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Powerful Photos that Will Make you Look: Top Conference Photographer Los Angeles

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Conference Photography, Corporate Event, Event Photography

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What an event! As one of the largest and most diverse conferences in philanthropy, the Unity Summit is an extraordinary convening for people of all backgrounds to come together in celebration and learning. From the welcome reception to the closing DRAG brunch (yes, you read that correctly–scroll to the end) there were SO many moments that captured the strength of this community. It was an honor to photograph it.

As the top conference photographer in Los Angeles, I’m proud to share that of the 2023 Unity Summit’s attendees, over 75% of attendees were BIPOC, over 20% were part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and approximately 21% identified as having a disability. What a beautiful opportunity to capture the breadth and depth of this experience.

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Change Philanthropy hosting this 1200+ person event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. To kick off the celebration, guests joined on the rooftop for dinner, drinks, and live music. This was the first in-person convening in 4 years post-COVID, so guests were so excited to reunite and meet new members of the community!

Prior to photographing a conference, I always chat with all internal stakeholders to discuss what our photo objectives are together. This way, I can organize the Daria Taylor Photography team strategically in order to achieve our goals. It was clear from the outset that our main goal was to capture candid moments within the organization that would be used to convey a connectedness in moving together to advance equity across individual and institutional practices.

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Fun fact: I got my start in photography while working for non-profits dedicate to social change, specifically around the school to prison pipeline within urban education. The mission of this organization and summit struck a chord with me. I understood the importance of creating images that capture the incredible cooperation and effort that comes together in order to educate and make change. It’s no easy task, and the people who attend this conference have dedicated their lives to making the world a more equitable place. I did not take my task lightly. Non-profit work can be heavy, but it doesn’t mean it’s dull!

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One of our objectives was to utilize candid photography to convey a sense of community around the alignment of the Unity Summit’s mission. I specialize in candid event photography, so this objective let me know that I was the right fit for this conference. Going in, I knew that the rooftop welcome reception was going to be an excellent opportunity to showcase moments of joy and celebration. But I did NOT know it was going to be quite like this! Between the dance circles and endless laughter, this group was FUN!

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Now it’s the following morning and it’s time for some serious business. We started the day with the opening plenary. It was time to capture our second objective: to highlight thought leaders within the space. Our panelists of experts covered topics ranging from funding and reparations to climate justice and beyond. Throughout the panel discussion, it was important to honor each speaker and ensure we captured moments that could be used in both event recaps and for the personal branding.

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Ok, social justice can get thick. What’s better to break up the day than…dogs? Shoutout to the PAW mission for working to decrease euthanasia! And for bringing adorable, sweet friends for us to pet. You can tell what the highlight of my day was. It’s dogs. It’s always dogs.

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Back to the serious stuff. After a brief break, our attendees gathered in various breakout sessions to discuss different topics related to the world of philanthropy. It was time for objective #3: to highlight moments that inspire learning, action, reflection, and growth.

Easy peasy. There were so many engaging moments of openness and brilliant conversation. It was wonderful to witness such depth of conversation and learning across a wide range of topics and people of different backgrounds, geographical locations, and industries.

I personally learned so much from being in these rooms; there are so many factors to consider when it comes to creating the most equitable spaces for decision-making to benefit as many groups as possible. It was truly eye-opening. I love when I have the privilege of photographing a conference while also walking away with lessons I can bring into my own life. What a beautiful job I have!

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Also, I can’t get over this woman’s beautiful hair. She is so striking!

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After a long day of learning, it was time to kick back and celebrate! Change Philanthropy held their block party at la Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Downtown Los Angeles. I planned for this to be a great opportunity to capture objective #4: to capture the divedrsity of attnedees and the overall environment of cooperation and idea exchange.

The block party featured food, beverages, and artisans all owned by BIPOC small business vendors. There were performances by artists that represented the diverse community of people in attendance. Which was a win win win for all of us, given that we got to enjoy an Indigenous musical artist and dance performance, a female-only mariachi band, and not one, but two DRAG performers. Did I mention how much I loved this conference?

But in all seriousness, THIS is how you celebrate diversity. And I had the opportunity to showcase the full experience of joy, diversity, and fun around experiencing and celebrating different communities. More diversity at conferences means more engagement which means more engaging photos which means wider outreach! It’s a win win win win, folks. And it came through in the photos.

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Who doesn’t want to start the day with some smooth saxophone? What a calm was segue into some more in depth panel discussions around racial equity. I loved grabbing photos of both the keynote speakers coupled with audience reactions. It was amazing to have so many heartfelt moments take place both on stage and off stage.

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Following the morning’s panel discussion, attendees once again gathered in smaller groups to learn about topics of their choice as it relates to their person and professional development.

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In the evening, guests celebrated top industry teams and individuals with awards for their philanthropy work. Award winners joined from all over the world and were united around Unity Summit’s mission: to deepen individual and institutional practice in the advancement of equity. So many people shared their unique paths to the world of philanthropy.

If you’re ever looking to restore your faith in humanity, look no further. Join the Unity Summit next year and you too can realize how many selfless, wonderful people are out there working for a fairer world!

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It’s time! We ended this conference with a BANG. To celebrate a conference filled with moments of learning, hard work, thoughtful conversation and new friends, what better way to celebrate than with a DRAG competition? Finally, something everyone can enjoy. The outfits were epic, the walks were fierce, and men and women from the audience were even invited on stage to participate! It was absolutely brilliant.

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If you take away anything from this post, it’s that conferences don’t have to be boring! Want to work with a top conference photographer in Los Angeles to strategize around how to make your images engaging? Let’s connect. Send me a message at hello@dariataylor.com and we will chat to make sure all of your objectives are met–in style.

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