I am gaining a greater and greater appreciation for event photographers. Think about it. You show up, you’re supposed to get great photos in what may be the most difficult of circumstances to shoot in and you’re supposed to do it without distracting from the event.
We went to a wedding reception Friday night and I found myself feeling incredibly grateful that I am not a wedding photographer. I’m not sure I could take the pressure of shooting that kind of once (or twice or thrice) in a lifetime event. I watched the two photographers at the event and they seemed so calm and collected. They were both young. They shot for a while, took a break to eat cake, and then started shooting again. They seemed to feel no stress at all. I admire that.
I got to play event photographer Saturday night in the lowest stress situation possible when it comes to event photography. First, it was a volunteer job, so I didn’t have to worry about people feeling like they didn’t get what they paid for. Second, the group is fun and appreciative, so I felt like they would be patient. And finally, this is a recurring event, so it will happen again next year and there will be more opportunities to get better shots.
However, what did create stress is that it was a Halloween Haunt. And that means it was dark. Very dark. And I am not exactly an expert with a flash. In fact, I had kind of given up on learning how to use my flash a few months back when I broke a hot shoe adapter that allowed me to put it on an umbrella stand.
I seem to take little interest in flash photography until the moment of panic when I realize I’m going to need to shoot with a flash. Then I suddenly wish I’d spent a lot of time becoming an expert with the thing.
Saturday night, I decide to warm up in the family area. This area is well lit by comparison. It still requires a flash, but people are sitting at tables for pumpkin decorating and face painting, so I have the opportunity to shoot and reshoot without having to worry about missing the action.
With my flash unit attached to my camera directly, I couldn’t shoot vertically. It was like having a hand tied behind my back. Having a manual flash turned out to be quite a bit more difficult than I expected. For one thing, it has no auto focus assist feature so I had to pull out my iPhone and use the flashlight app to find focus in the dark. It was also hard to see to adjust the settings.
I found myself creating a shopping list: flash bracket, speedlite, portable battery pack. I guess I’d better decide if I like event shooting or not before I start buying more equipment!