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 canย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

London Landscape Photography


This is why I LOVE my job! My brief –ย  ‘Shoot some Iconic London Landmarks and Cityscapes along the London Soutbank’. NICE DAY AHEAD! Although i had to rise at 5am to get down to Tower Bridge to catch the sunrise, it was worth it! Every time I have to do a job which involves getting up and out in the dark, I am reminded that there is nothing better than being in London as the sun rises. it really is the best time of day to be in London! Still, calm and truly beautiful … until the hoards arrive and the buzz takes over again.

So, as I was going to be walking around all day long, I didn’t want a trailer load of backbreaking gear with me, so opted for my evermore popular choice of kit – my Fuji X-Pro 1 … in a tiny bag with 3 lenses and a spare battery, a very small Manfrotto tripod and I’m done! LOVE IT! discreet and light allowing me to crack on without feeling depressed each time I know I have to pack up and move on! I started by shooting east towards Butlers Wharf from St Katherine’s Dock at sunrise and then spent the day strolling and exploring the Soutbank from Rotherhithe to Westmisnster Bridge…

I’d never been up the OXO Tower and had this in mind for the end of my day. It was thoroughly worth it. I was a bit worried about rocking up there in my jeans and North face photographer kit! … but the staff were very lovely and guided me to their free public viewing balcony outside – where I was able to wait for the light to drop and the magic of the city lights to come to life!ย  I wasn’t sure how the Fuji X-Pro 1 would cope with long exposures on its small sensor … but i am very impressed with its clarity and low light noise levels. Not to mention again its sooooooo small! Chuffed!

I hope you enjoy the images as much as i enjoyed my day taking them! ๐Ÿ™‚

‘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 ย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 … ๐Ÿ˜‰

New Year visit to the Seaside


Ok, so Christmas has come and gone again …. and the New year is here… After spending a lovely time up in North Yorkshire with my family, I got back to London on New Years day.

My lovely lady and I decided to make the most of the last day before ‘normality’ kicked in again, and after seeing the sun shining brightly that morning, decided to jump in the car and head for the seaside!

We didn’t have too much time, so it had to be somewhere around an hour away…. a quick buzz up the A12 and we were in Frinton on Sea. The weather was absolutely perfect! Clear blue sky, sunshine and a crisp breeze…. perfect for a stroll along the seafront! I was only armed with my little Lumix Snapper and my iPhone, but as some of you will already know, I’m a big ‘Instagram’ fan so was quite excited by the landscape and colours leaping out at me. My iPhone died a rather quick death (the battery doesn’t last long at the best of times but with the cold hitting it, it was like watching an egg timer go down!) so I reverted to my Lumix at the end when we took shelter in a small pavilion on top of the green, overlooking the sea. Here we met the loveliest old lady. She was 92 and as bright as a button. I unfortunately didn’t ask her name. Some people really do show their character in a picture, and i think she does to a tee… there is a cheeky glint in those eyes ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a great day! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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Iphoneography

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As most of you who look at my blog will know, photography has always been firstly my passion and secondly my job. I count myself very fortunate to be paid to do something which gives me such pleasure – no matter what the subject. Photography takes me on a different journey each time I pick up my beloved Nikon D3 and D700.

Whilst I’m out on my jobs I often come into contact with other enthusiastic photographers who often dismiss their abilities based upon having a cheaper camera!? To this I always laugh… as a picture is not just about it’s technical brilliance… It’s about the subject and the moment! The energy and the feeling. What might be nothing to someone else can mean the world to you in a picture, and Vice Versa! A photograph does not have to be taken on a ยฃ5k super shooter to still make a person stop, look and ponder.

To that end, I lead onto my new love for my IPhone and the amazing ‘Hipstamatic’ and ‘Instagram’ apps. These fantastic little snapper enhancements are the perfect way to catch a moment whilst out and about.

So.. I thought I would share a few of my snaps from my Iphone with you, and hopefully inspire you all to do the same ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy!

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Venice at Dusk

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This is one of my favourite landscapes i had the pleasure of producing. Such a beautiful place, and standing waiting for the light to drop was a lovely peaceful time. I hope you enjoy… and remember if ever you visit there, be sure to check the tides or you will need your wellies!!

Resting Gondolas on Venice's Grand Canal

A Carnaby Christmas


So, its almost upon us again!! I was asked to get down to Carnaby Street again this year to photograph the funky Christmas lights and i must say it seemed busier than ever!! “What Recession’??

Hope my photographs put you in the Christmas Spirit!

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