I thought I’d tell the story behind this photograph, not because the story itself is inherently interesting, but because the process I went through to see this event photograph and shoot it are typical of how I go about getting shots at an event like this one. Hopefully you’ll find the photograph itself interesting enough to want to find out how I went about getting it!
Looking for the Light
I’ve talked about looking for the light before and it will feature again in most of my blogs without a doubt, because it is the single most important factor for a London event photographer when looking for images to shoot.
In this particular instance, taking event photographs for the CFA Institute within a huge area without any natural light in the ExCeL London, finding areas which have interesting light is more difficult than usual. The light itself in the conference halls is pretty good, very even and bright, which means I don’t have to worry about pushing my cameras to the limit to get great shots. However, it does mean most of my shots will be similar in terms of the lighting. You can see what I mean from this blog post about the London conference where I took this photograph. As a result, at an event like this I am always looking for any areas that have lighting out of the ordinary.
Why I like this Photo
While a lot of the light at the ExCeL London is excellent, in some of the halls and rooms the light is purposely more moody. In the hall I took this shot, the light was bright and even. As a result, when I saw this little scene happening near me I walked over to capture it. It has several things to it that I like. The way I framed it, including the reflection makes the shot really interesting and the light, in particular the almost monotone dominance of the blue really creates a great feel to the shot.
Add to that the reaction of the man we are facing and the concentration of the man to the right which brings in a human element. This is added to by some of the less corporate objects in the shot like the man to the right’s watch and the coffee on the side. All these things combine to create an image that, while it could be just a good corporate shot, is actually more human.
Working at a Conference
If you’ve worked at a conference as an exhibitor, you’ll recognise the feel to this shot. It has the feel of a conference winding down. In particular the coffee and the relaxed feel to the men in the photo contrasts with the more frenetic feel to the exhibitors at the beginning of an event. While this is something most people will miss, once you know a bit of the background and my thoughts on why I took it, you can really feel the atmosphere.
I’ve been working with Fuji’s for some time now. I wanted to use a fairly wide angled lens for this shot, so I chose the Fujinon XF 23mm F2 on my XT3. Because the subjects in the shot were very relaxed, I knew I had some time to get the shot right. I tried a couple of different apertures, from F2 through to F4 to see if that would change the shot significantly and finally settled on F2.8. I didn’t want the shot to be dominated by a shallow depth of field as I wanted to get that end of show feeling coming from each of the subjects rather than just focusing in on one person. In that instance it would become all about the shot and not the people in it.
The XT3’s are almost silent, even when using the mechanical shutter, which means that although the subjects knew I was there, they weren’t disturbed by me, which is crucial to the way I work.