Conference and Event Photography
Like so many venues these days this one has little ambient light to allow projection screens to be visible to the participants.
One of the things I love about photography is the unpredictable nature of the work. Every job is different, presenting different issues to overcome.
Lighting is probably the most obvious hurdle on every shoot. Sometimes from a photographic point of view there will be little or no ambient light, meaning the photographer needs to introduce light, usually in the form of flash. Balancing flash with the ambient light to create the desired result is a common technique.
The location can sometimes throw up issues too, usually to do with lack of space or maybe the location dictates where the picture must be taken but that then means the sun is in the wrong place, casting harsh shadows which need to be reduced maybe again by the introduction of flash or reflected light.
Sometimes the client or model is the issue. Not everyone likes being photographed and it's down to the photographer to coax the best out of the sitter.
The list goes on but that's the job of the professional photographer, to use their skill, expertise, creativity and sensitivity to get the best possible results from any given situation and meet the clients brief.
Conference and event photography forms a large part of what I do but can quite often be the most challenging aspect of my work. Photographing people who move, in a large space where you have little or no control over the lighting, where sometimes from a photographic standpoint the ambient light is almost non existent can be problematic. So as not to disturb the event the photographer also needs to be as unobtrusive as possible and work silently.
Getting sharp images of people as they move and gesture during a speech requires a relatively high shutter speed. A high shutter speed in turn requires a certain level of light. Flash can sometimes present the answer but a lot of flash going off throughout a conference can be distracting to the participants. Luckily modern cameras cope with low levels of ambient light remarkably well allowing the use of high ISO settings with little detrimental effect on the image quality which can let the photographer use a shutter speed sufficient to stop the motion and capture a fleeting smile or gesture. Modern pro lenses have wide maximum apertures that allow the lens to gather light when there is little light around but there is trade off as wide apertures mean a very shallow depth of field so focussing must be precise.
Modern cameras also have vibration reduction technologies which allow the user to handhold the camera at lower shutter speeds than without the technology but this technology doesn't help stop the movement of the subject. So whilst you might be able to hand hold a camera at say a 15th of a second exposure, if you are photographing a person speaking, that shutter speed will result in motion blur of any part of the subject that moves, mouth, eyes, head and hands especially if a long lens is being used to isolate the subject.
Even given these improvements in camera technology one can still be working at the limits of what the camera can do. It still comes down to the skill of the operator to gently release the shutter at the opportune moment, to anticipate the gesture or pause in the motion, to accurately focus at wide apertures that present little depth of field, to use a range of lenses to isolate a subject or enhance the view, to exclude unwanted objects and to ensure the event looks well attended, lively and interesting.
If you are organising an event or conference and you want to record the event for pr or marketing use or simply want some quality images to use on your social media feeds then give me a call on 02920 361126 or email me.
Hi res images are usually supplied via secure web gallery within 48 hours of the event but I can also provide low res versions direct to your smart phone on the day for social media use so you can update your social media feeds direct from the event.
Pinpoint focussing results in a striking study enhanced by the shallow depth of field.
The two images above are shot using just available light at 6400 ISO at 125th at f2.8 on a Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera. The camera is very quiet to operate and very unobtrusive and even at this high ISO setting produces excellent results with no noise or pixelising.
A long lens isolates the main subject in these four images. A little bounced flash has been used for the top two images.
This particular venue provided it's own issues. There was some daylight in the room from large windows front and back but it effectively meant that the speakers and panelists were backlit by the light that came from the large windows and sunshine behind them. I managed to shoot at 1250 ISO at 1/200th at f2.8 and still managed to keep enough detail in the faces. In fact the effect was quite pleasing.
In these three images a long lens isolates the main subject and in the last image the out of focus foreground leads in to the main subject.
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