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Corporate Events

Value of Photography: Why Do People Pay for Photographers?

By | Corporate Events, Destinations, Event Industry | No Comments

Sitting here on a plane returning from Spain and Portugal. No personal vacation – it was a shoot. Friends, guests of the events we capture, and most anyone unfamiliar with the ‘events industry’ are often shocked to find out we are paid for these trips… almost as shocked as I am that they would think a 40 year old man with a wife + kids + a pro photographer as a profession would do it non-stop for six days for free?

Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Them: Been anywhere cool with your photography lately??

Me: Yup. We have had some travel lately – was in Nevis/Cali/Portugal/Paris/London last week. (pick one you like – I have captured events in all of those amazing places.)

Them: WOW! Cool. So, does your client pay for you to go?

[I like to roll my eyes for effect]

Me: Yup.

Them: Wait, like they pay for your hotel?

Me: Yup.

Them: What about air?

Me: Yup. And I also get paid for my bags to travel, meals, expenses, and my regular hourly shooting rate. IF it is somewhere far away and exotic I will also ask for a travel fee.

Them: A what?

Me: A travel fee to cover my time – because that is time I can’t shoot elsewhere.

Usually wide eyes are looking at me with an open mouth at this point.

And it always makes me ponder – why do they react this way? Only logical answer is because so few people understand what we photographers do, SO I am writing this to help you understand a little more about what happens behind the scenes… and the value of our corporate event photography business in general.

First, some background. We specialize in corporate events of all kinds and my studio’s going rate is around $200/hr. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. On average we book 100 hours of shooting per month with a two or three hour minimum per event. Our average shoot length is 4 hours and I am personally the first to be booked. As I get older [coughs “bullsh*t!”], I am getting less and less interested in leaving the studio for less than a four hour shoot. I have a list of awesome photographers on the ready whom can usually cover events of any length when I am already booked or just feeling a little pressure not to leave my in-office workload. If I do the shorter event, it is usually for a handful of clients whom have been with me for a while, or it is for the promise of some amazing decor… which, BTW, I LOVE shooting. Could care less if I never see another award winner cross a stage, but give me a high creativity/design visually stunning event and I am a kid in a candy store!

So, back to the point – why do people pay for photographers at their events – seems kinda expensive and pointless, right??

Here are a few reasons:

1. Guest Experience

People think it cool to have their “picture made” professionally at events. (My great grandmother, Gran, always used that term, BTW- was a big deal to get your “picture made” by a real pro – like having a painting made… just quicker). Sometimes the guests look pretty – the only time they do between folks dying and getting hitched! Maybe it is people doing something unusual, or meeting someone unusual. The photo depicts the experience and translates to positive memories which supports the overall spend on the event.



2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers


2. Recognition

People work hard and get things done. Whether they have sold the most on the team, closed the big deal of the decade, or finished a merit-worthy project, a photographer is almost always invited to catch the moment they are recognized so their recognition can go beyond the eyes in the room.

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

3. Documentation of People

Guess what happens when the leaders of Coca Cola’s business units from all over the globe are having a meeting? All of those fine folks in one place at one time for the only time this year usually means a group photo will be made. Guess who takes that photo?

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers


4. Documentation of Branding

When big money is spent to brand an event (think custom EVERYTHING, from branded drinking cups to 20′ wall treatments and structures), we spend time making sure it is documented. “Decor, production, and details” are key when the home office five states away needs to see where the money went, or when the venue wants to show the brands with whom they have worked. “Interaction” shots are requested when the production company wants to prove to their client that people were actively engaged with the brand.

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

5. Documentation for Portfolio

You show what you want to sell and many planners need images to understand what can be done with a space, a type of light, or food set-ups. My industry hires us to capture WOW! shots of WOW! set-ups so those set-ups can be sold again, used for promotion when the mags/blogs want to feature an event, images for award entries, or when any of the vendors might want to have catalog or ‘portfolio’ images of what they can do.


2013 PWP Studio - Corporate Event Photographers


2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers


4. Luxury Service

I have toted a camera in some amazing places just so guests of the event didn’t have to lift a finger to do it themselves. Don’t carry that heavy old 4oz whiz bang point and shoot you just spent $1000 on – that is what I am here to do for you!! We will capture that bird, that boat, and anything else you want – just ask! We have provided those images on a USB, an online gallery, or even in print form DURING and after the event. Usually these experiences are for high-rollers, and that is what the Spain + Portugal trip was. While in Portugal and Spain, my team of three captured thousands of images, led private photo tours, cleaned the cameras of the guests, and provided everyone prints at the end of each day to include in their branded photo albums provided by the host.

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

Now, you may think that a photographer is a photographer and anyone with a camera, lens, and a flash can do it – so why spend the potentially thousands of dollars we demand when you have 10 friends willing to do it for FREE? First off, despite the fact your photog friend can take an amazing photo of his daughter in the garden out back and has a great camera and lens – photography ‘on demand’ in ever-changing indoor/outdoor environments would likely blow their mind. It is NOT easy. I could spend the rest of my life shooting and never know it all! Photography on the fly is, well, a great way to make most shooters cry; the shot/weather/moment happens whether you are ready or not. On this trip we captured people dancing in a dark theater, touring a cave, on a kayak tour, posed on a cliff, backlit over the ocean at noon, backlit at sunset, in a big group photo assembled in the ruins of an ancient theater, and we had a fun group captured in pitch black at midnight – none of it came with more than a moment’s notice. We dealt with more reflective brass and mirrored walls than I would EVER like to see again!! The technical aspect is crucial – we are paid because we are expected to get the shot… every time without exception.

And on that ‘on the fly’ topic – let’s talk the correlation between pressure and value. Often we are dealing with executives, leaders, political figures, celebs, and their handlers…. no pressure when the person standing in front of you makes more in the tick of a second on the clock than you do in a day!! No pressure to get multiple good shots the first time because waiting around for you to fiddle with settings and cuss your batteries WILL be a big deal! We are trusted to get the shot in ANY environment, and get it QUICKLY.

Events are like fireflies – they pop up, shine bright, and then stop shining to fly out of sight. My images drive revenue for my industry because I capture events and guests during that split second they are shining bright!

It is what we do.


Would you invite a lemur to your next event?

By | Corporate Events, Event Industry, Green Things | No Comments

We love the Georgia Aquarium for the space and beautiful sea animals that gracefully entertain, but our landlocked animal friends at the Zoo Atlanta are not to be outshone.

Zoo Atlanta is perfect for any event from a small family barbecue to a formal gathering with 5000 guests!  It gives any event a unique ambiance, with the lush plants and the animals that live there. Imagine trainers with birds perched on their hands at your event. Or, your guests experiencing the simple thrills of feeding the animals. See photos below of the VIPs from the last networking event we covered there feed the lemurs. Just make sure that when you feed the lemurs you wear masks and gloves to protect them. Yes, you got that right, to protect the lemurs, not you.

Check out the photos below and see how your next event could benefit from this out of the ordinary space.

Many of the materials used were provided by sponsors:

The tent was by Tents Unlimited, and heaters by Peachtree Tents & Events. Shepard Exposition Services provided the tables, Graceful Tables the linens, and Floral Matters the flower decors. Max Lagers brought the beer, while Total Wine and Spirits brought the wine. The audio and video needs were filled by Onyx MS Group.


2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers





Ventanas IS the Place

By | Conventions, Corporate Events, Event Industry | No Comments

Ventanas, is the Spanish word for windows,  and it is no coincidence that this premier event space and helipad has fabulous two-story floor-to-ceiling windows that give guests a spectacular view of Atlanta from the top, be it day or night.

The Ventanas sits on the 14th and 15th floor of the Park Pavilion building, within walking distance from the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, Georgia World Congress Center, Philips Arena, Georgia Dome, American Cancer Society, and the Luckie Marietta District.

Its total indoor and outdoor area is 9,547 sq. ft, which gives event planners lots of room to plan just about any amazing event. Whether it be a small gathering of 50 or a 500-guest red carpet event with VIPs, it will surely be an impressive and unforgettable one when held at the Ventanas.

We just love it! Check out some of the photos of the place —

2013 PWP Studio

2013 PWP Studio

2013 PWP Studio

2013 PWP Studio

2013 PWP Studio

2013 PWP Studio




We clicked our heels together and…

By | Bold American Events & Catering, Corp Events Unlimited, Corporate Events, Event Industry | No Comments

Since we did it minus the ruby shoes, instead of back in Kansas, we found ourselves back at the Georgia Aquarium, and this time for a client’s annual kick-off.

The GA Aquarium is a favorite venue for corporate events because of its flexibility and space, not to mention the company of our graceful friends in the water.

For this event Corporate Events Unlimited handled the planning, while Bold American Events & Catering did the decor, which was a coral-inspired theme with vivid reds and blues.

Guests were serenaded by the Yacht Rock Schooner band.










Shooting Just The Decor

By | Corporate Events, Decor, Event Industry, Food, PWP-ism | No Comments

I was shocked today when one of my fav event industry friends asked me if I would consider shooting JUST THE DECOR for an amazing event!?


Clearly I have not been doing my job because decor photography is one of the core offerings of our business – probably 20% of what we do!!

We shoot the decor shots many of our event industry vendor friends use for awards and sales/marketing materials – we are frequently hired separately in addition to the primary photographer for the event!

We have custom packages set up just for our industry where our vendor friends can gain fully licensed images for their business at a fraction of the cost of hiring me on a retail basis.

Curious about what that looks like? See below. Curious about how it works – GIVE US A CALL!!!!!! [+1 678-457-4578]

Beautiful outdoor setup

blue lighting plus decor

Food table setup

Christmas decor - 2012

Flower vase

Signature Slushies

Overhead shot of an event

Decor Photography 117

decor photography 116

Wine Cellar Event Setup

Phoenix 2012

Dinner Setup

Finger Foods at Maui

Pink Power Moms at High Museum

Casino Night at WOCC

Decor Photography - great purple lighting

Welcome to Miami, a post by PDub

By | Conventions, Corporate Events, Decor | No Comments

Just wanted to share a little about the GREAT time I had down in Miami recently, photographing the HD Boutique (now known as HD Americas). It was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center–just a few blocks away from the heart of South Beach.

The “HD” stands for “Hospitality Design” and it’s basically a trade show for the designers of boutique properties in the hospitality world: hoteliers, general managers, interior design firms, architects, and everyone in between. There were seminars on everything from collaborating effectively on a large project to the design inspiration to the themes from famous designers and the famous spaces they created. I was able to see quite a few different design trends in the industry, and a whole lot of eye candy in the form of furniture and fixtures!

I came out from behind the curtain to share my experience with you because I really loved photographing this event…boutique design is my jam. If you put clean lines, crazy fabrics, textures, animal prints, and stark contrasting design elements from an eclectic mix of periods and influences — there I am!

My affinity for this type of design came to me quite honestly: my Uncle Jim is a fantastic interior designer. Throughout his life he purchased amazing historic homes and transformed them into modern design showpieces. The three most memorable properties of his that I remember were the home he and his wife built (complete with mirrored walls, black hardwood floors, an eight person marble hot tub in the master bath with the 5-foot chandelier over it), the bed-and-breakfast he created in the late 90’s (with an actual car–a Thunderbird–coming out of the wall above the kitchen sink and a larger than life size sarcophagus guarding the main staircase), and finally, an old filling station he renovated into a personal abode that was featured on HGTV! Not bad for a guy with no formal training living in L.A.! (That’s “Lower Alabama” not Los Angeles!!) He was a tremendous influence on my “eye” and so walking into the HD Boutique in South Beach was not just an exciting shoot for me, I was waxing nostalgic over fond memories of seeing the over-the-top designs in my younger years.

During the day we spent most of our time in the convention center at classes for new designers, existing designers, and for the vendors catering to the hospitality market. During the evening is when the fun really started…fabulous parties hosted at the most design-centric fabulous venues in Miami! We were treated to a wonderful event the first night at Lantao Social Club at the Surfcomber Hotel.


The second night was a CityScene sponsored party at the W. Hotel South Beach:


And the final night event (my personal favorite) was hosted at The Light Group’s FDR, acclaimed underground speakeasy style club situated in the basement of the famous design icon, the Delano.



Fabulous doesn’t even begin to describe the whole experience and Uncle Jim has already volunteered to assist me next year!



Is YOUR car bigger than a golfcart?

By | Cars, Corporate Events, Family Fun Day | No Comments

One of our big name clients held their Family Fun Day recently, and chose one of the coolest venues in the Atlanta region. Sometimes you have to go OTP (that’s “outside the perimeter” of the 285 interstate loop) to have a little fun. We headed south to Douglasville to play at Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club. What do they have that you might not be able to find in the big city? Let us show you…

Hay rides from a John Deere tractor…



…Paddling a canoe…

…and Horseshoes! As if that weren’t enough, they hosted a bunch of family friendly activities and entertainment from outside vendors.

You could get tattooed…

…Or check out a magic show…

…or get your groove on the dance floor (maybe it’s “Dance Lawn”?) with our DJ buddy Joel Rabe from Lethal Rhythms !

Granted all that activity is going to make you hungry and tired…thankfully, Foxhall has a beautiful patio area for you to sit and enjoy some delicious food, provided by Bold American. (You KNOW they’re one of our faves!)


Now you’re probably wondering, “I’ve had a sporting good time with a ton of different recreational activities here at Foxhall, and stuffed myself to the gills with delicious food, but what do I get to take home from all this family fun?” Well, check out the door prize…






…Just kidding! Had you goin’ for a second there, huh? Here’s a true story: Patrick’s (Boss-man) first car was a Porsche! In fact he still owns the exact car he used when he learned how to drive. However, when he’s on location for business he prefers to drive around in the Lunchbox. Wanna see?

Oh yes, that golf cart IS bigger than the official PWP Studio wheels! Serious business!

If you’re looking to host your next corporate fun day at a unique location with fantastic activities, then you should definitely head on down to Foxhall.

We had a blast hanging out with our client’s friends and family, and with all our favorite vendors. Bonus, we got to take amazing pictures of some really beautiful scenery– and we’re not just talking about that sweet ride! Just another great day at PWP Studio!

Georgia Dome Disco Divas

By | CCP Events, Corporate Events, Decor, Event Industry, EventScapes, Uncategorized | One Comment

This party is really once in a lifetime: a GIGANTIC disco party inside the Georgia Dome! A couple thousand friends got together, and thanks to the creative vision of The Kuki Design Group out of New York and Los Angeles, assembled a team of nationwide lighting designers and Atlanta’s best event decorators. Check out how they customized every detail to be unique, and provided great interactive entertainment!



The laser lighting was truly impressive, and a great way to highlight the evening’s performers: Grammy winning Disco legend Thelma Houston with The Voice contestant and Broadway Star Frenchie Davis singing hits of today and of course some old-fashioned 70’s funk! Speaking of “old-fashioned”…


The Eventscapes team created these awesome custom disco themed centerpieces…for our younger readers, that square thing is an 8-track cassette! They also got creative with the flowers, choosing instead to use some funky disco balls:


We are so glad that CCP Events gave us a call for this gigantic party. There was tons of entertainment…a casino, go-go dancers, a killer DJ, and all of the drinks were served from behind custom built bars. Everywhere you looked there was something unique!





At this event teamwork was key…not only for the hosts, but for us! It took four different PWP Studio photographers to cover this awesome party, taking photos of all the incredible decor and then our signature event photography: pictures of guests having FUN!

You might wonder, “How did a few thousand people ALL have retro outfits and psychedelic wigs in their costume closets?” But one of the best parts of this interactive event was the costume tent! Guests were able to play dress up and hustle the night away on the dance floor.



Now it’s your turn! Comment and tell us about the best theme party you ever attended. Bonus points if you can post photos of PWP Studio employees wearing afro wigs.



Fiery Florals and Fun at Opera’s Atlanta Event Center

By | Atlanta Event Center at Opera, Corporate Events, Decor, Event Industry | No Comments

If you’ve ever gone out for a night on the town in Georgia’s capital, you probably know that Opera is one of Atlanta’s hottest nightclubs. But did you know that you can host your own private club at Opera? That’s right– they do events as well. The Atlanta Event Center at Opera is able to host up to 1,000 guests, and they have in-house catering as well. Their fabulous event sales manager Lindsay Smith gave PWP Studio a call to photograph a fundraiser with the Metro Atlanta Chamber.


The buffets were as attractive as they were delicious, and accented perfectly by the unique floral arrangements. Those particular tulips are called “Flaming Parrot” and were brought in just for the occasion!

Gorgeous, right? Now you might ask yourself, “Self…why did the Atlanta Event Center at Opera want to use FLAMING parrot tulips in particular?” Well, after the incredible performance by the aerialists on silks…


…there was a little bit of FLAMING fire action on the stage!!


This was the first event in this space to have pyrotechnics, and we think it came out AWESOME! Thanks so much for having us there to capture photos of this fun fire, Lindsay!