Photography helps people see.” ~ American Photographer, Berenice Abbott

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then trade shows are the perfect venue to capture them. After all, exhibitors spend a lot of money establishing a visual presence at trade shows. Enticing booth design, vibrant signage and graphics, demos, presentations, and other activities designed to increase booth traffic, make trade shows a rich environment to capture photographic memories that can be repurposed in a myriad of ways.

Part of your job as an exhibit manager or trade show marketer is to provide value for your company or your client. Capturing trade show images that illustrate your good work to company executives is paramount. Photos tell the story of your exhibit, from start to finish. They are the eyes for those who couldn’t be there and the memories for those who were. The following is our recommendation of the digital images to capture at trade shows.

Photo Check List 

1. Products and Services

  •  Shoot your products from every angle.
  •  Capture shots of displays, kiosks or graphics that explain your services.

2. Branding

  • Include photos of exhibit properties and all signage and banners.

3. Staff

  • Capture a group photo.
  • Obtain candid shots of your staff interacting with booth visitors.
  • Capture shots of invited speakers or experts engaging with prospects or customers.
  • Take shots of company executives or experts delivering keynote, workshop or seminar presentations.
  • Get shots of temporary trade show talent in action engaging prospects.

4. In-booth presentations, demos or Infotainers

  • Take shots of large crowds around your presenter/Infotainer (i.e. magician)
  • Capture theater audiences.

5. Booth

  • Perimeter shots of the booth before attendees arrive – capture all signage in the shot.
  • Perimeter shots of the booth during exhibition hours with busy traffic.

6. Show Promotions

  • Photos of any contest, game or prize wheel in action with traffic.

7. Competition

  • Take photos of competitors’ booths

8. Sponsorships

  • Take photos of the areas in which your sponsorship is located, such as coffee or lunch areas, and all signage and people participating.

9. Lead Capture

  • Shots of staff or contracted trade show talent taking leads.

10. Other

  • Any unique exhibit idea, concept or new technology that may be helpful to you in the future.

Capture Moments Not Just Photos

Try to capture spontaneous moments, such as a staff member sharing a laugh with a prospect, shaking hands and smiling with attendees, or a visitor winning a prize. At the Ford Commercial Vehicles trade shows, which we’ve produced since 1992, attendees often bring their families, allowing us to capture great images of little kids sitting in a huge Ford truck or wearing a Ford cap their daddy just won! Those types of photos do more than present a static image. They convey warmth, humor and the human contact that is unique to trade shows.

Trade Show Images

Great moments with kids in the Ford booth. Click to enlarge.

How to Use Trade Show Photos – Let Us Count the Ways

Your website

Every business has a story and images help tell it. You can include trade show images on your website to spark viewer interest and convey to your prospects and customers what activities your business is involved in and that you are a participant in industry events.

Post-Show Reports

After every trade show we recommended that you provide your company executives or your client with a show report summarizing the event. Supporting the report with select photos is much more compelling and interesting than words alone.

Year-End Trade Show Planning

When you’re determining the trade show budget for the upcoming year and what expos to attend, images from your exhibits provide visual proof of the effectiveness of trade shows and are the perfect complement to post-show statistics.

Press Releases

A press release is a great way to talk about your brand messaging, what products or services were featured in your booth or the importance of your new product launch. Articles with images, garner 94% more total views! Adding images is a no-brainer.


Your experiences as an exhibitor or trade show marketer provide unending blogging opportunities. You can write case studies from events, educational how-tos, trade show tips and advice. The topics are plentiful! Inserting images of real people in a real-life setting is more engaging for the reader and increases viewer retention. Text plus images is a one-two blogging punch.

Social Media

The area in which we use trade show images the most is social media. We include photos with nearly every post to support our points and increase engagement. On Twitter alone if you want a retweet, include a photo.

Trade Show Images

Photos from some of our clients’ booths. Click to enlarge.


Indeed, photography helps people see. But, you need not hire a professional photographer to take photos of your trade show exhibit. We suggest that you designate one person to take photos and make sure that person understands what you want captured by following the list provided at the beginning of this article. However, if multiple people are taking photos make sure they are uploaded in one area for easy access. Everything is visual now. Capture trade show moments and memories and share them with the world.


C.C. Carr – Lead Onsite Director