A couple of months ago a good friend of mine who knew that I liked photography asked me if I’d consider photographing a charity event that she was organising. The charity being Blue Sky. One of her friends unfortunately is poorly with cancer and she wanted to help this charity and raise funds for them.
As this type of photography is not something that I have done in the past I needed it to give it careful consideration. I spoke at length to Lee Iggulden at Welshot and following these discussions, as it was a charity event, and was being hosted by a good friend of mine I decided to give it a go.
Following a three way discussion on Facebook , event organisers and myself met up at the venue two weeks prior to the actual event to review the room and the way in that the event goers would use.
It was decided that as people came to the event they will be photographed against the curtain with their husbands, partner’s or wives and in groups if they wished with their friends.
Me as a photographer noted that if I forgot on the evening to take a custom white balance the rear curtain had in part a neutral grey area that could be used to adjust white balance in lightroom. We also decided that during the evening’s proceedings I would endeavour to get documentary style images to reflect people enjoying themselves.
I was also advised that the event had booked a comedian and that dancers from a local college would also be performing. I would endeavour to get some shots of these people in live-action.
Prior to the event I attended a welshot event and was given guidance by Eifion concerning the use of my flashgun. I basically knew that it is always good to get that boost of confidence from somebody that really knows what they are doing. Eifion has that in spades.
The evening approached and I showed up at the hotel at about 5.30 where my friend and the two other organisers, hotel staff were busy preparing the room including placing goody bags on each seat and information concerning the charity being promoted during the evening.
Once complete the organisers left to get ready as they were staying at the hotel overnight.
Event goers then started to arrive at the entrance and as they came in I started to photograph against the curtain. And yes I had forgotten to take a custom white balance was getting set up and taking some shots of Clair, my good friend, to check out that everything was working in good order.
I had decided to use my 17-50 2.8 Tamron lens for these shots, and a few image reviews on the back of the camera confirmed to me that the lens, flashgun, camera, combination were working beautifully and that the images were correctly exposed. As people were being photographed, they asked to see their images on the back of the camera and as the comments came back to me that the photographs looked really good, my confidence levels started to climb.
I was initially concerned that the recycle times on the flashgun would be quite slow however the flashgun worked beautifully and I only changed batteries once during the evening. I had numerous new batteries ready in my bag just in case!
Everybody was now at the event and were sitting down for dinner. I got to my table and had dinner with a charming family who made me very welcome.
For the documentary style shots I decided to use my 300mm lens so that I could photograph people at some distance without them knowing, another technique I have learnt as a member of Welshot.
I increased the iso on my camera to 3200 in order to get fast shutter speeds so that the images were sharp, knowing that any noise in the images could be reduced in Lightroom or the Define software that I have from Nik.
I managed to bag a number of images that I was happy with during this part of the evening.
During the comedians turn at the charity auction I reverted to using the flash gun and Tamron lens.
Following the presentations I endeavoured to get more documentary style images around the room and then it became apparent that people were asking for further photographs by the curtain.
Cheryl, Clair and their friends wanted a group photograph and they lined up against the curtain facing one way, with their hands on their hips, and I took probably the best image of the evening.
It was then that I noticed that I have still been shooting at 3200 ISO, so thank goodness for Lightroom and its noise reduction abilities, swapping lenses and moving ISO up and down during the evening and remembering to check settings continually throughout the shoot was something that I have learnt . Next time perhaps I should shoot with one camera with one set up, and the second camera with a second set up.
Following the event, I uploaded 130 images, to my web site , and the event gallery has now had over 50,000 hits . For those people that bought images from my website I thank you, and confirm that all proceeds from the sales will be donated to the charity.
And yes, Lightrooms white balance tool and noise reduction tool were put to good use.
Thanks also to Lee Iggulden for doing a trial buy from my website, to ensure that images could be purchased quickly and easily. I owe you a fiver !! I must also mention that my website is hosted by “The Image File”, and that their support organising the gallery and payment system was excellent.
All in all I had a lovely evening out and learnt masses as a photographer and the feedback concerning the quality of the images during the evening has been hugely positive.
I would also note that I covered the event without a fee, some may disagree with this however as event photography was not something I have done before, and that the event was the charity, I thought that this was the correct decision.
Thank you for reading, thank you to Clair and Cheryl who have allowed me to post images to this blog.