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.

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

London Landscape Photography


This is why I LOVE my job! My brief –  ‘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!  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! 🙂

‘Smokin Hot’ Girl!


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

Pic of the Day ~ Sept 30th 2011 ~ HDR Photography


HDR Photography, Love it or hate it… its out there! Here’s a quicky i did whilst working up in Stirling for HSBC Bank last week … Its quite erie and also soft and fluffy at the same time i think!? Anyway …. hope you enjoy it? please hit the ‘like’ if you do (sorry they don’t have a ‘dislike’ button but you can always leave a comment! 🙂