Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Photo booths at conferences: Participate or not? [BRANDING]

Christoph

March 16, 2017

Strategies

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Photo booths are all the rage at conferences now. Wear these silly glasses, throw on a silly scarf thingy and throw your leg up in the air to show you are having fun. 

Every once in a while when speaking at a conference the person introducing me will remind people to stop by the photo booth because it’s “oh so much fun.” And don’t forget about the documented memories. 

When that happens I usually change up my opening to this (especially when I’m talking about personal branding through storytelling):

Okay. Who wants to take a 10-minute break and we can all go to this fun photo booth and take photos?

<Many hands go up. Smiles fill the room.>

We like this presenter already. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Please fill out your evaluations NOW!!! 😂)

LOL.

Of course, it’s a bit of an unfair setup. Life  isn’t fair. Roll with it! 

First of, as I was asking the question my own hand was raised high as well.  Some hands may just go up because they are following my lead. Sorry. 😱🤔👍 I did that on purpose. 

And then I go into this question:

How does a photo booth visit – especially a silly one – fit with your personal brand? Or does it at all?

We then have a discussion about that. 

For some people it fits. For others it does not. It all depends. But the key questions to ask yourself before taking any photo:

  • Does this fit my brand?
  • Am I okay with my boss or next employer seeing this?
  • Am I okay if my customers and clients see it?
  • Does it help or hurt relationships?
  • What’s the point?

If you follow me on Instagram you know I like taking selfies. Sometimes even wearing sweat pants with a tie and suit jacket. Sometimes sitting in an office with toys all around me after my daughters visited. 

But there was a point to those photos. They told stories. And I thought relevant ones to my community.

So I’m not all about the staged and polished kind of photograph. But it’s something to consider and I usually start with the questions above. 
I don’t overthink it, as you can see by the amount of photos I take and post. But I do try to think about it just the right amount. 

And taking photos at conferences can be a fantastic marketing tool:

  • Look I’m speaking. (Need a speaker?)
  • Look who I met. We exchanged notes.
  • Here’s a blog post with pictures analysing something.

The key is to remember that once things are public they are public. So when you can control them, consider your brand and the purpose.

Sometimes we can’t control things. Sometimes people take selfies with me at events and sometimes my eyes are closed or I’m caught looking off camera. If I don’t catch it before they publish it I won’t ask them to take it down. It is what it is in those cases. No reason to be a jerk. 

And I don’t want to discourage you from taking silly photo booth photos. Just be sure that’s what you intended to do. 

When I take photos or my photo is being taken I try to look straight at the camera and smile. 

Some people tried to give me a hard time about that before: “you always know where the camera is and smile.”

Related: How to take better selfies 

“Um. Okay? Thanks.”

Conclusion 

Please take all the photos you want. Share your stories. Everywhere. Just think it through enough. But don’t let the thinking it through prevent you from publishing something. 


Christoph

Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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