Nobody Gives A Sh!t About Event Photography, Not Even Event Organisers! Discuss.
Nobody gives a shit about event photography not even event organisers!
I guess I should start by qualifying that statement: It doesn’t apply to event photographers.
I’d also say most of my regular clients clearly give a shit (to a degree) and try to make sure that the event environment is conducive to good photography. Other event organisers may give a... but don't know how to ensure that the event environment is conducive to producing good photography and so make honest mistakes: such as hiring a brilliant bank of UV lights that turns everybody that weird night-club colour and gives them uber-white teeth.
But, there is another group that don't give photography much thought and probably only have a photographer because the sponsor wants photographs of the event. They will do nothing to ensure that the environment is capable of producing good photography as their primary concern seems to be the bottom line. Nothing wrong with that you may argue and there need not be if that 'bottom line fixation' doesn’t actually hinder good photography. (Deciding to have zero budget for lighting definitely falls into the 'hindering good photography' category).
And those people in the last group, why are they the most demanding? They expect you to produce gorgeous Rembrandt-lit images from near-darkness....Do they think it's just a case of turning up with a digital camera and magic will happen. There is no doubting that camera sensor technology has come a long way but photographers still need a little bit of light to produce great photography. In fact some conferences are so dark that if I was a delegate I’d be distraught not to find a pair of military-issue night vision goggles in my conference pack. Ok I'm being flippant but you get my point.
The irony is that spending a bit of money on creating the right environment could actually help the bottom-line. Now I haven’t anything empirical to back this up, what with this being an off-the-cuff rant and all, but I will say that two of my smaller clients have told me they are happy to pay for my services because I make them appear bigger and more established than what they are and this they tell me has a 'direct' effect on their revenue.
I hope to share my new experiences of all the different types of event work that I do in forthcoming blogs and those experiences may or may not disprove the opening statement. But I will end for now with a scene all too familiar to us event photographers. You're walking through the lobby of a grand hotel armed with a couple of super sensitive digital SLRs and a peli-case full of the best low-light lenses available. You are the Chuck Norris of event photography and feel confident that you can beat the daylights out of anything the event demons can throw at you. You confidently push open the heavy ballroom door as if it was a prop from a 30’s B-movie strut inside then realise that the whole event is lit solely by the ballroom chandelier. Aarrghhh!
Keywords: Ballroom, Ballroom Chandelier, Bottom Line, Chuck Norris, Event Organisers, Event Photography, Event Sponsor, Grand Hotel, Great Event Photography, London Event Photography, PR Photography, SLR, conference, digital camera, lighting, low-light, sensor
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