Category Archives: Corporate Events

A night photographing award winning politicians

Jon Snow presenting the 2012 PSA AwardsJohn Bercow and Lord SteelLord HoweDavid TrimbleMargaret HodgePSA Awards overview in Church HouseSir Richard LeeseDavid Trimble, Margaret Hodge and Jon SnowJohn Snow

I often find myself photographing awards ceremonies of one kind or another and they’re usually interesting events to photograph, not least for the people who turn out to attend them. This is the second time I’ve photographed the PSA Awards in Church House. Based in the heart of Westminster, the location seems particularly well suited to some of the heavyweight politicians who had turned out for the evening. Presented by Jon Snow of Channel 4 news (who had literally just dashed over straight from presenting the show at 7pm), the event is held by the Political Studies Association “to recognise the achievements of academics, politicians, political campaigners, journalists and other contributors to the conduct and study of politics”. There were some notable figures there, such as Lord Trimble, Lord Howe, the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, Margaret Hodge, plus a host of other eminent personalities from the worlds of politics and journalism. Not that I expected any sort of rumbunctious PMQ’s style behaviour, but it was nice to see so many individuals from different parts of the political spectrum together in the same room and getting along in a good natured and civilised fashion…

This was a particularly busy Thursday for corporate events. I’d just dashed over from the Supreme Court (fortunately only 2 minutes away) where the Copyright Licensing Agency had been holding a drinks reception, and meanwhile Leo was covering an event over at the Science Museum as my co-photographer for EPL Event Photography. Then back on the train, processing the shots on the laptop ready to be uploaded overnight for distribution the next morning via a password-protected link.

Also posted in Awards Ceremonies

An Evening with Irvin Yalom

One of the things I really enjoy about photographing events and conferences is the interesting speakers I get to hear talk in the line of my work. From after dinner speakers to politicians to marketing experts, there’s always something to take away from what people have to say. The event that the BACP put on last month was a real highlight in this respect. They had managed a bit of a coup in getting the legendary psycoanalyst and author Irvin Yalom agree to do a live link-up from California to London where he would discuss his career with his son Victor and answer questions from the audience. I was particularly excited about this event as I’d read one of Yalom’s books a while ago. “Love’s Executioner”  is a fascinating account of Yalom’s work as a psycoanalyst, involving a number of case studies of the people he’d worked with, and the ways in which he had attempted to approach and break down the various issues they bring to the table. Rather than being a text book or scientific studies, Yalom manages to make fascinating stories out of each chapter, each of which is intriguing and enlightening in its own way. It’s a brilliant book, and one I’d recommend to anyone.

As a speaker, Yalom didn’t disappoint – he was honest, warm, funny, and gifted with the ability to put complex ideas across in a simple way. He made a great double act with his son Victor who was the perfect interviewer – you could see there was a real warmth of feeling and understanding between the two of them.

Anyway, this was a real treat of a job. You could see why the 1,000 people in attendance had turned up to see this man speak. What a legend!

(Oh, and here are a few of the photos…)

 

Also posted in Awards Ceremonies

Event photography with Nikon’s eye-tracking technology…

A little while ago, I was contacted by Nikon asking if I would take part in a photographic experiment they were conducting. Based on the idea that some people have an ‘eye’ for photography, they wanted to pitch 3 professional photographers against an amateur. They weren’t just interested in the end results though, but more interestingly wanted to try to examine the process that both the professionals and the amateur went through as they examined the scene for composition. In order to do this they used a 21st century pair of spectacles with tiny cameras that tracked your eye movements as you took the photo. Here’s a still from the video Nikon filmed, to give you an idea of how gawky I looked in them…

Event photography for Nikon

It was a pan-European experiment with a travel photographer from Germany, a nature photographer from France, and myself chosen for my experience as an events photographer from the UK. We were all to be given the same camera – a Nikon 5100 with kit lens – and had no other pro kit to fall back on… Just our ‘eye’. A slightly daunting prospect with the very real chance that the amateur might well end up taking a much better photo than the so-called pro…

For my bit, we took over a bar in West London and got in a party-load of willing participants to get the atmosphere going. After donning the goggles, I was told to take two photos – one from a fixed spot (the same as the amateur), and one from a position of my choice. If you have a look at the Nikon website, you can see some video footage of the experiment (my section is towards the end), and read some more about the results of the experiment on the Nikon blog. These are the two shots I took:

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The first was quite a challenge – very little to go on when you’re unable to move around and change the perspective. It was a case of finding what the focus of the scene was going to be, zooming for the best crop, and then waiting for a moment where there was some sort of interaction or emotion going on between the people in the shot.

The second was slightly easier to frame in that I was able to find something to create an interesting perspective – in this case going round behind the bar and shooting through some bottles at a group of people, again waiting for an interesting moment.

It was interesting viewing the video afterwards and seeing just how much my focus was shifting around the scene while I was analysing it. Quite a bit of the eye movement appeared to be analysing people’s faces as well as the general structure of the room. This makes sense as I find when I take events shots I do try to make my focus the people themselves – I’ll often try to pre-empt a reaction by watching how they’re interacting with others – while at the same time trying to find an interesting way to frame the shot and compose it in a way that’s photographically pleasing.

Anyway, this was a fascinating project to take part in – interesting to take a step back and look at the way that I work. And I think I managed to avoid embarrassing myself too much with the photography too, which was a relief…

 

 

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Battersea Power station at night

Just before Christmas I photographed a great party at Battersea Power Station, which has to be one of London’s most stunning venues. It’s going to be developed into luxury flats before long, so it was great to get an opportunity to photograph there while it’s still being used as an events venue. This is one of my favourite shots from the evening, before the party started…

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Conference photography in central London

This was one of those conferences where the lighting was right “on the edge”. Just about light enough to shoot at a high ISO without needing to use flash, but I did need a steady hand at times especially with the long lens shots… I generally find available-light shots are far more atmospheric and interesting than flash-lit ones in these kind of situations – for a start you can shoot through people and have a nice out-of-focus foreground without running the risk of lighting up any backs of heads. And obviously it’s less distracting for the speakers and audience if you don’t use flash. On the few occasions I do get out the speedlights at conferences, where possible I’ll try to bounce the light to give a more even lighting, and use it sparingly…

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Also posted in Conference Photography