Last Wednesday I was hired to photograph Black Tie BBQ’s Cinco de Mayo Secret Supper. Secret Location, Secret Menu, and Secret Guest List – basically you purchase a ticket and then you receive an email 24-48 hours before the event with all of the information. I’ve worked with Black Tie BBQ before on two previous occasions and they’ve never disappointed – in fact, as you’ll see from the photos, they do an excellent job of hosting a party, AND providing some really great food.
As with all of our event photography – no matter what – we try to get more than the basic ‘get together and smile’ shots of the attendees. Of course I’ll get those required shots just to make sure I get enough ‘coverage’ – but one of the things that I’m trying to get across to our interns is that they should focus on capturing the atmosphere. Not just the people. Sure they play a central role, but you don’t get atmosphere by photographing people squeezing together, trying to pose for a photo. You get it by photographing people doing things. You get it by putting yourself in a position to get the best shot – not just a good one.
Hey Look – Intern Jenna came along with me to work the event.
One of the noticeable qualities of our photographs has always been the light – or rather, how we handle light. Honestly, part of this is understanding our cameras and a little bit about editing – but the most important part of how we handle light is simply – we’re not afraid to take it on. Granted – this was initially due to the fact that I just didn’t know enough to realize that I shouldn’t be shooting a certain way in certain conditions. So I ended up trying a lot of things and eventually I learned how much leeway I had when it came to certain light conditions.
Speaking about the photo below – it took about 2 exposures and some chimping (looking at the display screen on the back of your camera) before I got to this one – and the subject did her part by looking cool for me. It’s probably one of my favorite among many from that day – because of the light.
Now. We have 9 interns – but obviously they’re more than that to us. Leah and I have really made ourselves accountable and taken on a fair amount of responsibility to teach them a few things. Along with all of the technical stuff ( ha, like using off camera flashes that have two settings – on and off), I especially like bringing them with me on photo shoots. Even better are the shoots where there isn’t much space. Because restrictions force you to be creative, and for us – the more restrictions, the easier it is to be creative – because you have to make up cool stuff OR ELSE. At least that’s how it is in my head.
Of course – sometimes you just need to stop thinking and start shooting. Other times, you need to talk to people so that they feel more comfortable with you and the big camera you’re sticking their face. Other times, you just need to hold your ground and get your shot, even when other people are about to yell at you. Yeah. All of those things.
In the end though – all of this event photography we do is really just practice for the weddings we photograph. It helps to keep our shots fresh from wedding to wedding. Photographers should be photographing – and we photograph everything. Because we’re trying to discover new things with our photos and our own skills – and you don’t discover things by photographing just weddings, or just family portraits, or just models.