As a wedding photographer, I am used to shooting events. But there is a ton of difference between a wedding and most other special occasions. For a start, a wedding is ultimately about two people. Whatever you do by way of reportage, of family groups, of candid pictures of guests, THE money shot, the one that is going to go over a few mantelpieces and which will have pride of place in an album is a classic portrait of the bride and groom. In a sense it is very simple – get that shot right, and everything else is icing on the cake.
As an event photographer, other events are far more varied and wide-ranging. Some are family or personal events, others are corporate. The brief is often simply to give a flavour of the event. One is less interested in finding the stand-out shots as creating a set which really captures the day, or evening.
I have done three quite different events shoots within a few days of each other – two on consecutive days, and one from a week or so back. Today’s blog is a selection of images from those days, and a few notes on why I used the kit that I used.
Event Photographer - The Band
My son is a super-competent all round musician and singer. He has played with a number of bands and individuals over the years, and he invited me to come down to a local music venue for a gig by The Higher Planes. Tom had been asked to stand in for their regular drummer, and he promised me that this band would be right up my street.
He was right – bluesy, soul-heavy rock which sits somewhere between Doors/Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Alabama Shakes in the contemporary scene. Their lyrics are full of apocalyptic social comment, and yet a sense of rock’n’roll fun still pervades. It was a great gig.
The venue was local, and yet a new one to me. The Old Dispensary is an Irish pub just along from Camberwell Green towards the Oval. It has a good rep for live music. I wondered if it was a bit lairy, so took my oldest SLR (the Nikon D700) and a couple of old prime lenses, plus my Lumix FZ1000 to shoot some video. I needn’t have worried – for an event photographer the place was great, and the D700 is a great camera in poor light anyway, even at nigh on 15 years old!
Camera Nikon D700 – a grand old lady now, but still working perfectly, and fantastic in these conditions. The light was very mixed across the “stage” area, with Alice (in the middle) hardly lit at all. The bass player and drummer were almost unreachable in the murk. I had little room to move. Lenses used on the Nikon 50mm 1.4 g and 35mm 2 d. For videos shot on the seven-year old Lumix, please see my Youtube channel.
Event Photographer - The Stonemasons
When I am not shooting under the banner of Andrew King Photography, I am working for Affordable Granite, the South East’s best solid stone kitchen worktop supplier. AG is a founder member of the Worktop Fabricators Federation, a trade body which hopes, in time, to provide the kind of Health and Safety and Quality certification that the industry has been needing. I was asked to attend and photograph a WFF Roadshow event at Bellagio Stone in Leamington Spa this week. So – a trip on Chiltern Railways out of Marylebone – my first time ever using that graceful station. It was a very interesting and stimulating day. As I am blogging about it on the AG website, here are a few photographic notes.
This kind of occasion gives you a high level of security for your equipment, and a few open questions about the conditions you will face, though I am very used to stone workshops and showrooms. As event photographer, I took the Nikon D5 as main camera, with a D800 body as backup. Most shots were done using the 24-70 2.8 and later I got the 85mm f1.8 out for variety. I used the Samyang fisheye to capture presentations in a small room. On the shop floor (where I couldn’t really take a whole camera bag) I just had the D5 and 24-70. In the showroom I bounced the Nikon SB910 off the ceiling for most of the shots shown.
Event Photographer - The Poets
For more than a decade (how did that happen!) I have been the “unofficial official events photographer” for poetry evenings organised in Brighton by Pighog Press, an imprint of Red Hen Press. (It is all very farmyard with these poets, you know!) Since I moved to London I don’t get along so often, and I certaibnly don’t write as much poetry as I should, but I love being part of this slightly random group, and making my contribution, generally with the camera as event photographer.
On this occasion, with book launches by Jackie Wills and Brendon Cleary, I knew just what to expect in terms of content. What I didn’t know was the venue – we have had some events in atmospheric bars with either no light or lightibng in the most unflattering of colours. I was pleasantly surprised by a superb room, with decent lighting and a plain white background, at the Phoenix Art Space – a building I find it hard not to think of as “the Poly”!
The poet Maria Jastrzebska interviewed Jackie Wills about her book “On Poetry” and chaired the discussion that followed. After the interval, she introduced Brandan Cleary, who then read from his new collection “The Other Place”.
Another event with reasonably good security for my gear, though I wasn’t particularly sure of that when I went. I used the D800 with the 70-200mm f2.8, and the D5 with the 50mm, the 35mm and the Samyang 12mm fisheye. I really liked the Black and White edit, so have stuck with them for this post.
I love photographing events of all kinds. No two special events are the same, of course, and the variety is wider for me than simply ploughing a single furrow as a wedding phiotographer. Being based in London, there is no shortage of events photography work, and I am glad to get out and about around the region too. Event photography requires a reasonable variety of equipment, and a reasonably cool head and confidence in using the gear that you have. Often it also requires quietness and an ability to be unobtrusive in a fairly rapt atmosphere – that certainly aplied to the third of the shoots shown.
Contact me as your event photographer for special occasions of all kinds!
Photos © copyright Andrew King Photography