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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Wet Wedding Photography in Seven Dials, London


I was walking through Seven Dials only yesterday doing a job when i happened across this lovely couple walking up Monmouth Street having their wedding photographs taken!! The photographer was using flash close up with them, and i knew he was missing out on all the beautiful ambient light and reflections… so had a cheeky word and asked the couple if they minded if i took a quick shot of them on the Zebra crossing!! 🙂

I hope they get in touch so i can send them the shot …. i think you’ll agree, the light is beautiful and it makes for a great shot! 🙂 Good luck to them both!

Sneak Peek – Music Promo Photography with Tankus The Henge


Today I met up with my crazy friends – Tankus The Henge! I’ve known and been photographing these lovable lads for the last 4 years now and there has never been a dull moment.

With the arrival of their new Drummer, their manager thought it about time we got some new promo shots done… so we headed to the wonderful floating Dutch Barge that is ‘Tamesis Dock’ on the London Southbank of the Thames… Apart from being a great location, Neema the lovely lady who runs this ship (literally) provides some lovely food and drinks….! get down there and check it out! its magical! 🙂

The Tankus boys were in fine form, even if it was an early start… and we soon got going with some cheeky antics….

These are just a couple of tasters from the shoot. Hope you like them, and if you fancy coming along to listen to these chaps…. have a look at their facebook page here and come along!! I challenge you to not be able to love them!! 😉

Music Photography by Simon Harvey on the Southbank with Tankus The Henge

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!

GoPro Hero3 Launched today!!


For those action photography and movie nuts, check out this new promo video for the launch of the new Go Pro3 launched today!! What a piece of kit this is!!

GoPro has yet again turned the action camera world inside out by introducing the HERO3: Black Edition, the world’s first 4K-capable action video camera (at 15fps) that can also do 120 fps (at 720p). But seriously, just watch the amazing video below video. Thats one hell of a promo video!! amazing!!

Additional specs include having built-in wifi, being 30% smaller, 25% lighter and having a processor that is twice as powerful than the HERO2.

The HERO3: Silver Edition has a max resolution of 1080p 30p like the HERO2, but adds built-in Wi-Fi and is 30% smaller and 25% lighter.

Finally, the HERO3: White Edition is very similar to the Silver edition, except that it can only shoot 5MP stills as opposed to the 11MP stills capability of the Silver Edition.

Street Photography with ‘street13’


yes yes yes …. its been months since i have blogged …. i need another set of arms and legs at the moment, not to mention brain!! I have been SOOOOOOOOOOO Busy for the last 5 months …. and still hectic, but thought its about time i got some stuff up on here to show you where i have been and what i have been doing! 🙂

So … as many of you know, i am a big Instagram fanatic!! But…. i mean Instagram in the true sense …. so my shots on Instagram are all 100% Iphone and nothing else!! … I found this dude ‘Sam’ while on my way to a shoot… he got on the train as cool as a cucumber on his retro hotwheels and sat there in amongst the other travellers without a care in the world … I quickly whipped out my trusty iphone 4 for some shots (on the quiet of course!) and got some great shots of Sam without him being aware … ! But when Sam also got off at Willesden Green, my curiosity got the better of me, so i asked him if he’d mind me taking a few shots (i had my Nikon in my bag!! 😉 ) and here they are. Sam was a very interesting guy with a story to tell that amazed me and truly makes you realize that we should never judge a book by its cover!! I hope you like!!

‘Smokin Hot’ Girl!


Bikes and Babes – British Superbikes at Snetterton


A few shots here for all you bike fans. As some of you will know, i am a BIG bike fanatic. I have been since i was 7 years old when Santa Claus delivered a sparkly new Red Montesa Trials bike! 🙂

Since then i have been hooked, so combining my other love of Photography is just a dream for me. This coupled with sunshine and the odd eye candy, what more can you ask for! 😉

This is the first round of the British Superbikes race series I have been able to get to this year, but i wasn’t too worried as all the other races were in horrible cold wet weather … Snetterton proved yet again to be a cooking pot!

Enjoy the images and share share share …. 😉

Advertising Shoot for new MOVband Activity Monitor


Well, as you probably know… its been raining!! Raining, raining, and then a bit more rain!! This was not looking good for about outdoors advertising Photography shoot for Fit For Future Ltd.

FFF are launching the new MOVband Activity Monitor here in the uk, and needed some outdoor activity shots to show it at work. Well, Monday came and the skies turned blue! (phew) So out we set to a local park to show the Movband being put to the test!

For this shoot i was armed with my faithful Nikon D3, my 105mm Macro F2.8 and my lens for all 24-70mm F2.8. Lighting was my new Rllinchrom Quadra kit, 2 packs and 2 heads, 1 open and 1 with a small soft box.

Hope you can see how the flash gives the images that extra ‘kick’ … colours zing out…. all in all! pleased! Hope you like! 🙂

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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