Conference Headshots – A Popular Event Trend in 2023

Morton Visuals Commercial Photography Event, TipsConference Headshots – A Popular Event Trend in 2023

Conference headshots (aka convention 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 with #eventprofs and #meetingprofs. 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, and 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.

Two Successful Conference Headshot Sessions

conference headshots setup in a hotel ballroom

Adding the title Conference Headshot Photographer to our business cards is a small price to pay to see the excitement with which attendees realized 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 to practice and fine tune driving, and multiple 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 free 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 afterwards. 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. In all we delivered 69 retouched conference headshots a week later. 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 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 event photography over several days, and the headshots were a much smaller segment of our job. But in just a few short hours we were able to provide 35 retouched headshots to excited attendees. This time we were set up in a much smaller space – a double-wide trade show booth on an end. But 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 deal with a text message rather than an email, and download their images to their phone rather than their computer. (This also avoids the problem of getting notifications through some companies’ firewalls – which are quite strict in many industries.)

As with the previous event, trade show attendees were thrilled to get an updated headshot for their social media profiles. We found that throughout the rest of this particular conference, 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 portrait when an event is able to offer a convention headshot photographer to their attractions.

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. If the conference is favoring providing retouched headshots, would you be more comfortable with a per-person charge added after the fact (based on the number of headshots actually captured and delivered) or a flat-rate for the day, with or without retouching of all headshots? Some companies prefer a flat-rate for budgeting, but others may prefer the chance to save money and only pay for the headshots delivered.
  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?

Although we often have clients come to our studios for headshots in Dallas, we are excited about the current interest in providing headshots at events. We know that convention headshots are an attraction for attendees. To discuss how Morton Visuals may be able to add some additional benefit to your convention, conference, or trade show, please Contact Us. We’d love to talk over the opportunities!

What are your thoughts?

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