Meet and greets are popular photo ops that we’re hired to do and often have a lot of intricacies that are key to making sure they run smoothly and efficiently. Depending on the type of person or group that the meet and greet is with, there may be rules put in place by the talent but often things are a bit more loose. However, to have the best experience for both the talent and the guests, here’s some wisdom we wanted to share to help you have the smoothest experience at your next meet and greet!
You may be thinking, what happens at meet and greets? Often when we’ve done high profile meet and greets with Presidents, Oscar winners or rock stars, there are a lot of rules and restrictions put in place and most of these are to insure that things move along smoothly and without incident. Having a team set up with the right people doing the right roles can also help a lot and understaffing the overall team can create issues.
However, things start even before you get to the actual meet and greet by identifying all of the logistical elements. Often, you may be set up backstage or in a specific area near where the keynote, concert or such activity is happening. You want to make sure that you know what’s most important for the meet and greet such as, “is this more of a photo op than an actual ‘meet and greet’ ?” Usually, though they’re called ‘meet and greets’, they’re really more of a photo op. If that’s the case, then usually it’s super important that the flow is smooth and the line can keep moving.
Factors you should consider include:
- Does that talent have any restrictions? (for instance, some do not like touching, and as such, you want to make sure the guests are aware of that up front and don’t make the talent feel uncomfortable). Other restrictions could include lighting (are they ok with flash or do they prefer not – in this case, this would affect the type of lighting that would be needed to professionally light things), or what side they prefer (some talent is particular to be shot only from their right or left – this can impact where the line forms and which way people approach the meet and greet).
- For staffing, if there is a line forming, you often want to have someone up front letting people know what’s going to happen (this is especially important on bigger meet and greets with limited timing to make sure the line moves quickly). This person can make sure guests take off badges, hold purses, and let the guests know to not touch the talent (if that is the case) and to not ask to take a selfie or use their own phones (unless it’s one of the fun meet and greets with Shaquille O’Neal – he’ll take the guests phone and take a selfie since he’s so tall it’s always a flattering angle and is actually a specific thing you can hire him for). People asking to take a selfie after the ‘official’ shot can slow things down tremendously and often talent have clauses for ‘no selfies’ in their contracts.
- Related to the ‘no selfies’ aspect is talking to the talent and team about how to expedite processes. It’s not uncommon for guests to want to talk even more to the talent and they are often wanting to be nice and not cut off the discussion. In these cases it’s good to identify who is to be the ‘bad guy/girl’ and to cut off those conversations. As photographers, we’re often tasked to do this, which is fine, but often there is a staff member whose job is to expedite and curtail those type of overly gushing fan moments.
- On the back end of the line it’s important to have worked out the logistics of how people are leaving. Do they go to some place where their badges/purses, etc. were dropped off or if it’s a more high touch meet and greet perhaps someone grabs the items from the person they dropped it off with originally so they can grab them on the way out.
- Other things to account for up front include what the backdrop will be (based on how many people will be in each shot, you want to account for how wide the backdrop should be). Additionally if you have tall talent (like when doing the NBA All-Star game or Warriors championship events) you may want to consider the height of the backdrop as well.
Hopefully these tips can help you when you have your next meet and greet. We’ve done so many of these and it gets uncomfortable for talent when many of these details haven’t been worked out up front. It can be awkward and slow things down without having taken into account many of these details (and many more, but here we’re more focused on ones that affect the actual meet and greet (M&G) experience itself. If you’re having one that you’d like us to work, there are other elements to take into account if, for instance, you want to offer a signed photo of the M&G image(s) and need to be coordinated way up front.
We’d be happy to talk to you about your next meet and greet and how we can help make sure it’s the most efficient and fun one for you and your guests!