Recently I had to make a short visit to my native country, Latvia and by good fortune I received on offer to photograph a conference there just at the time of my visit. Thankfully to the experience during last term I knew some approaches to be capable of shooting a conference organized Commercialization Reactor.
Before we agreed to collaborate, the company wanted to see my portfolio. My potential ways of representing my work were:
- create a website – for me it was impossible to do that in 2-days time;
- use a paid portfolio website – for me it’s a responsible choice and to make a choice I always have to make a lot of research, read comments, consider pros and cons and that normally takes from a couple of days to a couple of months (and yes I know I’m being too crazy when I have to make a choice);
- using a free portfolio website – made a quick research and found out that there’s always some kind of trick, normally concerning copyrights;
- using wordpress once again – can upload quite a lot of images for free plus no limitation on my own copyright.
I had to act quick, so I chose to create one more blog just to show my portfolio to new clients. And here it is: https://idepict.wordpress.com/.
After the company looked at my works, we agreed to collaborate. As I’m at the early stage of my career, I do understand that I might be shooting events at least some years to make money for living, so a couple of months ago I spent all my money on a Tamron 2.8 70-200mm lens. But before the conference I didn’t have a chance to ‘check it on the battlefield’, that is to try it out and use during at least several hours. Thankfully to college peers I decided to buy a monopod because the lens is heavy.
On the day before the event I prepared my camera and accessories. On the day of the actual shoot I began stressing only an hour before the start and that’s extremely good calmness index for me. But as soon as I took the camera out of bag, all the stress passed away as it normally happens. I arrived half an hour before the start, so I looked at the conference room and other rooms available to participants, evaluated degree of illumination. In the conference room there was only one possible position for photographing and it was surrounded by walls on 2 sides and by people on the other 2 sides, so I had about 1m² for all my movements. Thankfully my 70-200mm lens helped me at least to get closer to participants.
I tried to capture close-ups and views on speakers from behind of others. I was also shooting people listening to the presentations. During the coffee pauses I was shooting people interacting with each other. From the lecture we had last term, I remember that it is very important to make a conference look busy, so I was shooting through the crowd a lot.
So I spent more than 5 hours shooting and probably I need to mention that while preparing for the shoot in the conference room I understood that I need extra high to have the right perspective, so I changed my shoes to high heels. Unusual, a little hurt, but I got the result.
After the shoot I made some retouching work including setting white balance, darkening windows behind the speakers and improving skin textures for some people.
The company was happy about the results, however I feel that I can still improve my skills, especially when it comes to capturing the right moment. This time the difficulty was that the light was weak, so I had to shoot with wide opened aperture. Because of it I was trying to focus on the eyes, but many speakers were constantly moving and that made it very hard to capture them. I managed the task, but I know I have to practice more and more to do it much quicker.
In overall, I felt much more confident shooting this time than when I was photographing a conference for the first time.