by Martha Cooke | February 01, 2004

The following checklist was compiled with the help of Tonda McKay, events photographer for Eventergy, 1907 Eastside Ave., Nashville, Tenn. 37206;


  • Does the photographer have experience shooting events in convention halls and dealing with lighting, composition and movement?
  • Is there a portfolio or a website showing a sample of the photographer’s work?
  •  Will the photographer travel? Will there be an added fee?
  • If conventional film is used, who keeps the negatives? (The photographer does unless otherwise stated in the contract.) 
  • What are the photographer’s hourly and daily rates? How many hours are included in a daily rate? How many breaks are included? Does the day rate go up after eight hours?
  • What is the rate for additional hours added last-minute? 
  • Does the rate include the cost of an assistant? If not, what is the charge (hourly and daily) for an assistant?
  • Who is responsible for the photographer’s parking, meals, transportation and delivery charges?
  • Is the photographer shooting digital or conventional film?
  • If digital is shot, what types of prints are available prints on photographic paper or ink-jet prints from the photographer’s printer? If the latter, request a sample to assess quality.
  • What is the cost for film processing and contact sheets, or for burning images to a CD if the photos are digital?
  • What do prints cost in each size? Is there a price break on multiple copies of the same print?
  • What is the turnaround time to receive contact sheets and prints or digital images? 
  • Ask for a written quote; make sure it includes a time period during which the quote is valid. (The cost will vary based on the number of prints and the duration of the shoot.)
  • Once a verbal agreement has been reached, get the terms in writing to be signed by both parties. 
  • Make sure the contract addresses who has photo usage rights if the photos are intended for publication.
  • Book the photographer at least three months out. 
  • Ask if a deposit is needed to hold the date.

  • Two weeks before the event, confirm final details of the shoot with the photographer. 
  • Make sure the photographer and the assistant have all necessary passes to gain access to the event.
  • Develop an itinerary including location, time of shoot, subjects and type of shots required (group, individual head  shots, etc.). Request vertical, horizontal or both.
  • If head shots are required, tell the photographer in advance so he/she can bring the right equipment; for a group shot, specify how many people and if a backdrop is needed.
  • If subjects must be identified, have a staff member accompany the photographer to the shoot. 
  • Notify all subjects in advance that they will be photographed.  Either ask the photographer to have subjects sign a release, or include a release statement in the registration materials for all participants to sign, stating their images may be used in advertising and marketing the event in the future.
  • If the photographer will do product shoots, discuss this in advance, as these require extra time and special equipment.

  • Don’t try to cut corners by hiring a photographer simply to shoot the event and hand over the film. If problems occur when developing the film or prints are unsatisfactory, the photographer cannot be held accountable.
  • If the photographer is shooting digital, make sure you let him/her know what the maximum size file you will need and what format (jpeg, TIFF, etc.). 
  • When ordering prints, be specific about the products you want: print size, contact sheets or digital contact sheets, or what type of CDs or disks you will need. If attendees want photos, have them contact the photographer directly.
  • Notes: