It was a pleasure to photograph for Cloudshift at their celebratory event at the Sunborn Yacht Hotel, in The Royal Docks, around Canning Town.
The sun was out, drinks were flowing and it was an all-round success following their earlier exhibit at Excel that day.
James Fabulous was there, entertaining the crowd…
He’s a mentalist and magician (a mentalist is someone who messes with your head over doing “simple” card tricks, Derren Brown style). Here’s his Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamesfabulous/?hl=en and here’s a YouTube video of him doing his thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwKzGxO7i3o&feature=youtu.be
WAS HE ANY GOOD?
Yes, he was blowing minds left right and centre! He can work the crowd while also letting people get on with socialising, which is a real art in itself, so I admire his talents. I’d honestly recommend him for any corporate event. I’ve seen a lot of entertainers at corporate events and I must say he stood out as a particularly good one.
Believe it or not, direct sun is not an event photographer’s best friend - we prefer bright daylight with plenty of clouds, if we get a choice on the matter! Fortunately I had a bit of time to carefully edit and tweak the images from the day to help with flare and other technical camera related things, and I’m happy with how the images came out.
Another challenge we often face is certainly not an issue for the events managers - people enjoying themselves in a nicely crowded party environment. Generally it’s nice to get a bit of distance between the camera and the subject, but that’s not always possible. I used my little Fuji camera quite a lot for this event so I could hang out with the crowd without having my big camera lens intruding on their conversations. It’s a great little camera for all sorts of situations, but rather specialist as it doesn’t zoom or anything like that.
DID THEY LIKE THE IMAGES?
I had a phone call a couple of weeks later to say how much they loved the pictures, and have booked me to photograph their golfing day too! So I think that’s a yes.
It was a pleasure to photograph the Digital Europe Evening at London Business School, which was organised by FoundersLane - Nikola Likov and Rose Nguyen were my contacts for the event.
I photograph a lot of tech talk events and this was a nice approach to the panel discussion and networking format. It had an intimate, relaxed feel (with a fairly exclusive capacity of about 30), so everybody had the chance to talk with each other.
Following some refreshments and delegates having the chance to speak to each other, everybody sat down for the structured panel discussion featuring Anne Berner, Martina Larkin, Michael G Jacobides and Simon Torrance.
After the panel discussion, the group split into 5 separate groups to discuss various elements of the tech industry. They then went for drinks and finger food in a dedicated part of London Business School.
This was my first time at the London Business School. The Sir John Ritblat Conference Room is very new and beautifully designed especially for panel discussion and round table events. As for challenges, the combination of deep coloured wood and overhead lighting does result in certain phenomena that are more clear when seen in a photograph than by the naked eye. Light that directly falls on a person from a light source will have a certain neutral tone (when the camera is white balanced correctly), whereas light that bounces off a wooden wall will be significantly warmer. One effect that this produces is that people in the middle of the room will require a different white balance than those standing closer to a wall, to prevent the image from appearing murky. There is no scientific solution to this, it’s just a matter of ”eyeballing” each scenario and adapting to it. Being an event photographer who’s seen a lot of wood panelling, this is a fairly instinctive process for me, but it’s one of those things that the human eye is much less capable of noticing until it’s recorded in a photograph.
DID THEY LIKE THE PHOTOS?
Rose wrote a review for me on Google: “Josh photographed an event that my company organised at LBS. He was very responsive and professional. The result delivered was absolutely amazing as we shared the photos with our guests and they were all very impressed. Will definitely keep Josh as our first photographer contact for the next events.” Thanks Rose!
Thames 21 put on a great event for London Rivers Week to build awareness of just how interesting our London rivers are. My brief was to show kids and families enjoying some of the entertaining activities that was put on for the locals and visitors of Thamesmead.
It was a genuinely lovely day and the kids were so interested to see the little bugs and tiny shrimp that can be found in so many of our local rivers (as was I). Here are just a few pictures I took during the couple of hours I was there.
For a much better piece of writing about the week, visit Thames 21’s own website post.
A civilised afternoon tea, shaving the boss’s widely criticised moustache, heartfelt speeches and plenty of fizz?
It was great to be asked back again for a third year running to photograph the annual ”Kick Off” event for corporate workspace designers Peldon Rose (I also photograph their head shots for their website). It’s an annual celebration of what’s great at Peldon Rose - both the staff and their achievements throughout the year. They really are like a supportive family to each other, and they know how to have fun too!
The Photographic Brief
There was a fair amount to photograph in this event - four locations, a few different speakers, awards and some shots of the rooms when they were empty, for internal use, so they have a record of how they planned the event. Images were to be mostly horizontal (landscape) format, and in my usual unobtrusive, candid style.
My point of contact Tom gives me clear guidelines on what he needs, but keeps it open enough for me to go around photographing what I think Peldon Rose will need for their social media, newsletter and internal distribution. I have photographed plenty of their corporate events in the past, so we have a good working relationship and a clear understanding. The technical challenges were the most common for events in hotels and theatre type environments - very low light, and the light that does exist tends to be pointing directly into the frame, which requires special attention. I switch to prime lenses with optimal lens hoods and minimal glass, keep angles relevant to the lighting in the room, and pay extra special attention to any dust on the surface of the lens. This helps to reduce flare as much as possible. I’ll then work on any images that exhibit the ”wrong kind” of flare in post processing - sometimes flare can be a really beautiful thing, so it’s a creative process when dealing with this kind of lighting. Other tricks involve waiting for someone to open the door in the theatre (there’s always one!) which helps to light up the back of the audience so they can be seen better during photos of speeches. But the most important thing of all is to capture the special moments - so it’s a constantly stimulating balance between the technical side of things and capturing the joy of the event.
Ham Yard Hotel - What’s It Like?
WOW is what it’s like! The artwork on the walls is quite stunning, a personal highlight being an Alexander Calder textile, and the wallpaper in the bar which is made up of monumental scale pieces of hand painted linen which felt more like abstract expressionism than anything decorative. The service seemed impeccable. The atmosphere in each room was sophisticated, relaxed and comfortable. I live about 15 minutes from Ham Yard Hotel (it’s in Soho) so booking a room seems a little extravagant, but I’m seriously considering going back for the afternoon tea.
NCTJ put on a fantastic awards ceremony and gala at Quendon Hall in Essex, to celebrate some of the extraordinary achievements throughout the students’ time at the organisation. I have photographed a number of events for them, and the students are always really lovely to work with.
The Photographic Brief
The brief was to photograph guests in a natural, candid and unobtrusive manner, mostly in the horizontal (landscape) format. The awards were documented with the posed handshake on stage as per the usual manner at a gala. One group shot of all the winners was required for social media within just a couple of minutes after I had photographed it - this is often possible if arranged in advance. I then took the initiative to take a few more off-stage posed shots of students and recent graduates feeling a bit more relaxed after the shock of winning! As is usual with NCTJ, the brief itself was exceptionally well executed, which helped everything to go smoothly.
Thankfully I’ve been shooting these ceremonies for a number of years, and so the (highly challenging) aspects of photographing galas comes quite naturally to me - this means I can concentrate more on the feeling of the photography, and the technicalities are fairly instinctive! For this event I used two high end Canon DSLR’s, a small Fuji camera for wide-angled close-ups to get a really casual and “immediate” party atmosphere, and a variety of prime and zoom lenses which I keep in a bag off to one side of the room. I used flash occasionally, which I balanced using gels (clear coloured plastic) to mimic the effect of the naturally warm lighting of the room. I also used my laptop for immediate image editing of the group shot which was then transferred to a USB stick, to put onto the event organiser’s own laptop.
Galas are one of the more challenging of events for photographers and event planners alike, which is why I’m always both excited and really careful to get the event photography details carefully set out before the big night. There are usually plenty of details that need to be photographed, and a selection of images are often required very soon after or even during the event. Regardless of my own business interests, I would say that a gala and awards ceremony event should always be photographed by a reliable, competent professional with high end equipment. The available lighting tends to be coloured, low in brightness and directional, with people’s expressions changing during animated conversation fairly constantly. Drinks, nibbles, complex shadows and so on will add to the complexity of getting a wide variety of flattering shots.
Sounds Like Hard Work!
It’s that kind of hard work that I really enjoy - constant stimulation and so many things to photograph, great people, and happy clients!