May 2020 was a very busy month for Tampa corporate event photographers. The JW Marriott- Tampa hosted the Dairy Farmers of America. DFA is an organization of local, family farmers from across the country, which means that they're owned by the family farmers they passionately serve. Divided into seven geographic Areas, their grassroots structure ensures every member is represented through elected farmer-leaders at all levels of Cooperative governance.
Cowbell Awards: The Farm Services Annual Conference recognizes dairy farmers for their farming innovations, food safety, and sustainability efforts for the environment and the health and wellbeing of the animals.
Large Corporate Group Photo: Capture a stunning group photo of 100 attendees.
Large Group of 100 attendees: Location, Location, Location. Photographing a large of people is always a challenge. The biggest challenge for me as a Tampa corporate event photographer is finding the right location. Elevation, elevation, and elevation is very important in creating a visually pleasing large group portrait. I need to either elevate the attendees on multiple levels i.e. stairs or elevate myself i.e. ladder, 2nd story, or rooftop advantage. I asked the sales staff for suggestions and viewed all of the photos on the JW Marriott's website, but was not satisfied with my options at this point.
Knowing that this was a two-day corporate event, I would have the opportunity to scout the locations in person. The stage in the main ballroom was not an option because of the dinner setup that was scheduled just before the group photo was to be taken. At one point I considered photographing the group, vertically on the escalators from an elevated position. the hotel staff even agreed to turn them off for 15 minutes to get the job done. I still was not excited about this option, so I continued my search.
In-person walk through allowed me, with my professional photographer's eye to find the best location for the group photo. It turned out to be right under my nose the whole time. Many times it is important to approach a problem from an unfamiliar direction.
The JW Marriott is a brand new hotel and I was still in the discovery stage of knowing every opportunity it had to offer a professional photographer. I have never entered it from the main entrance of the hotel. I had always entered from the west side, because it was closes to the parking garage. Low and behold, right next to the valet parking driveway, where all of the hotel guests enter, was the perfect stair case for my group photo. I couldn't believe my eyes!