Over the years one service I’ve offered is photography for guests at parties. I’ve always sought to get away from the more sterile line-up-up-and-shoot-up look of the typical ‘events photography’ and inject a little energy. Even in a fast-paced photo-taking environment with dozens or hundreds of guests, there’s room for creativity. After all, I’ve taken some great street potraits with 10 seconds of preparation.
The key to avoiding the ‘bad school photo look’ is making sure the people are genuinely interested and in the party spirit, taking a second to ask what kind of picture they’d like, encouraging them to strike a few ‘model poses’ fashion-style. If it’s the boss of the company and his wife, they may like a solid, formal portrait. A young women might want a mini model experience. Couples who’ve downed a few drinks might like to hug or kiss.
Lighting for events is often pretty flat to cover the area where the subjects will stand – there simply isn’t time for continual elaborate adjustments. Even so, going from this flatter, ‘safe’ lighting to drama lighting might only mean switching off one of the lights. It takes a second but you could make a cool, moody editorial portrait for someone you wants it even in the midst of some crazy party. I often use this technique when shooting families. A teenage daughter, for instance, will often love a few moody high-drama photos thrown into the mix, which emulate what she sees in the fashion glossies so I’ll kill any fill light and reducing backlights to achieve this.
A slight tilt of the camera can add a little extra to an image that already has some energy in it – great for ‘huggy’ couple shots.
With ‘events’ photography, there’s little/no time for elaborate editing whether selling onsite, later via the web or supplying a CD to the client but with Adobe Lightroom and a selectiion of tried and tested presets you can jazz up and images with just a click to give an little extra punch or a different vibe.
Even with some inevitable constraints ‘Events’ photography doesn’t mean leaving creativity at home…