Conference Headshots – A Popular Event Trend in 2023

Morton Visuals Event, TipsConference Headshots – A Popular Event Trend in 2023
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Conference headshots (aka convention headshots or event headshots) are getting incredibly popular over the last couple of years. Now that large events are making a comeback, a new value-added benefit for attendees is gaining popularity. Providing new or updated professional headshots to event attendees – particularly after the event hiatus over the last two years – is being incredibly well-received. Morton Visuals has built a reputation for providing professional Dallas headshots, over the last few years. Now we’re bringing that service to large events!

NOTE: We have just added a new article on How to Offer Event Headshots, with considerations on the type of services and pricing models.

Behind the scenes video of Morton Visuals’ event headshots at a conference

 

Case Study: Two Successful “Headshot Booths”

We had the opportunity to serve as a conference headshot photographer at two separate events in Dallas just a few weeks ago. This article aims to highlight how this could be a great offering for a hosting organization (or a sponsor). And we can provide conference headshots at any conference or convention, nationwide! We regularly provide headshots for conferences in Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, San Diego, and Dallas.

conference headshots setup in a hotel ballroom

Conference 1

With an additional title of Conference Headshot Photographer, it’s rewarding to see the excitement of attendees appreciating their organization’s generosity.

At one conference we set up in the corner of a large ballroom that was a designated break area and networking area. (Other attractions of the room included a barista, a golf simulator, and multiple phone charging stations. The latter was arguably the most popular benefit of the room).

Morton Visuals set up a portable photo studio in a corner and photographed complimentary conference headshots to any attendee wanting one. As is our usual custom, we were tethered to a laptop so that our guests could review the images immediately. If they didn’t see one they liked, or wanted to change their hair or expressions, we made adjustments and captured additional images. Guests could then select a favorite image for retouching, and sign up to receive them via email the following week. We delivered fully retouched conference headshots the next week.

At this event the conference headshots were our primary focus. We had our second photographer provide a few hours of event photography elsewhere while we concentrated on providing a great conference headshots experience.

Conference 2

conference headshots set up in a trade show booth

A few days later Morton Visuals provided a conference headshot photographer at another conference across town. At this event we were providing comprehensive event photography over several days. Headshots were a much smaller segment of our job. But in just a few short hours we were able to provide retouched headshots to dozens of excited attendees. This time we were set up in a much smaller space – an end-cap in a double-wide trade show booth space. We were able to make it work with the same process of photography and review.

We added a text message option for distribution this time. Many people prefer to receive a text message rather than an email, and download their images to their phone. This also avoids the problem of getting notifications through some companies’ firewalls. Some industries are quite strict in their computer security and email filtering.

As with the previous event, trade show attendees were thrilled to get an updated headshot for their social media profiles. As we photographed other segments of the event, those whom we had photographed this day made it a point to come up to us and thank us. And of course ask for a photo of them with their friends!

 

How to Add Convention Headshots to Your Event

Although the organization can provide this kind of benefit at their own expense, this is also the perfect opportunity to allow a conference/convention sponsor to get a little extra recognition. A September event in San Diego was able to take advantage of that, providing additional signage at the photography station to credit and thank the sponsor. (Full disclosure: that event featured our portrait printing-on-site, so that attendees could take home a souvenir of the event with the sponsor branding in a corner of the print.) A November event also took advantage of sponsorship, with large signage to welcome guests who wanted to take advantage of a complimentary convention headshot.

How Much Do Conference or Convention Headshots Cost?

Providing a conference headshot photographer may be considered an additional expense to a standard event. It requires planning, promotion, quality photography, and of course distribution. We are able to provide that quality headshot photography and handle the distribution for you. And from our experience the goodwill it produces is invaluable. Guests get pretty excited about a free headshot when an event is able to offer a convention headshot photographer.

Headshots Pricing Factors

In terms of budgeting, we have three ways of pricing conference headshots. We always try to find the combination that will work best for your company or organization (and your budget). Occasionally a hybrid works, so let’s discuss some factors that you will want to consider.

  1. Would you like attendees to receive retouched headshots (later) or unretouched images (immediately)? The former will cost more, but usually result in a happier customer. The latter gives that immediate gratification, but many may not want to put an unretouched image up on their LinkedIn profile.
  2. Would you like to make retouching optional, at each attendee’s expense? In some cases the conference or sponsor can cover the headshot expense and let the individual attendee decide whether they’d prefer an unretouched image sooner or pay for retouching themselves.
  3. One other critical decision includes how many “headshot booths” (studio setups) may be needed. A single set can get a couple of hundred people photographed in a day. This is depending largely on how much time we allot per person, and whether we’re able to shoot continuously or only during breaks or specific event timeframes. Think of it as choosing between a studio headshot session and an “ID photo.” The more time we can spend with a person, the better the poses we can capture and the more variety they have from which to select. But time per person limits throughput.
  4. One optional item requested about half the time is providing a professional makeup artist for those last minute touch-ups. Although there isn’t time for full makeovers, a little bit of powdering and hair tidying can make a world of difference — especially if opting for unretouched images!
  5. Will your company or organization be covering the cost, or will a sponsor be underwriting the expense?

Conference Headshots Pricing Options

We have a more detailed article describing the service options and pricing for event headshots online now.

Conclusion

Professional headshots are a huge benefit for event attendees, and we’re seeing their popularity grow. And we can make the process simple and straightforward, with very minimal effort required on your part. We know that convention headshots are a big attraction for attendees. To discuss how Morton Visuals may be able to add some additional benefit and goodwill to your convention, conference, or trade show, please Contact Us. We’d love to talk over the opportunities!

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William Morton

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