How to shoot Events Photography

I do a lot of events work throughout the year, and its mostly great fun! The venues are usually quite special, and the people attending are always up for some laughs. Its my job to make them look their best, and also capture the essence of the event and the mood of the occasion. 9 times out of 10 when I'm working at these functions, someone or more than one person, gets talking to me about my job, photography, the kit I use and how I do it. So today I thought I'd share some basics and explain how I approach a night like this. Firstly, I get my running order from the client and do a walk through of the venue so I can  work a few things out!

Its going to be dark, so we need additional light/s .... but we don't want to blitz the available light out so much that we kill the feel and mood that's there!?.... So we need to find a balance between the ambient light reading and our flash power. To put this simply... you need to expose for the ambient light (background available light) and then add in some foreground flash to light your main subjects nicely and 'Freeze' the action enough to keep it looking crisp! This is where having a camera with a good low light iso range comes into play. My ever faithful Nikon D3 is still great at low light level performance although its now 4 years old.

I always try to use some form of backlight for these events so its adds some drama and life to the background .... so I look around for the best places to set up shots. There were some key elements to this job that i needed to cover...

  • Establishing shots of the venue - in this case The Roundhouse at Camden, a fantastic event space!
  • Guests at the reception area - excitedly meeting friends, all dolled up wearing big smiles!! (Time to interact and smile lots myself too !)
  • Guests seated at their tables
  • Awards if any...
  • Dancing and partying

You need to be organised, plenty of spare batteries (as you will be hammering your flash)...... I also like to use a simple 'speed Gobo' bouncer from Honl Photo for my flash so that the light is 'bounced light' rather than direct (its just a bit softer and more flattering) .... experiment!

I also brought along my Elinchrom Ranger Quadra Kit (x2 lightweight, powerful and portable battery packs, x2 flash heads, x2 stands x2 brollies) so I could leave them set up on the top balcony ready for some cheeky group shots after dinner... guests are always more relaxed after a few drinks and then you can start to have some fun with them.

If you look at the info on each image, I have shown the EXIF data settings so you can see my exposure settings ... I hope this has been helpful, but please ping me a comment if you have any questions! Ta. :)

CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO SEE AT CORRECT SIZE AND SHARPNESS.

[caption id="attachment_3009" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power

Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 3200, F5, 1/30th Sec, NO FLASH
Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 3200, F5, 1/30th Sec, NO FLASH[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3007" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 1100, F5, 1/30th Sec, Flash on Manual Power +1/3. Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 1100, F5, 1/30th Sec, Flash on Manual Power +1/3.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3023" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3021" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3020" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to right to give side light, bounced into white brolly. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to right to give side light, bounced into white brolly.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3019" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3016" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F7.1, 1/6th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F7.1, 1/6th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3018" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3017" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3013" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3012" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3015" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3010" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3011" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3008" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Camden Roundhouse, Event Photography by Simon Harvey - Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/40th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power Camden Roundhouse, Event Photography by Simon Harvey - Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/40th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3014" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/15th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/15th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.[/caption]

Royal Ballet Photography

This week I am working at the 'World Travel Market 2012' at ExCel in London as 1 of 4 Photographers providing all the images for the world press. WTM2012 is the leading global event for the travel industry. As part of this amazing Global trade fair, the WTM team organize many cultural events for the various heads of States and Ministers in attendance. I was lucky enough to be selected to go along and photograph the Ministerial Dinner at the Mayors official London residency - Mansion House in the City. A truly amazing building and venue. I have to say, this is the sort of event photographers love! Fabulous interiors, great lighting and wonderful subjects. This was capped off by the Royal Ballet Company performing as a finale to the evening. I myself have never seen Ballet live, let alone ballet by the very best performers in the world. It was breathtakingly beautiful and elegant! The poise and grace, is truly mesmerizing. I hope you enjoy the photographs and hope to be able to do more of these if i can make further inroads now! Watch this space :)

This is why i love my job! Always different, always challenging and a lot of the time a privilege!

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London Landscape Photography

This is why I LOVE my job! My brief -  'Shoot some Iconic London Landmarks and Cityscapes along the London Soutbank'. NICE DAY AHEAD! Although i had to rise at 5am to get down to Tower Bridge to catch the sunrise, it was worth it! Every time I have to do a job which involves getting up and out in the dark, I am reminded that there is nothing better than being in London as the sun rises. it really is the best time of day to be in London! Still, calm and truly beautiful ... until the hoards arrive and the buzz takes over again. So, as I was going to be walking around all day long, I didn't want a trailer load of backbreaking gear with me, so opted for my evermore popular choice of kit - my Fuji X-Pro 1 ... in a tiny bag with 3 lenses and a spare battery, a very small Manfrotto tripod and I'm done! LOVE IT! discreet and light allowing me to crack on without feeling depressed each time I know I have to pack up and move on! I started by shooting east towards Butlers Wharf from St Katherine's Dock at sunrise and then spent the day strolling and exploring the Soutbank from Rotherhithe to Westmisnster Bridge...

I'd never been up the OXO Tower and had this in mind for the end of my day. It was thoroughly worth it. I was a bit worried about rocking up there in my jeans and North face photographer kit! ... but the staff were very lovely and guided me to their free public viewing balcony outside - where I was able to wait for the light to drop and the magic of the city lights to come to life!  I wasn't sure how the Fuji X-Pro 1 would cope with long exposures on its small sensor ... but i am very impressed with its clarity and low light noise levels. Not to mention again its sooooooo small! Chuffed!

I hope you enjoy the images as much as i enjoyed my day taking them! :-)

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