Make the Most of Your Event Photos

Plan ahead to strengthen six relationships.

Photos have always been a central element of special events. In the digital age, these images are available almost immediately and can be distributed through various promotional outlets, as well as informally through social media.

Part of the process of taking photos is to integrate the RSVP list of the attendees with the post-event action.

Whether you host an Open House, fundraiser, concert or conference, become familiar with the names on the RSVP list beforehand. When the event begins, be flexible and alert to spontaneously capture moments that convey the activities of the company, as well as the relationships that the organization nurtures with its many partners and allies.

At a recent event for IMPACCT Brooklyn, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing, a guest asked me how the photos being taken at the evening reception might be used.

In addition to the organization’s own promotional brochures and website, plus social media activity, I identified some key opportunities for cultivating relationships with attendees and their respective audiences.

  1. Elected officials: The Assemblymember and City Councilmember who spoke at the event will likely include the photos of their attendance in their constituent newsletters.
  2. Partners: Real estate developers and bankers work with the nonprofit to develop and finance apartment buildings with affordable housing. They may place the photos in their marketing literature and other external communications to document their Community Reinvestment Act activities and relationships with the nonprofit sector.
  3. Allied organizations: Like-minded nonprofits, neighborhood associations and local merchant groups could share the photos in their member newsletters as an update of activities and changes in the community.
  4. Funders of the nonprofit: Photos that record how the group has expanded its operations, thanks to the support received from a foundation, are a confirmation that the grant is being deployed effectively.
  5. Media outlets: Reporters who were unable to attend a public event, such as IMPACCT’s ribbon-cutting at its new office, might use a photo in their news coverage.
  6. Clients, employees, Boardmembers and donors: Photos of workshop participants, staff and supporters could be included in the organization’s own newsletters, marketing literature, website — even on the walls of the offices. These shots underscore the personal connection the organization builds with clients, similar to the snapshots of celebrities who dined at a restaurant.

Of course, the attendees might eventually add your photos to their websites and re-distribute them through their social media presence.

In sum, photos document the event and ultimately may be shared to strengthen the relationships between the host, event participants and their respective organizations. That bonding process became my goal when I accompanied Deirdre Scott, Executive Director of Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), to an event held at Hostos Community College. I noticed a Hostos photographer taking photos; I asked if he would like to take a shot of a small group that included a Director from Hostos, who is also a Boardmember at BCA.

That Hostos connection compelled him to agree to take the photo. Later, the photographer and I exchanged business cards. When he emailed me the group photo, I replied and identified the BCA Boardmembers in the group, so that he might include their names in any future publication of the photo.

This Month’s Tip

Make a list of photos to be taken at an event, as if you plan a wedding. Prepare to stage photos with the management team, Boardmembers, key staff and special guests. Hover near the principals, with the photographer ready to aim and shoot. Keep groups to a maximum of five people. Note the name of anyone who is not immediately familiar, to identify the person for a caption and perhaps share the photo with the attendee later.


Ready to work with a photographer at your next event? You’ll have a bigger smile when you’ve anticipated how to use the photos in the weeks after the reception. You might enjoy the event even more if I direct the photographer for you. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.