I am not excited by event photography. Every time I review my photos from an event, I realize that this is apparent in the images. I have not found the energy to learn anything about event photography other than individual portraits, which I interest me after landscape, wildlife, nature, architectural, macro, and sports photography.
In spite of this, I regularly shoot events for the Chattanooga Audubon Society and I feel bad that I can’t deliver better results than people who know nothing about photography, like this one:
I have dozens and dozens of images that look like that–random groups of people poorly arranged not paying attention to the camera and often caught with strange expressions on their faces. I am very good at capturing the moments no one wants captured during an event.
My latest endeavor was at the 69th birthday party for the Chattanooga Audubon Society. People were sitting in chairs or standing in lines around the walls of a large room. They were eating cake and ice cream and talking. When I would attempt to shoot small groups of people, they often either hid their faces or moved out of the frame.
This led to stealth shooting of the whole room. Which, in turn, resulted in images like the one above. I was quite relieved when one of the young guests needed someone to take her for a walk–she was a much easier subject.
I did manage to sneak up on the cake. The cake is rather funny. I ordered a cake with an outdoors theme and asked for trees and birds. I’d never ordered a cake from the place I got it, but since the place I planned to get it from stopped making sheet cakes and I was ordering 1 ½ days ahead, I didn’t have a lot of choices. I crossed my fingers and hoped they would come up with something good.
They did a lovely job creating a lake–they said they “didn’t have any birds.” I’m not sure why it’s so difficult for people to create a bird outline in icing, but I didn’t ask. The funny thing is that while the Audubon has 3 properties–an island in the Tennessee River, a property with a mixture of a stream, woods, and open meadows, and a wooded mountain property–none of them have a lake.
I’m sure there is a more artistic way to capture a cake, but I feel like the straight-on, from-the-top framing that one might expect from the average soccer mom at a kid’s party is completely appropriate for this cake. Perhaps with a spot light and some fog it would be possible to shoot this cake artistically, but there wasn’t a fog machine handy.
Oh well. I would start reading up on event shooting, but I think I’m going to leave it on the bottom of my “to-do” list until it’s time to prepare for the next event.