for a company-sponsored event works wonders. First, they appreciate a day away from the office (who wouldn’t?). Second, many realize that the company cares about them as people, not just employees. Photographing those moments of joy and relaxation pay dividends later on. These photos can then be shared on the company intranet, reminding employees of the fun they had on the outing.

photographing your corporate event

Encourages Teamwork

Often, company outings have a theme, which are often suggested by employees themselves. A well-run outing may also create teams comprised of people from various departments, which fosters intradepartmental communication and interaction. The relationships formed in these teams (often through team-building problem solving and fun activities) through the course of a day strengthens the cohesion of your entire company. Breaking down communication barriers across departments is invaluable. Who knows…a new leader may rise from an unexpected person!


Build your Brand

The fact of the matter is this: successful company outings accomplish a lot of things. Employees who enjoyed themselves become your best marketers and recruiters. They’ll tell their family and friends about what a great time they had and share the photos with them.

Furthermore, the photographs that are taken at these outings make great marketing material. Candidates want to work somewhere where they feel valued. Rather than write about all of the great things your company does, show them off with photos!


G Thomas Photo professional photoshoot

Business portraits, head shots, profile pictures, avatars, proposal images, speaking engagement photos. You can call them whatever you like, but these photos are the first thing your clients and potential customers see when they search for information about you and your company.

Having a great headshot is very important as it speak volumes about you and your business. Most people have their portraits taken for business purposes – typically for industry publications, event print advertising, networking outlets or social media. Whatever your purpose is, it is important to look as as professional as possible.

Preparing for your corporate portrait can mean the difference between an average photo and a breath-taking image. Follow these tips to get the most out of your shoot.

G Thomas Photo professional photoshoot


Just because it’s a headshot, it does not mean that you shouldn’t bother dressing up well.  Wear clothes that are neatly pressed and look new. If your clothes wrinkle easily, it is best to just bring it with you and change at the location.

The clothes you choose should make you look great, but do not overdress. Start with a simple blouse or shirt and then slowly add layers. Solid colors look great in headshot, but please avoid tops in flesh tones as they will blend your face into your clothes. Choose mid-tone colors in green, blue and wine and purple.  You may wish to consider bringing a few wardrobe options.  We suggest something that is “strictly business” along with something “business casual”.  Don’t be afraid to bring a few outfits.  We can help you choose which will make you look your best in photographs.

Face and Makeup

Be sure that your teeth are clean, eyebrows are groomed and lips are not dry. For men, all facial hair should be groomed. Trim your mustache, beard and sideburns.

Light, natural makeup is encouraged for a professional headshot. It can help accentuate your facial features, cover blemishes and help even out your skin tone. It should be simple, yet well done. You want your photo to be as close to how you generally look in person.

Do not wear heavy makeup. Save the smoky eyes, shiny eye shadows and dark lipstick for your date nights.

Both men and women benefit from using our professional hair and makeup artists.  Sometimes your own personal makeup doesn’t appear on camera the way it appears in life.  Our professionals will work with you to achieve the look you want for camera.  Men are often concerned about appearing “made-up”, but our artists are experts at removing shine, covering under-eye darkness and blemishes while maintaining a completely natural look.


If you normally wear glasses, bring them to your session.  We can photograph you with or without them, or a bit of both.


If it has been a while since you had a trim, you may want to visit your hairstylist a week before the shoot just in case things go wrong. For men, it is fine to get a haircut a couple of days before the shoot.

While dyeing your hair can freshen up your look, now is not the time to experiment with hair colors. You wouldn’t look your best if your hair color doesn’t come out as planned.



Your photoshoot is a great excuse to head to the salon and get your nails done. A fresh coat of nail polish can make a big difference in your corporate headshot.  But if you don’t have time for that, make sure that your nails are clean and short.


Get plenty of rest and avoid alcohol the night before your photoshoot. Not only will you feel better, you will also look better. Eye bags and dark circles won’t look good in photos. You wouldn’t want to look tired on the day of the shoot, right?


Practice make perfect

Confidence matters when it comes to facial expressions. A few days or a week prior to the shoot, we suggest that you practice your facial expressions in front of the mirror. You can choose to smile or not, just make sure that you do not appear too serious.  We’ll work with you to capture a variety of expressions.


G. Thomas Ward Chicago portraits

Last month, I was honored to shoot an event by Heartland Health Outreach, an organization I wholeheartedly support, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. I’ve been hired to work this annual event several times times in the past and always enjoy the evening.

heartlandhealthoutreachevent event photography chicago

Heartland Health Outreach was formerly known as Vital Bridges until a few years ago when they merged with Heartland Alliance, an umbrella organization for many social services agencies. Heartland Health Outreach itself is the healthcare arm of Heartland Alliance with services ranging from primary care to treatments for immigrant and homeless populations throughout Chicago.

Here are some of my favorite images from the evening.


Eye Catching Window Display for retail store

Your window displays are like billboards for your store. It is the first things customers see when they pass by your store. A standout window display piques a shopper’s curiosity and lures them to enter your shop. However, most small businesses pay little to not attention to their window display due to limited resources. Others find it difficult to harness the creativity needed in creating an effective window display.

Eye Catching Window Display for retail store

If you want to capture attention and inspire prospective customers to step into your shop, then you need to make your storefront stand out. Here are some tips for creating a window display that turn heads and drive foot traffic.

1. Tell a story

Most people would start by creating a theme. But by doing so, you might be tempted to put together all your red and green merchandise and put them on display. That won’t make an impressive display. You want to create a story based on a theme. Instead of a Christmas-themed display, consider the Nut Cracker. Use your story-telling prowess to convey the message and then incorporate your products to the display.

2. Be bold

People’s attention spans are getting shorter these days. Add to that, they’re always in a hurry. Customers won’t even look at your shop as most of them are talking on the phone, texting someone or having a conversation with a friend as they pass by. Avoid the predictable if you want to get noticed. Use bold colors and shapes. Be bold in every way. You’ll want to pull all the stops just to make sure they notice your shop. When people stop to look at your window display, they will come inside your store.

3. Show off the wants

Most people respond to the things they want. If you’re running a shoe store, you wouldn’t want to display generic black-heeled shoes that women wear to work. Bring out those Jimmy Choo and Louboutin stilettos instead. Just because they are in need of black pumps, doesn’t mean they won’t treat themselves to those expensive shoes. Put your newest and most expensive shoes on the spotlight and you’ll definitely see an increase in foot traffic.


what to look for in an event photographer chicago

what to look for in an event photographer chicagoIf you own or manage a business, there will come a time when you’ll need to hire a corporate event photographer to capture photos on your next conference or meeting. You may be tempted to ask a friend or your staff to do so, but you shouldn’t trust just anyone with this role. Professional photographers do more than take photos. They use their experience and training to capture the beauty and importance of each occasion.

Here are some things you should consider when hiring an event photographer.

Background and credentials

Event photography is a specialized field that requires its own set of skills. Just because a person owns an expensive camera, doesn’t mean he’s a professional. A camera is a tool, and does not guarantee that he’ll produce great photos.

Consider the photographer’s background and credentials. What kind of events do they cover? How many events like your do they shoot a year?


Believe it or not, some people would only look at the pricing and won’t even bother to look at the photos. Photographers put their best work on their website so feel free to check them out. Compare photographers by their portfolio, not their pricing. Make sure that their style is what you’re looking for.


Try to get price quotes from a number of photographers. Most photographers try to be flexible with their rates since they do understand that some clients are working on a tight budget. However, you also have to understand that the saying “you get what you pay for” usually applies when hiring an event photographer. Haggling may not get you the results you want.

Needs and expectations

Figure out what you want to get out of the event before talking to candidates. Communicate specific event details so as to give the photographer an understanding of what you want captured and where he needs to be at specific times.

With more than 20 years of experience G Thomas Ward Photography has been helping businesses in Chicago capture their business events and conferences. View our Event Photography gallery for samples of our work.

Chicago Fashion Photography

Two workdays notice is required if you are forced to postpone your session. Failure to do so will result in an additional charge of $75. If, after your consultation, for any reason you decide to cancel your shoot, $75 will be deducted from your deposit, and the balance will be returned to you.

G. Thomas Ward Photography is a service. Therefore, once the service is rendered, there are no refunds. In the case where you are not happy with your performance in front of camera (this means there are no acceptable pictures to you) reshoots are available at the discretion of G. Thomas Ward Photography for $25 per look.

G Thomas Ward Photography Chicago
  1. A $125 deposit is required to secure an appointment time for a shoot. Balance is due on day of sitting.
  2. Consultations are free, unless you don’t show up or cancel with less than 24 hour notice, in which case, a $25 fee will be charged for a new consultation appointment.
  3. Acceptable forms of payment are: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, debit cards, and cash. Personal checks are not accepted.
  4. Hair and makeup artist MUST be paid in CASH.
  5. Group discounts available. Call for quote.
  6. Normal turn around time for proofs and print orders is 7-10 days from date order is received. Orders will not be taken over the phone.
  7. Same or next day proofs available, pending availability, for an additional $30 charge. G. Thomas Ward must be notified at the time your session is booked if you require same or next day proofs.