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How to take better conference photos: 8 shots that will tell the story of your adventure

Follow this checklist to instantly improve your LinkedIn posts and make your experiences — and thought leadership — more visible.
 
By Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle, Education Design Lab Communications Director

Has anyone else been dazzled by their iPhone memories lately? Like magic, my phone transforms photos and videos into little movies – complete with music – weeks or months after I took them. Here’s a good example from the Lab’s Home Week, sort of a mini-conference where our nonprofit gathers in one place to learn and laugh together. (A real treat for a remote organization.)

After replaying some of my favorites, I realized the best movie memories are the ones filled with a variety of shots: Wide landscapes to establish the scene, close-up details for personality, short video snippets to capture movement and voices.

This is exactly the kind of variety you want to shoot for at your next conference, especially if you want to instantly improve your LinkedIn posts and make your experiences — and thought leadership — more visible.

Before we get into the specific photos that will bring your journey to life, here are a few general pointers that should be easy to remember:

  • Be fun + funny: What makes you laugh? Sparks joy? Capture that.
  • Mix it up: Get a mix of wide + detail shots, and a mix of video + photos.
  • Don’t forget you: Include at least a few selfies.
Conference photo checklist: 8 shots that will tell your story

Note these examples are from different cities and conferences Labbies have visited in 2022.

 

1. The exciting journey there.

The mode of transportation doesn’t matter … although I do NOT endorse filming while driving. Here I am leaving Roanoke, Virginia.

 

2. The beautiful landscapes of the conference city.

What makes this city unique? Try to capture the natural and built beauties, like this streetscape from New Orleans, Louisiana.

3. The inspiring venue.

Where are you gathering? Show us the venue … and what stands out, like the iconic Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver (probably the most photographed selfie at conferences).

 

4. A selfie featuring the event signs (banners, programs, etc.)

One picture can tell the viewer exactly where you are … no caption needed. Photos of printed materials — including your favorite sessions from the conference program, menus, etc., — may come in handy when you get home.

5. I’m eating all the yummy things (especially local favorites).

Food photos are almost always the most popular photos. Seek out the local favorites, like these beignets in New Orleans … and get close-ups.

6. Look at this packed conference room!

Trying to capture a colleague’s presentation? Most photos of conference panels are taken from the very back of the room … usually from where you’re seated. This is when conference photos start looking the same. Be bold and capture the speaker’s point of view, especially if that room is packed! Here’s the Lab at the ASU+GSV Summit in 2022: Designing XCredit: Validating + Credentialing Experience to Close the Skills Gap.

 

7. Photograph key speakers from the front row.

To photograph a colleague or a speaker you’re super excited about: Avoid the zoom feature on your phone and get close. Act like a proud parent trying to capture your darling at the school play. Don’t be shy about moving to the front row to get a good close-up, even if it’s a temporary move. Above all, avoid photos of them speaking to empty chairs!

 

8. The most important photos of all: The fun people I’m meeting!

People photos are the best photos. A selfie stick is my favorite conference tool!

 

To recap:

General pointers:
1. Capture what brings you joy.
2. Mix it up with wide shots and close-ups.
3. Include at least a few selfies.

The conference photo checklist:

☐ The exciting journey there.
☐ The beautiful landscapes of the conference city.
☐ The inspiring venue.
☐ A selfie featuring the event signs (banners, programs, etc.)
☐ I’m eating all the yummy things (especially local favorites).
☐ Look at this packed conference room!
☐ Photograph key speakers from the front row.
☐ The most important photos of all: The fun people I’m meeting!

 

Thanks to all of our partners for sharing your insights … and to the conferences for bringing us together! Follow our latest travels with #LabOnTheGo … and tag the Lab on social media to show us your excellent photos!

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