Category Archives: Fundraising Event Photography

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”… 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
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.

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

A pop-up or portable studio along with photo booths are now an essential addition to all high-end events and promotions.

From corporate parties and team building, trade & award events, consumer promotions or brand activations and large fundraising events.

Often compared and often mistaken for a photo booth the  pop up studio offers a studio environment with associated lighting where a professional photographer will direct participants into the most flattering pose for the best looking images.

Awards photography featuring pop up studio
Corporate awards night with pop up studio

The studio is often used in conjunction with instant onsite photographic printing which can be branded with client or sponsor logos and artwork.

As well as walking away with a high-quality photograph guests can also share the photographs online keeping your brand in front of potential clients.

Consumer activation photography Bluewater Shopping Centre
Consumer promotion photography with Greenscreen and instant printing Bluewater Shopping Centre


Team building and other corporate & incentive events are becoming more and more popular even in these budget stretched times. A high-quality photograph  will remain long after the food and drinks are cleared away.

Team building photography
Team building event photography.
Making tomorrow’s memories today.

Get in touch today to find out how Smartpicsuk photographers can  help promote your brand or cause by making tomorrow’s memories today.

Fundraising photography
Fundraising event photography with pop up studio and onsite printing



New year and new photography services

Reflecting back on 2013 and looking forward to 2014 it’s been an exciting year and we are anticipating an even better 2014.

Long Walk to Freedom One to One
Long Walk to Freedom One to One

There was a sense of Deja Vu for the beginning of this New Year walking down a cold and wet Whitehall in the early hours of January Ist exactly as we did starting 2013 after photographing guests at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall Place. It is however very satisfying to be getting repeat business from prestigious clients.

The end of 2013 was one of our busiest periods with a wide ranging variety of commissions and assignments from large corporates and high profile charity events.

One of our favorite jobs was to photograph the actress Naomie Harris who stars in the Nelson Mandella film; The Long Walk to Freedom. The event was a charity fundraiser for the “One to One childrens fund. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing many actresses, actors and show business stars but Naomie for me shines as one of the brightest and will be starring for many years in the role of Eve Moneypenny in the future James Bond films. Photographing Naomie was one of the highlights of the year which included photographing The Rolling Stones and some exotic overseas travel on behalf of clients.

another charity event was The Big Issue ” Red Ball” when we used the new “green screen” facilities with our portable studio. This enables us to place pictures of guests in any setting they require and place magazine covers or logos over the finished pictures before printing onsite. I am confident that green screen events will become more and more popular as the technology gets even more sophisticated and we invest additional time in professional training.

The Big Issue Red Party
The Big Issue Red Party

Another new innovation this year will be guests using social media “live” at events to Facebook or tweet their pictures  or maybe using some new media that has not yet been discovered or invented. This in conjunction with professionally shot pictures will surely become one of the most powerful marketing tools for both corporates and charities to get their message out into the world.

On the opposing side of that prediction we have covered some assignments where the exact opposite is the case and we have signed confidentiality agreements with high profile clients. If you want publicity we will happily tell the world, if not discretion and confidentially will be the order of the day.

As well as investing in new equipment and learning new skills we will soon be overhauling our website and marketing activities as well as forming new business relationships and partnerships.

With the economic climate seemingly improving we start the year anticipating a successful and prosperous future and hope this applies also to all our clients partners and friends.

Longer days means lighting challenges

British Summertime starts this weekend (so we are told) and we are looking forward to a bright and busy summer of events.

Children with cancer fundraising event photography
Children with cancer fundraising event photography

We love variety and like to capture different styles of pictures at the same event or party. The pictures above were both taken within minutes of one another showing guests at the same charity fundraising function.

The fundraiser was held at The Warren ; The Metropolitan Police Social Club on behalf of Children with Cancer (formerly children with leukemia).

We set a studio and print station in the bar area and guests were soon queuing to have their photographs taken. As well as more traditional poses, we encourage guests to try different set ups especially with larger groups. These days every person in the country has a camera with them in the guise of a mobile phone and we are very aware that our photographs need to stand out as a professional product in this digital age.

For those interested in technical details the pictures were shot with a Nikon D3 and lit with 3 Elinchrom studio heads one on either side at 90 degrees both fitted with gridded softbox’s and a shoot through brolly at 70 degrees for fill light. Backdrop was the new custom made Lastolite Panorama. Pictures were transmitted in seconds via a dedicated wireless network to an Apple computer running Adobe Lightroom with some custom modifications and printed on a DNP dye sub printer for guests to take away with them.

Uniserve UK Ltd 18 tonne Rigid trucks - Corporate Event Photography
Uniserve UK Ltd 18 tonne Rigid trucks – Corporate Event Photography

Another very different commission, although not one you would class as an event, was for a corporate client who were upgrading their HGV fleet. The client who is the largest privately owned logistics company in the UK had a new delivery of HGV trucks that morning and even though the vehicles had never been used on the road and were hours old we had to make sure they were cleaned and spotless. Lining them up in formation also took a lot of time and effort and if I had been one of the drivers I would have cursed the photographer!  Being a working dockside terminal meant all sorts of operational challenges for us from carrying out a risk assesment to wearing Hi Vis clothing to having someone watching my back in case an HGV reversed over very expensive equipment or me!

The shoot was on the sunniest day of the year and created more problems with harsh shadows (even an HGV lorry deserves flattering light!) and needed sophisticated and powerful lighting to fill in the shade. It also made for a wait of a few hours before shooting the final picture at dusk which was lit by 4 Elinchrom powerpacks fired by radio flash triggers.

We are always looking for new picture opportunities and challenges so do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions as to what we can photograph and how we can deliver the right images for you either party fun or serious corporate branding and marketing campaigns.

Fun at the British Heart Foundation Fundraiser

We have enjoyed a busy start to the New Year with a variety of events and the spring diary is beginning to get booked up.

Charity fundraising event BHF Grand Hotel Brighton
Charity fundraising event BHF Grand Hotel Brighton

Our most recent outing was to The British Heart Foundation Grand Ball which was held appropriately in Brighton’s famous Grand Hotel. The event was to raise funds for the “Mending broken hearts” appeal which is aiming to raise £50 million over 5 years literally mend hearts broken by disease. Whilst there we were lucky to photograph up and coming boy band ClassA who supported the cause by entertaining everybody and posing for pictures with guests and sponsors. A great bunch of lads who are definitely going places.

We are beginning to notice that some of our clients are asking for new ways to commission and receive their pictures in addition to printing onsite from the event. Many are now asking for downloadable pictures from our secure online web galleries as well as or sometimes instead of taking prints away with them. These galleries can be password protected and in some cases are even invisible on our site unless you have the correct link. In addition to hosting the pictures that are all licensed for yourselves,guests and sponsors to use for promotional, PR and marketing use USB memory sticks are also becoming popular. We are even in early budget negotiations to cover an overseas international event that will be available on a custom made smartphone or tablet “app”

Whatever your requirements we will produce the pictures you want and deliver them by whatever method suits your needs and your budget.

Next week see’s the annual Focus on Imaging exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC. The show is the UK’s premier photography trade event and we look forward to seeing some of our friends and colleagues there. I suspect the budget may take a bit of a hit as all the major manufacturers and dealers display their new products and display their special offers.

New studio equipment available

Our clients have been delighted by our brand new purpose designed portable studio backdrop. We were very lucky to take delivery of one of the first available 4m wide panoramic backdrops by British company Lastolite. Designed in conjunction with the best professional photographers in the industry it is ideal for bigger groups especially at award ceremonies where fairly large groups of people can be posed on a plain background with studio lighting.

Annual Fundraising ball photography
Annual Fundraising ball photography

One of the first events we covered using the new kit was for the Covent Garden Tenants Association annual dinner dance. Held at The Park Plaza Riverbank hotel for 400 guests it was a very lively and successful evening which culminated with the association handing cheques for over £65,000 to their chosen charities; The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust and The Trinity Hospice of Clapham, a splendid effort by a fine bunch of ladies and gentlemen.

Now we are coming to the height of the dinner dance and awards season we are getting rather busy with enquiries and bookings we are very surprised how late some firms and organisations are leaving it to book their event photography requirements. We very recently managed to cover a large event including onsite printing with less than 48 hours notice after they had been let down by another firm…..we do say we are flexible and adaptable!

If you are having a party have a great time and remember we work whilst you play to provide a lasting memento of your evening.