The James Beard Foundation hosts more than 300 events a year – and these culinary experts know how to throw a great party.
From intimate dinners at the historic James Beard House to the world-famous James Beard Awards, the organization’s content team has a lot to capture. Go behind the scenes at their Taste America kickoff event to see how they power live event coverage and maximize an event’s impact on social media.
The key to the James Beard Foundation’s photo workflow is efficiency.
“In my role as chief operating officer, I’m tasked with making sure the organization is running efficiently,” says James Beard Foundation COO Kris Moon. “We’re at 300 plus distinct events a year where we’re capturing content, we are working with the chef community, we’re touching food lovers – and if there isn’t an efficient system behind that, to take in all of that content, to store it in an effective way, and to be able to distribute it to the people that we need to get it to seamlessly, the cog in the wheel is present.”
The James Beard Foundation team runs a real-time photo workflow during events. It allows them to tell their story instantly, while their followers are paying attention, and it pays off days, weeks and years after the event. Let’s dig into the benefits of their lightning-fast photo workflow for events.
The Ripple Effect of the James Beard Foundation’s Event Photo Workflow
Real-Time Social Media Engagement
During events, photographers hired by the James Beard Foundation send photos directly to the organization’s PhotoShelter account via FTP. (Want to learn how to do this? Get the 101 guide.) With one click on the back of the camera, the images are easily accessible to the whole team.
From there, team members across the organization can see, download and share the files with the FileFlow app, even if they’re on the go taking care of other tasks at the event.
Seconds after a photographer captures an image, it’s up on the James Beard Foundation’s Instagram account. This is an incredible way to wow event attendees, and to expand the reach of the event well beyond its original audience. Maybe 100 people attend a VIP event, but as the photo hits social media, its message reaches hundreds of thousands of @beardfoundation followers.
Personal, Relevant Donor Relations
For a nonprofit, imagery is the hook that draws donors into your story, whether you’re asking for support or demonstrating their impact.
When the James Beard Foundation throws an event, the photos play a key role in the follow up. For example, when the organization hosts a celebration of their women’s entrepreneurial program, bringing together graduates and supporters of the program, the development team sends out the photos as a way to say, ‘thank you.’
“Giving a donor that memory is a really important part of the lifecycle of fundraising,” says Kris. “Being able to provide those assets and those memories to our donors that keep them engaged, remind them about why they’re committed to what we’re doing, is a really beautiful thing to do.”
Plus, the images serve as a type of social currency – when donors share them on their own social channels, it allows them to share their own impact and broaden the reach of the James Beard Foundation’s mission.
For the first time this year, Capital One is sponsoring the Taste America tour. During their initial conversations, the James Beard team used on imagery to give their prospective partners a sense of the event.
“The conversation just progresses so much faster when you’re able to use that imagery to paint a picture,” says Kris.
Now, with Capital One officially on board, the team uses Taste America event coverage to demonstrate the impact of their relationship.
“Being able to share those with our partners and say, ‘Hey, this is a great way to tell your card members what you’re doing with us and to get them excited about the next event,'” says Kris, “that’s what we want – we want our partners to be happy and be able to tell that story to their audience.”
Next May is the 30th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation. As they get ready to celebrate this special occasion, the team will dig into the archive, surfacing up photos of hundreds of events over the years.
Because they’ve captured these moments along the way, and centralized them in one easy-access, searchable image library, events of the past will have a new life, celebrating the organization’s rich history.
Don’t want to miss out on photos of a 25 year-old Tom Colicchio or a James Beard Awards packed with ’80s fashion? Keep an eye on @beardfoundation next spring.
Get the James Beard Foundation’s Full Visual Content Strategy
Ready to see how this team goes beyond events and tells their story through visual content? Watch our Behind the Scenes with the Storytellers video, and check out our on-demand webinar, The Strategy Behind the James Beard Foundation’s Delicious Visual Storytelling.