Re: Company Christmas Parties
I haven't shot any company Christmas parties digitally yet, but I have put in a couple of bids on them for the upcoming season.
I do have some experience with them from my film days and found out a couple of things from that experience. First of all, work out some deal where you either agree to some kind of minimum for which the company pays you directly, which may or may not include prints of table shots, candids, or (best of all) employee couples or groupings. Going strictly on spec is a hit or miss proposition for sure.
If you have a good bit of spec involved, make sure it isn't an after work party as opposed to an evening affair of some kind. You may only make your minimum with an afternoon deal because folks just come in their work clothes, don't have spouses, and don't buy photos.
At the good parties I don't set up a background because they usually have a nice Christmas tree or decorated area that works well for this. Many are done in nice hotels that usually have a good sitting area near the party room where you can utilize the seating area and decor, and you can usually arrange with hotel staff to use that. Generally a two light setup is fine...umbrella or softbox on stands, front and backlight. If you must use a background, carry a 10x20 muslin and get a decent portable background you can put in a 4 foot softbag (around $300).
Referrals from other jobs I do have usually gotten me the calls for this kind of work, but cold calls can work if you reach the right person, usually one of the major secretaries in the office winds up handling things.
The big question...are they worthwhile? My answer would have been that it depends on the deal you struck. Mine used to range from lousy to great, but I would think with digital it's a whole new ballgame. If you don't have anything else scheduled during that time, it should be worthwhile to try it.