Event Strobism – Yelp!


I was asked by our friend Kathleen M. to be the photographer for last night’s Yelp.com event at Sweetwater Brewery. Now, I’ve shot enough events and gatherings on my own that I’m pretty comfortable getting usable shots with available light – having a lens that goes down to f/1.4 makes it super easy. Not only that – but all of our yelp friends have seen all of those shots from me before because I do it everytime we hang out. Since I have the gear and since I’ve been practicing and working with it lately – I figured that I would try to do it with the off camera flashes and not only available light.


I mean – available light shooting is the backup, the safety net. Especially for events where you’re really just trying to get a high enough volume of usable photos – as opposed to making art or anything really impressive. But I also didn’t want to do all ‘posed’ shots – and for the ones I did, I wanted them to be… an attempt at not being flat front flash or even lighting. Just making it hard for myself and trying for something slightly different – even if only a little ya know? But Kathleen M. (the event organizer) is our friend and many of these people are our friends – so there was that very real and added pressure to JUST NOT SUCK. I was a little worried.

In the photo above, you can see one of my two light stands in the middle of the room. I started out with them at the sides and just moving them along the wall – but as the night went on, I started moving them to the middle and adjusting them five feet one way or the other. I think it worked out. While this makes things infinitely more difficult and much more work – I just had to up the number of shots I was taking to make sure that I got enough usable photos. I ended up shooting almost 500 photos in the 1.5 hours that I was there, whittled it down to 119 – and then I edited them right when I got home so they could be posted to Yelp flickr.

I am aware of my lens flare obsession.


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  • Kathleen M 15 Sep 09 at 12:22 pm

    I looooooved the shots, Mark. You did a fantastic job: I'm so glad you had a little fun with it and didn't do the same old, same old.

  • Dallas 15 Sep 09 at 1:33 pm

    Great job. BTW, on Google Reader, the photos are huge! Much bigger than on your site. You might want to check that out because you have to scroll to see the whole photo.

    • MarkRoX 16 Sep 09 at 12:00 pm

      Hmmmm… what size screen are you viewing us on? The max the photos should appear is… 1023 x 680 I think… 🙂

      • Dallas 16 Sep 09 at 3:40 pm

        Right now, I'm on my laptop which is 1280×800, but I generally use an external monitor which is bigger or I'm on my iPhone. But, I thought the weird part was that the photos appear bigger in Google Reader, than on your page. I wonder if your stylesheet is resizing them.

        • MarkRoX 16 Sep 09 at 3:58 pm

          Chances are good that this wordpress theme is being crazy with it – this theme doesn't really work with any IE browser versions and I don't think it fully works with FF…. apparently it's good in Safari – but I don't have a mac so I don't know.

          I suppose I could work on it… ummm… 🙂

  • Addy 15 Sep 09 at 2:18 pm

    You're a multi-talented guy, Mark.

  • Sean M 15 Sep 09 at 6:22 pm

    sounded like you needed an assistnat

    • MarkRoX 15 Sep 09 at 6:54 pm

      Oh that would make things too easy.

  • Isabel E 17 Sep 09 at 1:08 pm

    It was so nice to talk to you Monday night!! But I can't find you on Yelp!! I loved the event photography and wanted to ask how you got the pics to turn out so glamorous!! 🙂

  • Atlanta. Photographer. Event. EARTH. Tierra. Consecha. NonProfit. Sweetwater. Brewery. | LeahAndMark.com 1 Nov 09 at 1:02 pm

    […] and we felt pretty confident that it we wouldn’t have any problems since I had already shot a Yelp event there before. And it really wouldn’t have been any problem at all – except for the part […]