You want to put your event in the spotlight, increase social shares or even achieve virality? Think pictures. Creative photos can convey the great experience of your event and compel both attendees and your online audience into sharing pictures to promote your event.

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Use Photocalls at Events

A picture speaks a thousand words, it’s understood intuitively and enables a much stronger connection than a press release. Here are the do’s and don’ts of leveraging an event photocall for your marketing purposes. Trust us, it is much more complicated than getting some custom clothing.

Develop a strong concept

Obviously, this is planning work you’ll have to do in advance. A fully developed and appropriate concept is the foundation of success for your photocall. What are your key media messages, and how are they related to your event? Determine who your audience is and what you want the pictures to achieve.

What story do you want to tell, and how will the pictures be used? Research the different types of visuals that are used and shared by your audience so you can serve their needs or expectations best. Choose your photocall location wisely so it will represent your event, incorporate your audience and draw the attention of event attendees. If you invite outside media, you need to be able to accommodate them.

Note: You may also want to read ‘How to shoot a model (with a camera) to promote your brand.’

Cater to different channels

Most likely, your photos are aimed to serve more than one master, such as press and print media and social networks. What you share with PR and picture agencies won’t be the same set of images you want to go viral on social media. The concept of your photocall should allow for this difference in style – and your photographer needs to be in on it, too.

Their creative process begins before the actual event as well, so discuss ideas in advance. Give your photographer enough creative freedom, but also agree to a number of prearranged shots and a few set ideas to provide structure to the shoot.

Manage expectations

Explain the concept of your photocall in advance and make sure attendees understand it and what is expected of them, as well as how much of their time it will take. 30 to 45 minutes are recommended, anything longer becomes an ordeal and a distraction from your event’s scheduled program. Find a creative way to make people opt into the sharing of their picture.


using photocalls at events


Create an experience

Take flattering and fun pictures of your event attendees. These are great for status updates about your event – make sure to identify event speakers or celebrities. It will also allow attendees to comment and leave feedback on your event. If you have a repeating event, you should, of course, use the previous material for promoting your upcoming event.

Make it easy for attendees to share their picture: offer them a print and of course digital formats, through email, social sharing or your event’s app. Monitor sharing with hashtags, a mobile website for your event and by collecting attendee data – a through a voluntary email sign-up, social login or QR code scan.

Encourage sharing through a contest on social networks and gamification: who can identify the event location or person in the picture? Is there a prize you can offer for the attendee shot with the most shares? Who will manage to snap a selfie with every single speaker at your event? Have people vote for the best photo and live broadcast your photocall and the snapshots.

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Reuse and rehash content

Collect the content your attendees generate and reuse it – for a video, a picture story of your event, a time-lapse animation or a digital photo wall. Again, make it easy as pie to reshare this spun content to get people closer to your brand and reach customers through emotions and humour. Viral videos and content are shared first with friends, so your content should cater to that.

Timing is everything

Especially if your photocall is part of your event and not an isolated happening, ensure that the timing suits everyone – at least the people you want to target, as well as your photographer. Don’t make your hired lensman sit through a panel discussion first before he gets to snap away. Your photocall should happen in advance of speeches and presentations or during a scheduled break so curious attendees can stop by. If you want to attract outside media as well, choose a time that suits their deadlines or working schedule as well.



Don’t over-brand your pictures

Don’t promise your sponsors that their logo will be in every single shot of your event because no one wants to share over-branded images. That branding board you were thinking of for your photocall with all the logos of your clients bunched up together? Please, forget it. It’s counter-productive to the sharing of pictures you want to achieve.

Choose creative props

Instead, think of something other than banner ads you can use as a prop. The goal is to have images your audience can relate to, so get ready to explore possibilities. Often simple ideas get the best coverage and are the easiest to carry out. Props can also give your attendees something to do in the picture other than smile for the camera.

Develop your event’s concept into something people can interact with – almost anything is better than just printed cardboard. If your prop absolutely has to be your product, incite creativity with an unexpected setup and avoid staged shots.

Note: You may also be interested in ‘From Photographer to T-shirt Mogul: An Essential Guide.’

Caption your images

Great captions can grab the attention of your audience, compliment the image and provide context or branding. However, don’t weigh down your pictures with dreary text. Keep it short and concise and use different captions for different channels, depending on your targeted audience.

Spread the word

Segment the audience of your photocall and reach out to them accordingly. Draw up a media list with the press contacts, picture editors and social channels you want to share your images with. A press photocall notice should be a short document with the details of your event such as story title, date, time and venue and a paragraph describing your event and the photo opportunity.

Don’t forget contact details and information on how to obtain pictures if the news outlet can’t send someone over. After your event, always follow up and offer pictures, captions and informational material.

Advantages of a photocall at your event

With a photocall incorporated at your event, you can create a great experience for your attendees both right there in the moment and online with promotion and exposure on social networks. You’ll grow your picture library and have an additional opportunity to advertise your brand – or your sponsors. Get leads for your CRM database by collecting data (with a friendly opt-in) and track the digital impact of your event through social media monitoring and hashtags. What are you waiting for, hire a photographer and plan a photocall for your upcoming event right now!




Here are some cool photocalls to gather inspiration from.

Victoria’s Secret
Unexpected celebrity is always a jaw-dropper, head-turner and eye popper. Of course, Victoria’s Secret can afford to fly 40 of the world’s top supermodels to London for a photo shoot outside their store. The resulting images were carried by local and international media, picture agencies as well as social media. Do you need the same number of celebrities to attract attention to you photocall? No – the keyword here is unexpected. Think of how your photo shoot can be different to encourage sharing.




Picture marketing platform Headoo has put together a video showcasing how to engage with your clients during an event. Whether or not you rely on their platform as a solution to capture the experience and measure the digital impact, you can gather some ideas in the video about integrating a photocall into your event to create a great moment for attendees and get valuable, shareable content you can customise with your brand identity.



Rosas and Beats
A great example of how brands can create shareable content and go beyond a simple photocall was given by Rosas and Beats, a shirt label by Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz. At a presentation of the 2014 collection in Madrid, Spanish celebrities such as Paco León, Jose Mari Manzanares or Iker Casillas designed their own t-shirts in front of journalists and bloggers.


rosas and beats photocall

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