Tag Archives: 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”…..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.

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