One Simple Way to Make Your Award Ceremony Better | Grand Rapids Event Photography

If you're someone who is PLANNING an event (large or small), your guests will thank you for the tip I'm about to share with you. If you're someone who has been to a business event with an award ceremony, you should share this post with the person planning the event. 


Picture this: You're headed to an event where awards will be given out and people are going to be honored. Perhaps it's a lunch at the Amway Grand Plaza or perhaps it's a dinner at Frederik Meijer Gardens

The room is packed and the program begins. This is typically where I come in. 

I photograph the speakers on stage and then it's time for the awards presentation. 

Winners are announced and come up to stage. They receive their award and then the moment happens. That awkward moment where the photographer gives direction, takes a few photos and everyone waits 30 to 60 seconds with nothing going on. 

The scene is awkward for the award recipient (who is not comfortable on stage), the presenter (they lose the flow of the event) and the audience who endures the moment. 

Everyone has experienced this moment in some way. 

Today I want to share with you the best way to make your award ceremony more enjoyable for everyone involved AND have better photos to share with your winners following the event. 


The organizer for this event wanted to get away from the traditional 'grip and grin' photos from stage. She asked, "What if we had a spot off stage that you could photograph each winner with the presenter along with some event signage?" 

I thought, "Sure, that sounds like a good idea..." 

From a logistics stand point I needed to determine: 1) where will the photos take place, 2) how is the winner going to make their way over to the photo area and 3) what kind of lighting gear will I need to take great portraits?

The event organizer chose a location just OUTSIDE of the main ballroom. This meant winners would come offstage after they received their award and have a private moment with the me, the photographer, for their portrait. 

The event organizer had a staff member just off stage to escort the winners and presenter to the photo area outside of the main ballroom. This ensured no one was forgotten for photos (or lost along the way). 

So perhaps you've seen photos of award winners on stage shaking hands with the presenter and thought "That's not a great photo of the person receiving an award...". We were able to capture that moment AND create an image the winners will be proud of. 

In addition to better photos, this process also gave event organizers an added 30 to 60 seconds per award. They didn't have to wait for a photographer to capture a photo and the emcee could go on to the next award and kept the flow of the event.

This particular event had 14 awards in total, so imagine how happy the planner was saving 14 minutes of event time during this portion of the day!

The audience may not have known the planner saved the event at least 14 minutes, but we did hear after the lunch event, "The awards seemed to go really fast today. We are done so early..."

How often does an event end early?


Now that the award ceremony was going smoothly (and quickly), it was up to me to create portraits that looked better than what could be captured on stage. 

With black pipe and drape for the backdrop, we added event signage to trademark the images. Each winner was photographed both individually and with the presenter of the award. 

Think about this for a moment. We provided an image to the winner they would be proud to share AND we created an image the SPONSOR will be excited to share as well! 

From the winner's perspective, a photo of just themselves allows them to share the image on social media and within their organization. From the sponsor's perspective, they can share the image, talk about who won the award and create more awareness for their brand (one of the major reasons for sponsoring the award in general). 

This is a simple way to adjust the award ceremony photo process, but one that proved more effective for the event planner, the award winners and the audience attending the event.

We love working with event planners and organizers who are willing to try new things in order to make their event better for their attendees. 

If you're in need of event photography, be sure to contact us and see how our photo services can help you capture the event you're planning AND extend the reach of your photos beyond the end of your conference. 

Tiberius Images is a Grand Rapids photographer that photographs people, places and events. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, they serve clients throughout the world and are available for travel.