Category Archives: Event Photograhy

Why have a Photo Booth at your event ?

Suitable for all ages any gathering of people whether for a wedding ,social party or corporate and marketing event -this is a great reason to have a photo booth.

Despite the small area and easy set up the booth will act as a focal point for guests or clients to congregate – what a great way of getting people together.

There are two main types of booth ; the ‘open’ or ‘studio booth’ where the guests stand in front of a custom backdrop or even the background and furnishing of the venue itself ;particularly effective if it’s a high end luxury location. These open photo booths offer a spontaneous experience -commonly ,  groups of people will gather together to see how many they can get into a picture. A fantastic ” ice breaker” and networking opportunity especially with suitable props.

The Smartpicsuk Photo booth on Location. The booth is hand m,ade in oak by everybooth
The Smartpicsuk photo booth hand made in oak by Everybooth

 The other style of photo booth ;-is the ‘enclosed’ booth which is comparable to a passport or driving license photo machine. These usually come with a stool and a privacy curtain. Small groups can squeeze in and pose for a variety of pictures with or without props. Nowadays ,classic motor vehicles are being adapted as working photo booths. Particular favourites are the iconic London or New York Taxis and the original VW camper van.                                                                      

Both types of photo booth offer the ability to instanly print a strip of photos for guests. After all , who does not like to take home a real photo in their hands ? It is both entertaining and something to go in the goody bag or a party favour.

A printed photo strip from the Everybooth photo booth used by Smartpicsuk
A photo strip from the Everybooth used by Smartpicsuk

      Our Everybooth ® integrates the most influential social media platforms and can upload to Facebook ® and Twitter® complete with corporate branding or an ididividual message. Now that is what we call “spreading the news”                                                              

For marketing or ‘brand activations’ this is such a powerful way to promote a business we refer to our booth as “The Swiss Army Knife” of digital marketing. It will add a buzz to your event spreading your message in a subtle way with the possibility of going viral on the web. An amazing opportunity to get increased customer ‘likes’ on your Facebook page or ‘retweets’ for better engagement with your current and potential clients. Great photographs deserve to be put on display -and so does your company or brand.

                                                       

Instant onsite phot strips from the Smartpicsuk photo booth
A printed photo strip from the Everybooth

  Easy to build and break down ,requiring little space or dispuption to the organisers , Smartpicsuk® offers a wide range of pricing to suit most budgets but we are aimed at the premium end of the event photography market where we aim to stand out like a “flamingo in a flock of pidgeons”.                                                        

 

 

Absolutely Fabulous event photography by Smartpicsuk®

” This time next year we’ll be millionaires” . Oh how I wish! Sadly the photographic industry is like a lot of other industries suffering from “cowboys”…..you know “no income tax or VAT” let alone professional grade equipment or insurance.

Del Boy lookalike Maurice Canham and Patsy / Joanna Lumley lookalike Sue Bradbury. Please link/credit www.smartpicsuk.com
Del Boy and Patsy help Smartpicsuk® event photographer Steve Burton set up lighting for another event.

Thankfully the “weekend warrior cowboys ” trying it on as event photographers don’t last long as this branch of the industry demands specialist equipment and a thoroughly practiced workflow and skills gained only by experience.

The photograph of Del Boy and Patsy was taken to test the lighting set up and Wi-Fi viewing display at a recent charity fund raising event. This particular function was the spring ball for The Dyspraxia Foundation held at The Royal Gardens Hotel in Kensington which raised £18 367 for a very worthy charity.

Working with two of the top professional lookalikes in the country helped us to produce some fantastic photographs which the guests were delighted to take away with them from our instant onsite photo printing station.

Another element we sometimes add to our portable “pop up studio” are the provision of suitably themed props to add a bit of fun even to formally posed photographs. One of our most popular props is an old style microphone that you could imagine Elvis Presley using in his early career and it’s a great feature for gathering a group of people around. We dislike photographing a line of people all standing with their hands by their sides like their waiting for a firing squad. Carefully chosen props with professional direction and posing will ensure a great photograph.

Charity fundraising event photography with portable studio and props
Charity fundraising event photography with portable studio and props.

Charity balls and gala dinners is one of the many services we provide and it can be particularly satisfying for us to photograph guests in their finest and looking their best whilst helping worthy charities with their fundraising as well as adding to the enjoyment of invited guests. It is also a pleasant change from some of the formal corporate events we are often commissioned to photograph.

If you’re planning a fundraising ball or dinner get in touch  now to request a sample print and discuss how Smartpicsuk® can help in the success of your event. Our attendance is usually free with no cost to the organisers.

6 Essential points for booking an event photographer.

1   What do you actually want and what are your’s and your clients requirements and expectations?

Here at Smartpicsuk® we are accustomed to receiving vague enquiries about “booking a photographer for a couple of hours in London” or wherever. We won’t be able to give any recommendations and certainly won’t be able to quote a price without having some idea of your needs.

2   Expect a potential photographer to ask questions about the venue, the number of guests,the type of function and even if guests are bringing partners or whether the event is themed. If they don’t then something is very wrong. Good communication between photographers and organisers prior to the event is essential to both parties.

Awards event photography London
Kate Blanchett BAFTA awards ceremony London

3   What is your budget?

Again you need to have an idea of your budget and as in point 1 exactly what is required as the cost will be dependent on many factors such as do you need on site photo printing by another team member. Make sure you understand all costs involved to avoid unpleasant surprises later. Ask us for a bespoke quote it may be less than you imagined.

4   Are your prospective photographers event specialists ?

Event photography although it is very wide ranging and varied requires specialist skills ,some of which can only be gained by experience. Study the website and portfolio of a business to check they have a track record and relevant experience.

5   Is the business insured and certified for health and saftey requirements?

It may seem like a small box ticking exercise but there have been many occasions of late where photographers have turned up at an event only to be denied access by the venue management because of missing paperwork. Imagine that scenario in front of clients or guests or worse an important guest tripping over a light stand and injuring themselves. Who would you prefer them to sue, you or us ? Smartpicsuk® is insured for public liability claims up to £5 million ( more by prior arrangement) and we meet all health and safety regulations.

6   Do you wish your pictures to be distributed to the press or archived for future use ?

Many events need pictures to be sent out to the press or social media live from the event and you will need to ensure you have copyright and licensing rights included in your quote. Also ensure you will  have archived copies of your photographs to use in the future for instance publicity or marketing materiel for next years conference or show. It’s no good when you urgently need pictures and they are all on a USB stick or disk you have mislaid or discarded. All Smartpicsuk® commissions are archived on secure servers for a number of years.

These are just a few of the essentials you need to consider before booking and there will be many more. Get in touch now to ask questions and discuss how Smartpicsuk® can deliver the services you need.

 

What is a pop up studio and how will it boost your event?

A “pop up” or temporary studio along with photo booth’s are an essential addition to high end events from corporate parties, shopping centre marketing and retail promotions to charity fundraising and private parties.

Often compared and sometimes mistaken fora photo booth the “pop up” studio offers a studio enviroment where a professional photographer will direct you into the most flattering pose which is always desirable especially when your guests have taken the time and effort to look their best.

A photo booth especially with the right props and backdrops offers a much more spontaneous experience  with the emphasis on fun.

Although handmade in oak combined  with the latest technology the Smartpicsuk photobooth can let guests instantly share their pictures to Facebook® and Twitter®  complete with your branding or message.

 

Annual-ball-event-photography pop up studio
pop up studio at charity fundraising event

The” pop up studio” is often used in conjunction with our instant on site photograph printing to enable your guests or clients to take away a high quality photograph as a memento to a special occasion which will be remembered long after the refreshments have gone.

Event photography at corporate team building day
Corporate team building golf day

Another popular use is in promotional marketing or consumer brand promotions in shopping centres often used with green screen effects to engage potential clients and get your brand noticed.

Social media sharing can also be incorporated with the images to keep your name in front of potential clients and sponsors.

Green screen event photography marketing and PR photography with Onsite printing and branding
Green screen event photography marketing and PR photography with Onsite printing and branding

Get in touch now  to find out how the Smartpicsuk®” pop up studio or photo booth”can boost your event and to request a sample of our onsite photographic printing.

Print your event photography pictures now or loose them.

Father of the Internet and Google vice president Dr Vince Cerf has urged people to have prints made of their photographs or loose  them forever. This is of particular importance to the event photography industry. As operating systems and software become more sophisticated images stored using older technology will become increasingly inaccessible.

He warned that dependence on technology could lead to a digital desert and a new dark age in history with any evidence of our culture lost in an on-line black hole.

How many of us can remember going through old photographs of our childhood and school days even if they were kept in old shoe boxes? Will we be looking for a long lost or broken IPhone  or computer drive? Or, more likely, will be trying to remember the username and password of some new cloud storage service that may be out of service in a few years time?

Think I’m wrong ? Pop into your nearest PC World store and look for the shelf with blank CD’s or DVD’s. Remember just a couple of years ago there used to be a whole aisle now you are lucky if you can find more than a couple of products.

There were 800 billion pictures taken last year, and no I don’t know how anybody came up with that figure, but I do know that most of them were taken on a Smartphone or point and shoot digital camera.

The photographs that Smartpicsuk® event photographers print at corporate or fundraising events are produced on high end dye sublimation printers as found in High Street photo outlets and are guaranteed to last 50 years.

DNP on site photo printing as used by Smartpicsuk® event photographers
DNP on site printers as used by Smartpicsuk® event photographers

At the time of printing the photograph is overlaid with a protective layer that is both fingerprint and waterproof. They are also red wine proof which is an advantage at some of the social events we have covered!

The recent advances in onsite photo printing within the UK event photography business was brought home to me on a recent visit to Laos in SE Asia where I witnessed “old fashioned” and dated technology combined with the sheer hard working entrepreneurial work ethic found in this part of the world.

At the national monument in the capital city Vientiane, I came across a group of about 20 gentlemen and a couple of ladies with entry level digital cameras waiting in a pack for the next tourist coach of Korean or Chinese visitors.

Event photography as practiced by Event photographers in Laos
Event photography as practiced by event photographers in Laos

When the unsuspecting subjects alight they are literally cajoled by the waiting photographers to form up in a group like the team shots after a Wembley cup final. Instead of using Wi-Fi or wired tethering as UK event photographers would use to instantly send the pictures to an editing station, they sprint to a nearby line of cars and people carriers.

These vehicles have Epsom inkjet printers of unknown vintage in the boot or across the back seats. The whole exercise becomes a competition to get the first print in front of the potential clients with the clients racing across the dusty car park holding the still sticky and not quite dry prints above their heads.

On site photo printing as practiced by event photographers in Laos
on site photo printing as practiced by event photographers in Laos

The prints are pushed in front of the clients’ faces with no choice of which picture they would like and no colour balancing or quality control of any kind. A lot of the customers had dubious magenta and red skin tones that had nothing to do with the tropical heat.

The cost of these prints were something under £2 for a 12x 8 inch print which was hard to work out with an exchange rate of 30 000 to one. I salute these ladies and gentlemen for the sheer hard work they put in to overcome the limited resources they have.

Smartpicsuk® will never be able to match these prices. We like to think we are not too expensive, but we will never be “cheap” especially for once in a lifetime sentimental photographs that will be treasured in the future.

On site photo printing will remain an option for all our event photography commissions in the foreseeable future.

Why it’s essential to use a professional event photographer for when the unexpected happens.

One of the many reasons why you need to book a professional event photographer is for those unexpected events that can spell disaster if you haven’t got a robust backup plan. Smartpicsuk® have just been touched twice in a week by unexpected circumstances. The first was receiving a message from The EPS (Event Photographers Society) on a Saturday morning on behalf of a colleague who had just been rushed into hospital.

Hylands house charity fundraising
Hylands House charity fundraising

As he was being wheeled into the emergency department he asked his wife to contact Mike Weeks the founder of the EPS to arrange a photographic team to cover an event that was due to start within hours.

Luckily we were able to help out and within minutes had contacted the event organiser to reassure her that her prestigious charity 30th anniversary ball would have full photographic coverage. I also had to leave messages at the gym where a vital member of the team who edits and prints onsite photographs was in a spin class.

Although we always like to have a booking form and as much detail as we can prior to the event we always hold enough stock and equipment to react to short notice requests.

The evening was a great success with all the guests in a stately hall in East Anglia having a wonderful evening and a successful fundraising event for the charity.

We were complimented on our professionalism by the event organiser and I had to tell her actually the real professional was the photographer who even as he was being rushed into hospital made sure he didn’t let anybody down. That’s what I call a real Pro!

Charity fund raising event photography
Charity fund raising event photography

Less than a week later I was on a commission in one of Europe’s grand cities on another short notice job.

Waiting to check into yet another hotel with colleagues an opportunist thief stole thousands of pounds of our photographic equipment. I’ve never had any gear stolen in many years of professional travel both in the UK and worldwide and felt somewhat upset to put it mildly.

Fortunately all the photographs taken had been backed up both online to a secure server and I had even made a copy on a large USB drive that in my pocket so the important pictures were safe. Cameras can be replaced but very often photographs can’t.

Some very important equipment was lost and it’s not the sort you can replace in the average High St. We did however have backup equipment so we were able to continue the commission on behalf of the client without disruption to the tight schedule.

As the saying goes if you think hiring a professional is expensive see how expensive an amateur can be when things go wrong.

By the way if anybody is thinking of booking Smartpicsuk® and worrying that bad things always come in three’s and what’s going to happen next somebody reversed into my car last week whilst I was walking the dog so that should end the run of bad luck for a few years.

And just in case we have backup plans, a professional network and we are fully insured.

Regards

Steve

Fast cars, faster web servers, Smartpicsuk® event photography finds top gear

Here’s the new website designed and coded from the ground up hosted on state of the art enterprise class Microsoft Azure cloud technology. Photographers websites are a fine balance between displaying our photography in the most prominent way and providing the information needed to make an informed choice when selecting a professional photographer. We hope you find the site interesting an informative. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything further you would like to know.

The site relaunch coincides with the Smartpicsuk® event photography brand becoming a registered trade mark in the UK so if you see another it’s a copycat and certainly not associated or affiliated with ourselves.

Trademarking and branding is now an integral part of many of the photography jobs we now undertake for our corporate clients. Combined with our on site printing it becomes a powerful and very cost effective way of promoting your brand or marketing message.

Corporate Christmas party photography
Corporate Christmas party photography

We recently covered a corporate hospitality event for an international bank that just happen to be a sponsor of the Williams Formula One team. An FW36 F1 racing car was bought into the event at the prestigious BMA in London. We were given strict instructions that guests were not allowed to touch the car in any way and definitely not use it as somewhere to place their drinks and canapés (they usually try and use our computers and printers for that).

When I was informed the cost of one of these cars was in the region of £5 million with the removable steering wheel alone being about £50,000 I was worried I may have to phone our insurance brokers as £5 million is our usual everyday cover and we were worried we may have to increase this something normally only done when working on the tarmac at international airports or photographing Premier League football players.

Another surprise we had came at the end of the evening when the guests had departed and it was time for us pack all our equipment away in protective flight cases to return to base. The F1 racing car had been wheeled into the venue from adjacent premises that had to be closed and locked for the night. The only way the car could be removed from the premises was to physically dismantle the car and carry it through the offices piece by piece. Each dismantled part of the car was wrapped in bubble wrap and carefully carried from the building. I thought I was cautious with our professional photography equipment and I’ve never been accused of being a cheapskate but this was on an entirely different level.

Thanks for reading and please get in touch with either myself or the team if there is anything we’ve missed or for any further information.

Brand new technology with Boeing Dreamliner airliners and Fuji X series cameras

A quiet revolution is currently taking place in the world of professional photography and it’s gathering momentum like the switch to professional digital photography around the new millennium. In fact New Years Eve 1999 was the very last event I covered using traditional film.

The new revolution concerns the cameras we are using with a switch to “mirrorless” camera systems. These new systems from the likes of Fujifilm and Olympus are moving into a market that has been dominated by Nikon and Cannon with myself being a Nikon user all my professional life.

I have now started to use the Fuji film Xpro1 and XT1 on a number of commissions and am pleased by both the images they are producing and how discrete and quiet they are when discretion and quietness are required such conference photography when a speaker and delegates don’t want to hear the sound of a camera motor drive clicking away.

Smartpicsuk - owner Steve Burton
Smartpicsuk – owner Steve Burton

Another very welcome feature is the size and weight of the cameras and lenses. I can now carry a couple of cameras and lenses around very comfortably in a small shoulder bag which is great for photographers backs and shoulders and an absolute pleasure when checking cameras onto airlines as hand luggage which I frequently have to do.

A recent corporate photography commission was an ideal job for the Fuji system and involved photographing the CEO of a new airline flying from London Gatwick airport and the arrival of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Even though I wasn’t actually going to be flying anywhere I still had to go through all the airport security and passport checks. Although I had to remove my belt and wallet etc the camera bag with the Fuji went straight through the Xray scanner without delay something that rarely happens with my Nikon system. Working on the cramped flight deck of a modern airliner is very restrictive and the small size of the cameras made my job a lot easier and productive. When the location and environmental portraits had been shot it was time to shoot corporate head shots of the various executives and again the Fuji system excelled at the task.

CEO of new airline flying from Gatwick in Boeing 787 Dreamliner cabin
CEO of new airline flying from Gatwick in Boeing 787 Dreamliner cabin

Another vote of confidence came when I took the Fuji system on holiday to South East Asia (just in case I needed a proper professional camera when I was away. Old habits die hard for Fleet St photographers!) and not the usual couple of Nikon’s and lenses.

The Nikon’s will still be used in our event photography especially when used with our portable “pop up studio” and onsite photo printing as the Nikon wireless system is so good at transmitting photographs back to a computer viewing system for selecting and instant printing.

Although the new Fuji’s do have wireless transmission capability we will have to wait a while before it has the speed and range of the dedicated Nikon equipment. Knowing the design capabilities of the Fuji company I don’t think it will be a long wait and then we will see here at Smartpicsuk® how we can further exploit the new technology for the benefits of our clients.

We have an event coming up at the Houses of Parliament and I just know the Fuji will be in use for it’s discrete nature and ease of carrying through security. The event is a thank you to a charity partner whose black tie fundraising event we recently covered. It is quite common for us here at Smartpicsuk® to provide photographic services with our compliments to charities and other good causes for marketing and promotional materials or websites.

Thank you for reading and as always if you have any further questions about event photography or how we use the technology don’t hesitate to get in touch…

Regards

Steve

From The Stig to a Rolling Stones gig, I can get satisfaction!

Another busy month with a variety of commissions from a trade show an international conference and even a Rolling Stones gig.

The Rolling Stones live onstage at Hyde Park
The Rolling Stones live onstage at Hyde Park

We had the chance to photograph The Stig for one of our clients after persuading him to road test a mobility scooter on an obstacle course set up at The International Center in Telford for the Mobility Roadshow. The marketing director was very pleased with this coup and after the pictures were taken even encouraged a little competition between The Stig and myself, having never driven a mobility scooter myself The Stig naturally won.

London’s famous Dorchester hotel was the setting for The Global Citizen Forum London event. Set up by Forbes list billionaire Dr B K Modi the Singapore based oorganisation bought together experts in business, economics and human rights and attracted politicians and business tycoons such as Lakshmi Mittal and the Hinduja brothers.

As for being a global citizen myself I did a count on how many countries I have worked in on photographic assignments and was astounded that it came to 37 and that does not cover passport stamps from Australia to Mexico for holidays. I am very grateful to be in a career I love so much and have the privilege of visiting so many cities and countries.

Dr B K Modi at Global Citizen Forum London
Dr B K Modi at Global Citizen Forum London

Another commission was across Park Lane to cover The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park. After hours of preparation I finally got the chance to photograph probably the biggest and best known rock band in the world. I was only allowed to photograph the first two numbers and was then escorted backstage and out. In those first two songs I managed to shoot over 400 pictures that I had to edit and send 20 pics of different shapes to meet the Sunday Times  deadline for who I was working. After completing this task in record time I was given a cold beer and allowed back out to the Barclaycard VIP area at the front of the stage minus my camera equipment that had to be left backstage as a condition of re entry.

It doesn’t get much better than that and unlike Mick Jagger and the boys I did get a lot of satisfaction.

MENSA chooses us for their event photography

It’s official smart people use Smartpicsuk.com MENSA choose us for photo coverage of their Spring Ball.

Mensa Summer Annual Ball
Mensa Summer Annual Ball

We were delighted to be selected as official photographers for the MENSA annual Spring Ball at the Hilton London Canary Wharf / Docklands. The theme was a Moulin Rouge style Parisian evening where all the guests dressed appropriately thus making for excellent photographic opportunities which we were keen to oblige.

It makes a huge difference to the success of an occasion when guests take the time and effort to get “glammed up” and party goers are delighted when they receive a print in their hands within a few minutes. Many guests made repeat visits to the studio throughout the evening for more variations and poses as they relaxed and let their hair down a bit.

Guests kept telling us how impressed they were with the smart technology that enables them to walk away with studio quality pictures without having to make an appointment and visit a studio, indeed we were located adjacent to the bar which is always handy!

Whilst the technology and lighting behind the pictures is very clever and needs professional skills and experience to get the best from it ; it’s not rocket science but it is smart and that’s coming from the people at MENSA

Private birthday party photography
Private birthday party photography

Elsewhere we have attended a couple of very select private parties including an 18th birthday party for the daughter of one of our corporate clients and a retirement party for one the country’s top medical consultants at The Great Hall, St Bart’s Hospital. Both commissions needed different styles of photography which is something we are always keen to accommodate.

Whatever or wherever your party, to us it’s always a special occasion and we are happy to work whilst you play.