24 Mar Events and More Events
It was a busy last week for events. Shot everything from a floral presentation for Thomasi here in Tacoma to a memorial reception up in Bellingham. Looking at my portfolio, you wouldn’t think I worked many events or even at all. It is a whole different animal, event photography. I’m always looking at the world not just as a giant set of photo opportunities, but being a huge flash lighting guy, I’m always thinking of ways to put some extra spice and flavor into a photo by using creative lighting. In a sense, taking photography to the next level and creating my own environment with my light, the way I like it, regardless of the existing lighting environment. That is not how the event photography world works. And no… throwing a hot shoe flash onto my camera and blasting people is NOT proper event photography, I will argue that until the day I die. On-camera flash completely flattens an image, takes away the ambiance of the event and how people experienced it. Event photography is all about adapting to the environment, working with the existing lighting no matter how bad it may be. Yes, there will be times when an on-camera flash will be needed, but geez… it’s that last ditch effort when your environment is giving you next to nothing to work in. I see it too often, the “pro” working an event and blasting people with a flash when it is completely unnecessary. Doesn’t take but an amateur to know how those photos are going to turn out. I shake my head, resist the itch to ask them a completely rhetorical question, and keep walking.
Anywho… I worked a wide spectrum of events within a week’s period. And yes, it is different for me in the sense that I’m not lugging around 200 lbs. of lighting gear. It’s just me and two cameras over my shoulders. A completely different set of photographic challenges await me at events, and like I said, I don’t throw in the towel and throw Mr. Flash on the top of my camera and brainlessly blind the crowd. I love the challenge of adapting to and overcoming existing lighting issues at events to produce very pleasing photos. Don’t we all wish we could always get an overcast, outdoor event everytime? Most photographers would say ‘yes’, but that not usually the case. So you work with it the best you can, take note of the most pleasing light in the area you get to work with in the case that someone asks for a staged portrait, and you roll with the punches for the rest of it.
I don’t edit much or worry over the final product for most events I shoot as far as post production is concerned. A wedding is one thing, but fundraisers, presentations, etc. you pretty much are just documenting the event. So the client gets just that. I don’t edit out distractions from the background, I don’t crop, I don’t photoshop, I don’t soften skin. Not to say I don’t take great care in taking the pictures, in fact, it’s just the opposite. I just don’t try to make an event something it wasn’t by photoshopping the photos later on.
This was my first time photographing a memorial reception. It was different from anything else I’ve worked, event-wise. It was a sad yet joyous time for the family and friends of a well-known, well-respected family member who had passed on. At times I had to take my eye out of the camera and stop taking shots as people gave speeches in remembrance, breaking down in tears. I felt that those times were too personal and a photograph would have been too invasive. It was a great event in all, the love and tightness of the family was evident.
In other news, I’ll be heading up to Alaska for a week starting March 28th. I’m going to try really hard to take a bunch of pics while I’m up there and post them here for you all to see. It’s my first trip up there and I’m really excited. Stay tuned!