First Event Photography

Last December, my Christmas present to myself was a Digital SLR camera with a few lenses to get into photography. Then last¬†¬†Thursday, my company had our big revenue milestone party. At about 10am, I got an email addressing the company looking for somebody to dedicate themselves to being the photographer (presumably with a point and shoot) — yeah, well, I ran over to that person and proudly volunteered myself and my slr. In the interest of thoroughness, somebody else in my department has a Canon rebel with a kit lens and I wanted him to supplement my 50mm no flash shooting.
I shot with a spray and pray technique:

  • 1200 clicks turned out
  • 450 Exposed, non blurred, non super nasty grimace photos
  • 200 Reasonable, moment capturing photos

My Co-photographer took about 80 and published about 50 (all kit lens with flash). Our analysis of his and my flash photos is that the flash makes everything look posed and doesn’t capture a true feeling, but that I really could have used a slave flash, or a nice $1600 really fast lens.

Things that I know would have made this better

  • If I had had a slave / bounce flash
  • If I had a wider aperture lens (1.7 is as fast as I got)

I was mostly shooting at ISO 800 and 1600 once the sun went down. The lighting in the venue was sporadic at best.

The hardest part was people trying to group together for their pictures. The 50mm can only capture a solid portrait of 1-2 and maybe a 3rd person. People are used to their point and shoot versatile lenses that can take a group picture of 15 people. HAH. No way did that one turn out. (But I took the click and faked some sort of approval.) And then, not understanding that the lighting isn’t the only / main issue… they say, “use the flash”

Knowing that most people wait days for their photos and having some extra fuel for metabolism kept me up until 3, allowing me to select the photos that would be ok without any cropping or were just generally acceptable at catching some great moments. I got about 6 emails saying how amazing all of the photos were and how much emotion they captured. — That’s pretty good — and a lot of people loved their photos because it wasn’t really a photo angle that they’ve seen before.

I was really pleased about some of the award photos where people had just gotten their award and were laughing and reading what it said. The showing off pictures with flash just don’t capture the story the same way.