From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

Wikimania 2014 is going to be a busy and exciting event! We want to capture and share what is happening so remote participants around the world can engage with the Wikimedia movement, both live during sessions and for years to come with curated photos uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Official Volunteer Photographers

Anyone can take photos during the conference and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. There will also be official volunteer photographers who have agreed to spend one five-hour stint on a morning or afternoon Friday - Sunday taking photographs of sessions, speakers, delegates; generally trying to document the event and capture the power of the Wikimedia movement.

If you are interested in being an official volunteer photographer please contact katherine.bavage@wikimedia.org.uk. There will be some preference given to those with experience of photography, though you do not need to be a professional. You need to be comfortable moving around sessions and interacting with delegates, proficient with a camera, and willing and able to upload photos during and after your volunteer shift :)

This guidance should be useful to everyone, but is mostly aimed at official volunteer photographers.

Your shift - preparation


You will be contacted ahead of the Wikimania weekend days (8th - 10th August) with a request to clarify if you are able to bring your own equipment, or if you require a loan or hire. Ideally you will have your own camera, lens or lenses and memory cards but we do understand that international travel or finances can put a crimp on things. Make sure you communicate with Katherine Bavage about your what you can bring or what you need to access.

Photo Permissions

Delegates will wear a sticker with this logo if they do not wish to be photographed

Please be aware we have a number of people on site who have opted into our 'No Photography' offer for attendees. If you see a delegate wearing this sticker please do not take their photograph, and if they are part of a group you wish to photograph, please alert them beforehand.

If you subsequently find a picture you have taken includes an attendee who identifiable with this sticker on, please delete it. Please check carefully before sharing to the Wikimania dropbox or uploading to Wikimedia Commons.

In all cases WMUK (or however you wish to put it) suggests a policy of active consent (to be photographed) will avoid issues and prevent disappointment.

Wikimedia Commons Account

At the end of your shift you will be expected to visit the Choir Rooms where you will sit with a volunteer and ensure your images are uploaded to Wikimedia Commons - either directly, or on your behalf (arrangements will be made to support the latter where this is more expedient and to ensure such photos are correctly licensed and attributed in terms of copyright)

In order to facilitate this you will need to create a User Account on Wikimedia Commons prior to the beginning of the conference. Details on how to do this are here

High Quality photography: guidance

Photography 'Live': covering sessions


Number one is to respect everyone around you, the audience, the event organisers, the speakers, you are documenting their event so being respectful and courteous will get you far.

Don't block line of sight

The audience aren’t there to see the back of your head, so if you’ve got permission to shoot from the front of the stage or side of the stage then make sure you aren’t negatively effecting the experience for anyone else. People pacing a room or moving a lot just out of the audiences line sight can be just as distracting.

Seek permission where possible

If you are taking a photo of a group of individuals at an event it’s always good practice to notify them of who you are, who you’re taking pictures for and where they will end up. This gives people a chance to rightfully decline having their photo taken. Whilst candid photos can often get the best results, being polite is still important.

If in doubt consult a session host or team leader

If you’re not sure what you can and can’t photograph and where you can stand then ask the session host for advice, or a volunteer team leader. This includes checking whether it’s possible to get closer access to the speakers or standing behind or near panels and speakers.

Be Stealthy

A good event photographer should be neither seen nor heard. It’s very important that you aren’t distracting to the speaker on stage or to the audience, your phone should be on silent and you should try as best as possible to stick to the edges of the room to avoid getting in the way.

Using Flash

Some venue spaces like the frobisher rooms have less natural light. Being aware of whether you need a flash and making good use of directional flashes, if you feel you need one, will make you much more unobtrusive. If you are covering a session or event, or want to take photos of delegates in a dim area you need to:

Speak to the panel host before the session starts to explain that you will use flash photography so they can inform audience members this could affect. Then please only take a few shots for no more than five minutes at the start of the session so it’s not disruptive.


Inform delegates you are an official photographer and will be taking photos of them and the area with flash - ask "Is that ok?"

Basically no flash photos without warning :)

This does mean we may miss some cool spontaneous shots in dim environments but its better than posing a risk to people with epilepsy or disrupting the conference experience. Obviously adjusting ISO balance and post-editing can help enhance more candid or spontaneous shots where they were taken in a darker space


We want as much as possible to update our social media channels live with your photos - both because it will help share what we're doing with Wikimedian's around the world and because it will build a better public understanding as the images are shared. Photographs are a powerful to help people understand why Wikimania and the Wikimedia movement is important.

During your shift if you have a laptop with a card reader or time to come to the Hub on Level 3 between sessions, then grab your best photos and upload them to the Dropbox account.

Please use the following naming convention

  • Speakers: Speaker_Name_and_Speaker_Name.jpg
  • Audience:Session_Name_audience.jpg

If you're unfamiliar with dropbox then you can find out more for how to use it here

Photography 'Legacy': Capturing the community and the movement

Things to think about

Pay consideration to where the images will be used

There’s a good chance some of the images shot at Wikimania will be broadcast all over the world by international press so the photos need to be of the standard, and of the format expected by news organisations. Have a look through big news websites to get a feel for the kind of images they use. However - they will also be used throughout the movement to tell the public, readers, other organisations and even donors about the confernece and about our work. What story will your picture tell? Things to think about:

  • Do people look happy in the picture?
  • Is it well lit and framed?
  • Does the image tell the story of what is going on in that session?
  • What does it tell people about the atmosphere and feel of the conference as a whole?
  • Is the image documentary (Person editing) or more abstract (hands typing) - both kinds of photo tell the story!phed?
  • What impression will a person not attending get from the image?

Also bear in mind the relevancy of the photographs, detailed shots of lanyards or branded mugs may look good but they may say very little about the event or may date quickly!

Don’t overshoot

Every image you take will have to be vetted, selected, edited and uploaded by you or another volunteer on the day. Strive to get that one photo you are after and when you’ve got it, move onto another shot rather than taking lots of small variations of a single image. We'd rather 10 really cool pictures than 100 'meh' ones :)

File size and format

Whilst images need to be large enough to maximise their reproduction value both online and in print, you don't need to shoot in RAW. Large JPEG or TIFF is sufficient and will cut down on excess editing before the images can be used.

Your shift - checking in/out and 'The Hub'

Your shift should start at 9.00am, 2.00pm or 6.30pm. Come to Level -1 and then head straight to the Choir rooms - give the Dispatch desk your name, and you're off!

You are then free to roam the conference across 4 floors and many sessions and intermediate areas such at the Community Village and Hackathon. Enjoy! Make sure you've checked out the programme during your shift and making the starts of sessions you think it will be important or interesting to document.

At the end of your shift come to 'The Hub' on the third floor. When there you can either plug in and upload your pictures to Wikimedia Commons, or you can dump you images on a hard drive and fill in a quick note about which sessions they cover - it should take about 15 minutes.

Shifts end at 1.00pm, 6.00pm and 10.00pm and Katherine will be present in the Hub to work with on your upload.

Licensing your images

If you are dumping your photos you will need to send an email indicating you give permission for your photos to be uploaded and the licence under which they are released, so they can be uploaded and catagorised on your behalf. Katherine will help you do this at the Hub and this is why we have asked everyone to create an account on Wikimedia Commons.