How to shoot Events Photography


I do a lot of events work throughout the year, and its mostly great fun! The venues are usually quite special, and the people attending are always up for some laughs. Its my job to make them look their best, and also capture the essence of the event and the mood of the occasion.

9 times out of 10 when I’m working at these functions, someone or more than one person, gets talking to me about my job, photography, the kit I use and how I do it. So today I thought I’d share some basics and explain how I approach a night like this. Firstly, I get my running order from the client and do a walk through of the venue so I can  work a few things out!

Its going to be dark, so we need additional light/s …. but we don’t want to blitz the available light out so much that we kill the feel and mood that’s there!?…. So we need to find a balance between the ambient light reading and our flash power. To put this simply… you need to expose for the ambient light (background available light) and then add in some foreground flash to light your main subjects nicely and ‘Freeze’ the action enough to keep it looking crisp! This is where having a camera with a good low light iso range comes into play. My ever faithful Nikon D3 is still great at low light level performance although its now 4 years old.

I always try to use some form of backlight for these events so its adds some drama and life to the background …. so I look around for the best places to set up shots. There were some key elements to this job that i needed to cover…

  • Establishing shots of the venue – in this case The Roundhouse at Camden, a fantastic event space!
  • Guests at the reception area – excitedly meeting friends, all dolled up wearing big smiles!! (Time to interact and smile lots myself too !)
  • Guests seated at their tables
  • Awards if any…
  • Dancing and partying

You need to be organised, plenty of spare batteries (as you will be hammering your flash)…… I also like to use a simple ‘speed Gobo’ bouncer from Honl Photo for my flash so that the light is ‘bounced light’ rather than direct (its just a bit softer and more flattering) …. experiment!

I also brought along my Elinchrom Ranger Quadra Kit (x2 lightweight, powerful and portable battery packs, x2 flash heads, x2 stands x2 brollies) so I could leave them set up on the top balcony ready for some cheeky group shots after dinner… guests are always more relaxed after a few drinks and then you can start to have some fun with them.

If you look at the info on each image, I have shown the EXIF data settings so you can see my exposure settings … I hope this has been helpful, but please ping me a comment if you have any questions! Ta. 🙂

CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO SEE AT CORRECT SIZE AND SHARPNESS.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power

Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 3200, F5, 1/30th Sec, NO FLASH
Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 3200, F5, 1/30th Sec, NO FLASH

Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 1100, F5, 1/30th Sec, Flash on Manual Power +1/3.

Nikon D3, Handheld, ISO 1100, F5, 1/30th Sec, Flash on Manual Power +1/3.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to right to give side light, bounced into white brolly.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to right to give side light, bounced into white brolly.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F7.1, 1/6th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F7.1, 1/6th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/8th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, 1 light to left front and 1 light to right front allowing even light, bounced into white brollies.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/13th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/50th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F3.2, 1/100th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, NO FLASH.

Camden Roundhouse, Event Photography by Simon Harvey - Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/40th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power

Camden Roundhouse, Event Photography by Simon Harvey – Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 1100, F4.5, 1/40th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +2/3 power

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/15th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Handheld, ISO 560, F5.6, 1/15th Sec. Nikon D3, 24-70mm Lens, Bounced Flash in TTL Mode +1/3 power.

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Royal Ballet Photography


This week I am working at the ‘World Travel Market 2012‘ at ExCel in London as 1 of 4 Photographers providing all the images for the world press. WTM2012 is the leading global event for the travel industry.

As part of this amazing Global trade fair, the WTM team organize many cultural events for the various heads of States and Ministers in attendance. I was lucky enough to be selected to go along and photograph the Ministerial Dinner at the Mayors official London residency – Mansion House in the City. A truly amazing building and venue. I have to say, this is the sort of event photographers love! Fabulous interiors, great lighting and wonderful subjects. This was capped off by the Royal Ballet Company performing as a finale to the evening. I myself have never seen Ballet live, let alone ballet by the very best performers in the world. It was breathtakingly beautiful and elegant! The poise and grace, is truly mesmerizing. I hope you enjoy the photographs and hope to be able to do more of these if i can make further inroads now! Watch this space 🙂

This is why i love my job! Always different, always challenging and a lot of the time a privilege!

‘Smokin Hot’ Girl!


Events Photography for Peroni


Last night I shot the last of 3 events for drinks company ~ Peroni beer. These nights were put on around the country as ‘experiential’ events. One of the reasons I love doing event photography so much is that the venues are usually great, and I think you’ll agree, the venues here were amazing! The first event was held in Liverpool Cathedral – which is in fact the largest Cathedral in Britain and the 3rd largest in Europe! When the lighting was fixed and the table set it looked spectacular, and had a wonderful feel!

Then it was off  to ‘The Old Fruit Market’ in Glasgow City centre. Its my first time in Glasgow and I really enjoyed it. I always make sure i walk around a city as much as possible so i can get my bearings and a feel for it. The Georgian Architecture was incredible, and it was soon evident to me that Glasgow is certainly one of the trendiest and hip UK city’s i’ve been to in a while. The venue was also great, loads of character and you could just imaginee it as a thriving Fruit Market in years gone by.

Last night was the final location for the Amici-di-Peroni road show, so they ended on a high, literally…. at the top of Tower Bridge. Again a great location and a tad easier to get home from! 😉 The weather was amazingly turbulent last night. Sunshine one minute then Hail and torrential rain the next…. i loved it and did manage to get a few snaps out of the window…

big thanks to Peroni for giving me such a great event to photograph … look out for more in June this year … 😉

The whole world under 1 roof !?


It was only whilst working for the event organisers at this years World Travel Market 2011 at ExCel London that I realised actually, just how BIG our world is and not ‘a small world’ as most people say. The World travel Market brings exhibitors from all across the globe together under 1 roof for the biggest Travel and Tourism Fair in the UK. Whilst whizzing around over the 4 days I realised still how little i had seen of a lot of the exhibitors stands as its just SO big… and this is only an exhibition centre!! Makes me think i need to get my rucksack on my back – Pronto! 😉

A few of my shots herewith…. Ladies look out for Mr Jimmy Choo, James Cracknell, Freddie Flintoff and a few other familiar celebrity faces too…Enjoy.

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An ‘ExEvent’ for a Rendezvous


My good clients ExEvents got me down for a great job last night!! …. The Chambord Rendezvous 2011

The venue; One Mayfair! Built in 1825, One Mayfair has recently reopened its doors and is set to be London’s newest and most spectacular venue. After years of neglect this historic Grade I listed building has undergone months of refurbishment bringing it back to its former glory. As one of the largest event spaces in the Mayfair, it has already attracted a range of high profile events.

Guests were wowed by the excellent transformation the space took on under the expert handling of the ExEvents team. The winning drinks were served throughout the evening along with a wonderful dinner, again with the winning chambord recipes. I unfortunately was working … but then even when i’m working its not work! The guests were great and it was good to be in amongst this happy crowed … DJ Philly was on hand spinning up some excellent tunes before Comedy act Mr Russell Kane introduced the evenings events. BBC Radio 1 Celebrity DJ Edith Bowman then took over on the decks and things really hotted up … drinks were flowing and butts were shaking! My trustee Nikons were also working their own little butts off as you can see from a selection of the shots here. Enjoy!! 🙂

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