Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Seeking event photography advice

  1. #1
    kaneohebud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    823
    Real Name
    Bud Ralston

    Seeking event photography advice

    My normal photography efforts have been outdoors for wildlife and landscapes. I have been asked to photograph a charity event next weekend for a non-profit organization who is putting on a dinner for military spouses whose husbands/wives are deployed overseas. I have volunteered my time and services to do primarily candid shots of the attendees and the guest speaker. It will be an indoor event in the evening in the ballroom of one of the largest hotels in Waikiki. There will be approximately 150 attendees. Most of the shots will be taken with ambient light using a Canon 7D with a 430 EX II speedlite (with diffuser). I have EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM and EF 70-200 f/2.8L II IS USM lenses. Other than bringing extra batteries and CF cards, anyone have any experience doing such shooting and have any useful tips?

  2. #2
    Melkus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville,NC
    Posts
    440
    Real Name
    Paul Melkus

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Well for me if I was doing this I would set the camera to AP mode and pick a low f/stop like 2.8 so that be your 70-200 lens then use a custom white balance because almost all indoor photography has some sort of mixed lighting situation, itís almost positive that auto or one the presets available on your camera wonít give you great results.

    Utilizing the on camera flash for indoor is a mix bag to me but since you have a diffuser things should not be wash out to much, most of time I will try to raise the ISO before going to my flash, you also may want to bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling but remember when you bounce or diffuse a flash, that you essentially lose some of the effective power of it. Youíll need to utilize either exposure compensation on your camera or adjust the ISO slightly higher to compensate for the difference.

    Composition is everything when doing indoor photography because of the many architectural lines there could be, keeping good composition is of the utmost importance. Really pay attention to how you frame images, especially in places that have exposed brick or tile work. Maintaining a nice, constant flow through the images is essential and even slightly off balanced it will be noticed also pay attention to the small details stuff you may not want in your photos, take the time to stage your photograph, these are things that canít be easily edited in post production.

    Indoor photography is a bit tricky and a lot of people can give up on it quickly. I strongly suggest that you continue to experiment and take several shots of everything, also known as bracket shooting. This will give you a better idea of what is and isnít working for you. One tip worth mentioning that is often overlooked is knowing the time of day and current weather outside, and how that relates to the house or building youíre shooting in. For example, shooting in an eastern facing kitchen at 9am is going to provide some pretty bright light through the windows on a cloud free day. The same kitchen at 4pm will probably be much darker since the sun will be passing over the house to the other side and shadows will be far less harsh.

    Hope this helps, sounds like a fun time for you

  3. #3
    drjuice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    310
    Real Name
    Virginia

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Ditto on Melkus' comment about lighting being an issue. In such a situation, I generally use my flash and make sure I have a diffuser on it which will give me white light on the subject(s) from 3-7 feet away. I stood on the opposite side of the tables from the subjects which was mostly about 5 feet away and all the images came out just fine. The tables were 8 feet by 2.5 feet set up in long "bunches". With more than 100 people in the group I was photographing, I wound up with about 60 images because small groups of 2-3 people wanted their pictures taken together.

    Hope this helps.

    virginia

  4. #4
    pnodrog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Waipu, Northand, New Zealand
    Posts
    3,500
    Real Name
    Paul

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    The most important asset you need is not technical but getting a rapport with your subjects. From my experience most will be cooperative, some over cooperative and a few will need coaxing. Don't take photographs of them eating (unless you know them really well). You will probably be asked how they can see or get a copy of the photographs so make sure you know what is going to happen to the photographs. Often tables can be cluttered with drink bottles etc so get them moved to one side if they interfere with your shot. Take heaps - if in doubt take another shot.

    Taking them is the fun bit - editing is a bit of a pain if you are as fussy as I tend to be.

    Good Luck.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 27th January 2013 at 08:37 AM.

  5. #5
    Stagecoach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suva, Fiji
    Posts
    6,016
    Real Name
    Grahame

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Hi Bud,

    I was in a similar position a few months ago with an indoor event in the evening consisting of 25 graduates from a leadership course and their guests of around 150 in a hotel. Requirements were 25 formal portraits of the graduates (for inclusion in the societies anual report), presentation of certificates from guest speaker and as many candid shots as possible !

    I primarily shoot macro and subjects where I can take my time, think, change settings and have no pressure as the results are only for me. Basically the task was daunting but I had a few days to seek advice (CiC) and do plenty of browsing to prepare.

    Advice flowed in and to be honest some of it was conflicting but I became more confident and aware of things I should consider. My setup was a D300, 18-200mm and SB600 Speedlite with diffuser and a bag full of spare batteries.

    Rather than give advice as I'm certainly no expert, what I ended up doing as far as the 'candids' were concerned which included people at tables, standing around chatting and posed groups of friends was to have the camera set up as follows;
    Aperture priority, 1/60th, Flash on TTL, ISO 640. I used apertures between 6.3 to 7.1 for 90% of the shots with focal lengths between 30mm to 50mm with the occasional 100mm. Of around 100 'candids' some 90% were sharp and well exposed and with no concernable noise.

    So what did I learn, using the higher ISO reduced the flash power needed thus conserving batteries and quick recycling. I changed one set only because I wanted a fresh set for the start of the presentations. The speed of 1/60th with the flash gave me good sharp images constantly. Using 6.3/7.1 helped to give me a decent DOF so focusing would not have been as critical should I have opened up more.

    Some will of course say that this was a bit of a point and shoot scenario but believe me when undertaking this type of project for a first time you quickly learn that capturing the shot, composition, moving people to get them in frame are also priorities so if you can have your camera set up and be confident with it's constant results it's a bonus.

  6. #6
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    31,104
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    It must be the high ceilings and multiple light sources but convention centers are the most difficult places for shooting. AUTO white balance will work in most areas, if you are using flash you can set to that light source. Subject movement and low light in most situations will force you to raise your ISO unless you have a fast lens.

  7. #7
    shreds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,328
    Real Name
    Ian

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    If you pay for me and the baggage, I will bring my event photography mobile studio set up for you and you can sell the resultant photos and make a donation to the charity!

    Alternatively you can hire a similar set up.

    For such a do we would probably charge £10-20 per shot to the punters, (none are printed unless they are bought), and doing 30-50 shots in an evening would not be unusual.

    We normally have two shooters, with Nikon D800/D3s, 85mm and 105mm lenses, with a spare 50mm and a 70-200mm zoom and in the bag, wireless transmitters and a pop up Lastolite 8' x 8' backdrop. Lighting is four Bowens 500 watt studio lights on stands (two on the background and two alongside the photographer). (That avoids all the problems associated with poor lighting or colour casts.

    We like about 15 x 25 feet space as a minimum to work in and have a computer and dye sub printer linked together. (and a credit card machine and good rapport with your subjects, ideally with a glamorous assistant to draw them in).

    We give a few shots away in the early evening so that it gets discussed at dinner and then the queue forms afterwards! Take spare everything from batteries to extension leads as something is bound to go wrong. (If it can, it will so think ahead).

    Works like a dream, although we are looking to reduce the bulk of the Mitsubishi event computer and touch screen to a Mac Book Pro and iPad, as it is back breaking work after a hard session.

    The majority of sales come as the alcohol flows and folk lose their inhibitions, but still want a pic in their party outfits.

    HTH.
    Last edited by shreds; 27th January 2013 at 01:46 PM.

  8. #8
    kaneohebud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    823
    Real Name
    Bud Ralston

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Thanks all for sharing your wisdom and experience. I will print out all your thoughts and use them as a checklist as I prepare. I very much appreciate you taking the time to respond. Love CiC!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,786

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Bud, a couple of years ago I had to photograph a fund raising fashion show for my local regatta.

    I used a 40D and 24-105L lens plus a Speedlite. But I was rather new to modern flashes so worked in a similar manner to the old fixed output flash units from my film camera days. Shooting with Tv mode and 1/60 to 1/120 as I thought suitable. This was a mistake.

    I also tried a few flash bounce shots which didn't come up to expectations.

    After a lot of editing I managed to get usable images from most of the Raw shots. But half way through the shoot I realised I was going to run out of card space and switched to Jpeg. Those shots were a lot harder to edit.

    If doing it again I would set the camera to manual settings and adjust these to suit the scene. For example, 1/120 to 1/200 depending on any subject movement. An aperture between F5.6 and F8 depending on the required focus depth for each shot. Iso at 200; maybe 400 if I was getting problems.

    Then let the flash ETTL adjustment auto set as needed. Some flash output compensation will usually be required. Something around minus 1/3 to minus 1 usually works for me.

    Shoot straight for quick shots. I find that bounced flash can fall incorrectly and metering is erratic.

    I have also rejected flash diffusers. For this sort of shot they don't do anything worthwhile. It just forces the flash ETTL adjustment to increase the flash output; so nothing is gained.

    Auto White Balance should work fine if shooting Raw because you can tweak this later. A custom white balance could save editing time but if you are moving around with different lighting conditions you risk getting it wrong sometimes.

    And, most important, have some trial shots beforehand.

  10. #10
    kaneohebud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    823
    Real Name
    Bud Ralston

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    More good info. Thanks Geoff.

  11. #11
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,964
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Quote Originally Posted by kaneohebud View Post
    . . . photograph a charity event next weekend for a non-profit organization who is putting on a dinner for military spouses whose husbands/wives are deployed overseas. I have volunteered my time and services to do primarily candid shots of the attendees and the guest speaker. It will be an indoor event in the evening in the ballroom . . . approximately 150 attendees. . . shots will be taken with ambient light using a Canon 7D with a 430 EX II speedlite (with diffuser). I have EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM and EF 70-200 f/2.8L II IS USM lenses. Other than bringing extra batteries and CF cards, anyone have any experience doing such shooting and have any useful tips?

    Technical Preparations and Considerations:
    1. Focal Length Choice

    ‘candid shots’ (that most Subject’s like and want) are NOT generally made by SNIPING with a telephoto lens. Unless you have a particular directive otherwise, I suggest you make lots of ‘Faces and Smiles’ and to do that you need to appear easy and at home with the camera and you need to be able to move about easily and you need to create RAPPORT very quickly and make the shot without the Subjects feeling ‘intruded upon’ and without them losing their ‘MOMENT’.

    For an Half Shot of two or three people, Landscape Orientation using an APS-C and FL = 70mm one would be at SD ≈ 15ft (5mtrs) (Subject Distance).
    For the same shot at FL = 200mm the SD ≈ 45ft (14mtrs).
    Shooting at the 15ft to 45ft range, will be unproductive; there will be little chance to create any rapport; or to make any small direction; or to grab the Subject’s momentary attention to enable you to make the ‘candid shot’.

    Moreover, the circumference of your SHOOTING CIRCLE will be so large that you will be running great distances between shots if anyone turns their head only a few degrees.

    My suggestion is that you use your 24 to 105 and ENSURE you have the freedom to move about.

    Your 24 to 105 might NOT be WIDE enough in some situations – you’ll most likely have to deal with that by making an HALF SHOT (rather than Full Length shots), if necessary.

    ***

    2. Flash Stuff:

    A Bounce Flash (Bounce Card or Bounce Mitt) will arguable be better than a diffuser – unless you are PROFICIENT at using a diffuser. Bounce Flash (from a card or mitt) will (usually) have less drain and a quicker recycle than using a diffuser:

    Seeking event photography advice

    ***

    3. The Camera Mode:

    If you choose to use Av Mode and use Flash, (i.e. "Aperture Priority' Mode), then you will need to always watch the Tv (Shutter Speed).

    Shooting inside with Flash in Av Mode, it is easy to not notice the Tv dropping and for the AMBIENT EXPOSURE to capture SUBJECT MOVEMENT.

    ***

    4. How does the Flash work - do you know?

    It is imperative that you understand the FUNDAMENTALS of how the Canon E-TTL Flash System works in each of the four advanced CAMERA MODES, (Av Tv P and M) - you need this undersatdning to make an INFORMED CHOICE of which camera mode to use.

    In Av Mode and Tv Mode, the Flash will works as FILL, for the Foreground Subject and the Shutter Speed or Aperture (respectively) will be CHOSEN BY THE CAMERA’S LIGHT METER.

    I would choose to use M Mode and use FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation) – I suggest you do not do this unless you are proficient and comfortable.

    One can become suitably ‘proficient’ in a few hours if one can practice in a similar circumstances and then limit the shooting at the gig to a formula of ‘similar shots’ – just changing the people in them.

    5.Maybe the best choice for you -

    If you are not comfortable using either M Mode (or Av or Tv Mode – which I do not suggest anyway), I suggest you use P Mode and the Flash in E-TTL Mode and the ISO at 400~800.

    P Mode is a very sophisticated amalgam of Tv and Av Modes, but it will not allow the Tv to drop significantly such that you get Subject Blur; and provided you do not try to make portraits of large groups in DEEP ROWS or very tight HEAD SHOTS, you should always have enough DoF (Depth of Field).

    ***

    A quick example just to show I actually do this stuff . . .

    These ‘indoor candids’ were all taken using a 50mm Prime Lens on a 5D (that’s about equivalent to 30mm lens on you 7D).

    These are the shooting distances for which I suggest you aim:

    Seeking event photography advice

    WW

  12. #12
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    1,009
    Real Name
    Lex

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Rapidly-changing indoor light conditions can wreak havoc on a camera's automatic modes. When shooting the Detroit Derby Girls shooting the North American International Auto Show this weekend, I decided to break my normal adherence to manual mode and shoot shutter priority (Tv) at 1/80th and ISO 1250, similar to a method I use at derby bouts.

    Mistake.

    Shutter priority was a poor choice because the speed of the action was much more variable than at a bout, and because if I wound up with plenty of light, my DoF was excessive. Using an automatic mode did make capturing fleeting moments much easier, but on balance, I would have gotten better results with manual. If you see a good moment, bang out a shot with whatever settings you have, then dial it in. TTL flash can expand your operating window (within limits) by making up for a lack of foreground exposure.

    The good news is, I really liked my gear setup. I had my camera on a home-made sling with a shoulder pad solid enough to mount an auxiliary flash battery pack (eight AAs) connected to a 580EX II. The flash was ungelled with a Vello bounce dome. My ExpoImaging FlashBender bounce panels throw softer light, but the dome's vastly sturdier, low-profile, and perfect for working in tight crowds. Running the coiled flash power cord down my chest kept it nicely tensioned and out of the way when the camera was slung, and it dangled clear of my grip when shooting. I used my 60D, a 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 USM, and a 20mm f2.8 prime.

    There's no end to the setups and settings that'll yield results in event photography. Setting up your gear for quick deployment and long battery life is an excellent start. The tricky part is determining settings in an environment you've never shot in. Hedge your bets - try multiple approaches as early as possible in each event.

  13. #13
    kaneohebud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    823
    Real Name
    Bud Ralston

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Bill & Lex:
    Many thanks for such comprehensive advice! And Lex, I appreciate the sample photos.

    I took your advice and will be renting a 16-35 f/2.8L II to go with my 24-105. I'm also picking up a large Rogue Flashbender to use on my 430EX II. I will use the two wide lenses and get up close to the participants. They are expecting photography and have signed photo releases so I'm sure they will be very cooperative, after all they are ladies who will be dressed up in their finery. I'll bring my 70-200 along just in case I need to shoot the guest speaker from a distance, but it will probably stay in my case. I will be there about an hour early to do some test shooting and will experiment with M, P, and A modes.

    Many thanks to all who have contributed here. I'm looking forward to the event and to trying a new area of photography for me. I feel much better prepared after reading all your comments.

  14. #14

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    I attended a ball at Christmas and really enjoyed having my photo taken by the pro. Two things I took away from the posed shots he took:
    1. It may be noisy, consider a headset microphone (like you'd use for Skype) plugged into a guitar amplifier or something, just to be heard above the din.
    2. Take the time to make the subjects stand at the right angle, feet in the right position, hands in the right position, etc. It makes for a better composition. In the redacted picture below all hands and feet were put where they are by the photographer.

    Seeking event photography advice

  15. #15
    kaneohebud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    823
    Real Name
    Bud Ralston

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Many thanks to all who contributed to this post. I photographed the event and got around 150 good shots. I dumped about 300. The lighting changes between the entryway and ballroom were very challenging, but with all the sound advice I learned here, I was able to adjust. The Flashbender worked really well to soften the flash and show the ladies in a more flattering light. I used a 16-35mm f/2.8L II with my 24-105 and the range covered everything I needed.

    Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much)

  16. #16
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,964
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    `A `ole pilikia - he me iki ia.

    WW

  17. #17
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    13,302
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: Seeking event photography advice

    Glad that this worked out well for you and for the participants... CHALK UP ONE MORE FOR THE CREATIVE USE OF FLASH

    A bit of advice for anyone thinking about shooting a dinner... Half filled plates and people chewing food are not very photogenic... I have always tried to avoid that type of shot!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •