After photographing a variety of corporate events, here's a few tips I've picked up on what makes a great one.
1. Find a Unique Venue
Instead of looking for the obvious convention center or hotel ball room, try to find a local venue with character. The last national sales meeting I photographed was held at a 1950's hotel with an awesome rooftop. The employees were going crazy on Snapchat, showing off the incredible view and funky lounge spaces. Your guests will do the marketing work for you if your venue blows them away.
2. Build in Exploration Time
Nothing is worse than being in an amazing city, but only seeing the inside of a hotel. Build in an activity or free time that allows your employees and guests to explore the city. This is a great way to show them that you really value them and want them to have a great time. One company I worked with gave all of their employees Fitbits at a conference in San Diego to encourage exercise and exploration. Needless to say, they had a pretty incredible view.
3. Dessert Stations & Custom Cocktails
Ditch the mediocre hotel cheesecake for a fun, interactive dessert spread. Whether it's a gourmet popcorn, a cotton candy station, a doughnut wall, or a s'mores bar-- your guests will go crazy. Branded cocktails are also a crowd favorite and with a little bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless. The drink below was customized for the grand opening of a lab space in St. Louis. The guests were even able to take home their branded beakers at the end of the night.
4. The Professional Headshot Station
Headshot Stations are the perfect addition to your corporate event. They provide a quick and easy way to refresh the professional image of your company while your employees are already looking their best. Whenever I set up these stations at events, I usually have a continuous line until food is served. Headshots are also a great giveaway to attract people to your trade show booth. AND everyone will be reminded of the awesome time they had at your event when they get their headshot via email a week later.
5. Photo Booth Fun
While photo booths and selfie stations have pretty much become event standards, I have yet to see a crowd that doesn't get excited about them. Offer a mix of silly and brand specific props to spread awareness for your company. Photo booths are a great way to get people to your social media page after an event. No matter what age, everyone has fun being silly.
Jenn Korman is a corporate events photographer based out of St. Louis. She has traveled the country capturing everything from multi-day national sales meetings to non-profit galas.