Indiana University’s School of Philanthropy contacted me looking for a photographer to cover their groundbreaking event in Chicago. They told me that there was a lot of buzz surrounding this event and that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed the week of March 31-April 4 as Women’s Philanthropy Week to be issued in conjunction with the #WomenLeading Philanthropy Symposium.
I spoke with the people organizing the event and we came up with a concept of what we wanted the photos to look like. They weren’t sure what they wanted, so I suggested that above all, they had to look high-end and professional, which was a given. I also put forth that the photos had to show the diversity of the attendees in culture and gender. I wanted to show the feel of the event by not just shooting the speakers, but also the crowd, the food, the overall emotion of vibe of the event. These photos were to be used in social media, their website, printed materials, media, everywhere. So having the most choices would be ideal. They also wanted to get headshots of all 50 of the presenters, which I had lots of experience doing. But after discussing what would be involved time-wise, they decided it would be to constraining on the tight speaking schedule and instead opted to photograph the speakers as they came off stage.
The event was held over two eight hour days at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. This space was a beautiful venue with two floors dedicated to the Symposium, a ballroom and six conference rooms. I studied the floor plan of the hotel to best lay out where to place equipment and how best to move from room to room. I planned out panoramas, general shots of the crowd, shots of each of the speakers, food, breakout sessions and general hotel and attendee shots.