Photographing a Party

photoman

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Hi, I have recently been commisioned to photograph a retirement party for some people. They said they would like me to take pictures of the event for a scrapbook and give it to the retiree. The types of pictures i would be taking would be people talking and giveing speeches, table shots and candid shots. Total time would be around three hours.

I was planning on taking about 50-75 pictures on kodak 400VC (35mm)(other film suggestions). I was going to take picutres with my canon A1 with a 28-105mm lens with a bracket mount sunpack 611 flash.

Does anyone have any advice on getting people together for table shots and how to take really good candids/pictures of events like this?

I havent done anything like this before and some advice would be helpful.
 

Sharkbait

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I just did something similar a few weeks ago. Awards banquet for a non-profit org. If you go to my website, and go into the 'other' category, there are a few sample shots.

Anyway, first I'd suggest taking a LOT more photos, especially if you've never done something like this before. I shot just over 100 shots and came up with about 25 or so that were really good.

Also, I found that taking some shots with direct flash and some with the flash bounced off the ceiling gave a nice variety. In fact, most people like the bounced shots better.

For table shots, stay over their heads, but not at a full standing height. If you're really high up, you get that 'photo from god' look (which also looks like a snapshot).

For candids, just wander around and catch people when they're not looking. I get my best candids by pretending to be invisible. The other thing I do is use a long lens (I shot most of the event with my 75-300 zoom). My flash (speedlite 550EX) is powerful enough to flash from 30 or 40 ft away, so by being able to stay back a ways, I didn't have to jam the camera in people's faces and make them aware of it.

If they do any kind of speeches/awards, anything like that where there's a series of people talking or doing something from the same location, I'd bring a tripod. By having all of those similar shots framed similarly, you get a nice uniformity to your presentation package.
 

Sharkbait

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Also, it may not seem like that big a deal, but I think it's relatively important. When I do an event shoot, I try to dress inconspicuously. I wear a white golf-shirt with my company logo and tan khaki cargo pants. Comfortable, lots of pockets for extra camera gear, and within about 10 minutes people basically stopped seeing me and I could get some really great photos.
 

cfoto

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I agree with Shark, try to dress inconspicuously. But that may mean finding out what the dress is for the party. If everyone is in ties and suits, or tuxes, and you go casual you'll stand out. Events such as these (I've done several parties/events, several proms, etc.) I usually choose to dress in dark clothes, as the lighting tends to be low, and can get more into a "stealth" mode of shooting.

And as Shark said, take LOTS of photos. If you shoot a hundred and if by some miracle they all are fantastic shots (which is rare), you can still choose the best of the best.

Put your mind into the role of a reporter. You're reporting and documenting the event. How would convey that this is a retirement event using only the photos you take and showing them to someone who does not have a clue what the event is? Study the individuals for mannerisms they may exhibit and caputure those. Don't just zoom in for head shots. Try to capture some of the enviornment that helps to tell the story.

I have essay from a recent prom on my sight, one of the photos liked most was this one.

11.jpg


It was the end of the night, the dance was about over. It basically captured what all the kids felt like (and looked liked), towards the end of the night.
 
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photoman

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Thanks for the great advice and information.

I hope that everything goes well for me

Thanks again :D
 

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