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Close quarter indoor shooting with the D70
Old 11-15-2004, 04:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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I've been engaged to shoot a corporate party event. These will be the top leaders of a global corporation, at their annual "get wild and crazy" bash. They're all flying in from all over the world to a different city than their corporate headquarters is in.

About 50 people, male and female, crowded into a somewhat small (for that number of people) but extremely swanky/classy [censored] hotel suite. Some have known each other for decades, others have never met anyone at the top before since they've joined the firm.

Assignment: get tons and tons of candid shots, as well as be available for posed 'this person with that person' and "these people all together" shots.

Interefere with the flow of high-powered people having a great time as little as humanly possible, but be on my toes to capture interesting interactions as they occur.

I have no real idea what the lighting will be, but it's safe to assume it will be on the low side. I have not been asked to not use flash, but given the number and frequency of shots I'll be taking, the less obtrusive the flash is, or the less I use it at all, the better.

My D70 came with a 18-70mm lens. I'm assuming the 18 length will do nicely for group shots, and the 70 length will be overkill for individual shots given the confined quarters.

There is no expectation at all of getting "artistic shots", or really having a chance to do much serious posing or composition. The main thing is that I get a decent shot of EVERYONE at least once, and get every possible combination of this person with that person, as per them requesting me to as the night proceeds. As well as getting any cool car-ray-ziness that'd be good for the corporate archives (which only execs will get to see, of course.)

I've been led to expect that between 1000 and 2000 OK shots, mostly for full-screen monitor viewing from CD, rather than designed for quality printing, would be a succesful outcome. The event may go on from early evening till 3 or 4AM, and I am expected to hang until the end, whenever that is, and not run out of memory or creative juice.

Suggestions as to adequate preparation for this intense of a shooting climate and massive output - lenses, CF cards, batteries, and most especially, INTELLIGENT USE OF FLASH - and anything else that pops into your mind that may make the difference between success and distater - would be most appreciated.

The event is not for quite some time, and I have ample opportunitiy to get ready, so this is not an emergency, but rather an opportunity to excel giving enough planning.

There will be drinking (not me, I don't drink anyway), and the guests will be quite simultaneously very well-dressed but very relaxed and loose. I have carte blanche and am the "official party photographer".

The pay is minimal, but the future connections that'll be made are incalculabley valuable. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

So... anyone else done this sort of insane assignment and have advice, technical and otherwise?
 
 
PS
Old 11-15-2004, 05:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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I turn over all my CF cards to corporate security at the end of the event. I do not get to see what I shot (other than in camera review that night) and I will not have a chance to edit the images.

I will get to edit a small fraction of the best raw shots chosen by the corporation several weeks later, to be made into an in-house CDROM by their CIO as a pet project.

1. Raw party shots - turn over unseen
2. Corporate security - delivers to CEO later for viewing/culling onto master CD
3. I get master - best shots, edit images specifically for monitor viewing, burn onto CD, back to them
4. CIO gets my master/master makes custom CD from my edits
5. Distribution of CD to execs as memento
 
 
Re: PS
Old 11-15-2004, 05:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This sounds to me like an 'Enron in their hey-day' party. I'd turn this one down.... too spooky.
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Re: PS
Old 11-15-2004, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I apologize.

My question must have been insufficiently clear.

The question is:

How do I do this?

not

Should I do this?

The "should" has already been decided.

The "how" is what I'm interested in.

Do you have any "hows", or not? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: PS
Old 11-15-2004, 06:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Will the company be providing the CF cards for you to use or are you going to have to leave yours with them? I would think that I would want them to provide them for the shoot.

Sounds like it would be an interesting time.

I am not sure how I would handle the flash thing. I would think idealy that you would have a little mini studio setup in a corner somewhere that you could do slightly more formal shots, and go with the flash for the candids.
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Re: PS
Old 11-15-2004, 06:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In that case, I apologise back. My answer to your question 'How do I photograph all these hungry alligators trying to eat me in this swamp?' was

'Don't go into the swamp'.

I don't think you can win. The meager pay and the restrictions involved sound very demeaning to me and not worth the effort involved.

If you do decide to go in, let us know how it turns out; I'd be interested to see if my instincts have dulled over the years.

Good luck,

Sean


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Hmmmm ....
Old 11-15-2004, 06:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lots of memory cards! But since they will be only for CD and not for print. you can shoot a smaller size than normal, but still, lots of memory cards. Flash - something small, like a Vivitar with lots and lots of fresh batteries. Estimate how many batteries the flash will need, then double the estimate! Flash on a bracket about a foot above the lens and off to the side with a small softbox or reflector. Lots of charged batteries for your camera and a charger set someplace out of the way. If possible, a laptop for periodic downloading memory might be helpful. I'm totally unfamiliar with the D-70, but as much as I hate to suggest it, I think in this sort of situation I would be inclined to use auto everything for speed.

I suspect you'll find non flash pix to be impossible.
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Re: Hmmmm ....
Old 11-15-2004, 09:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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lots of memory cards - check
flash - check (more research)
lots of fresh batteries - check
laptop for periodic downloading memory - NA, client providing PLENTY of CF cards
auto everything for speed - check

Thanks Doug, I appreciate it.
 
 
Re: PS
Old 11-15-2004, 09:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks, I appreciate your concern.

However, alligators are a much maligned animal.

Rather fond of predators actually.

I will let you know if it turned out positively.
 
 
Re: Close quarter indoor shooting with the D70
Old 11-15-2004, 10:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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First of all,,,

I would not do it for a meager sum. A major corporation has major bucks.
It's not worth the "connections." They will pay for the swanky hotel,
the food, the lodging, the liquor, they can pay the photographer a decent sum
to record the event.

Secondly, I either meet their security expectations or I don't.
I do not hand over negatives, memory sticks or anything else. Now,
if the price is right... hey-- no big deal. I could use a new Mercedes.
Otherwise, don't lower yourself. Corporations are notorious for changing
photographers at the drop of a hat.

Survey the location in advance. If you can set up a small two-light operation
in a corner somewhere, then do so. If you can, get an assistant/friend.

Don't let the digital experiece drive the expertise.
The 1000 to 2000 shots is overkill. Aim for 200 and try not to max over
500. That means get as many execs as possible in groups of three or larger.
The top five guys in groups of two, the 2nd tier people in groups of three
to five, and the lower tier execs in groups of 6 plus.

Don't expect people to go out of their way for you if it's the first event.
You have to make it happen. Photographers are the "lowly" people until the
results come in and only if they like it.



Be there early, find out who the "real" important people are and photograph
them up front as they arrive, 70% of the work can be done in the first hour.
Be good at learning names, have the assistant try to record frames and names
with the memory stick.

Watch how certain people gravitate into groups (clicks). Get them the moment
you can. Make sure the top two or three people are seen with as many people
as possible. They are the ones who either like or don't like your work.

Learn as much about the company as you can. Introduce yourself and be good at
small talk, this makes the work easy and fun. Try to learn as many names as
possible... this will ease the work.

Don't let their titles intimidate you. Maybe that's why I get called back.
I don't care who they are, they are just a name and a personality, I just
want to record the event.

Don't be afraid to have some initiative to get the shot. Act like you belong
there and pretend you are running the show. Believe me it'll be worth it in
the end.

If you are the "official photographer", the you officially better make sure
all the shots you can take look like money shots. That's why I say concentrate
on getting shots, don't spray and pray.

I do this for a couple of corporations on a regular basis.
They pay well and I make sure it's worth it. I have a run of the
house, I come in and out, and just to record every day life as well
as events. I send the bill in once a year with a book of images and
CD and they pay up.

I shoot fewer and fewer images, and am at the point where maybe no
more than 100 will do.

These are fun events, but it takes a little practice.

I sometimes and in and out of there fast because I got all I need in
about the first couple of hours.

Events/Parties build, peak and die like any other event.

One more thing, if you see someone acting a "fool" or in a compromising
position, do not film it. Trust is a big thing. If you find an image,
like that get rid of it immediately. That's why I do not hand over anything
to corporate security, they can be the worst.

Just put it in your contract that you will keep things confidential.

Greg.
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