The months of February and March are when many civic institutions hold their formal dinners. I covered one such event last week when the chairman of East Herts District Council hosted a charity dinner at The Rhodes Centre, Bishop’s Stortford, in aid of Cazfest, a local charity that works to raise awareness of heart risk in young people and to help finance heart screening for sixth form students in Hertfordshire & Essex.
The brief was to provide formal photographs of guests – mostly local dignitaries such as mayors and the chairs of council committees – the reception, dinner and entertainment, which was provided by the Bishop’s Stortford High School Swing Band and the Jacqui Ison School of Dance and Theatre Arts.
Prior to the event taking place I was able to visit the venue and chat with staff and the event co-ordinator so that I could get an idea of how the evening would work and what I would need.
One of the main requirements was for an area where I could set up the mobile studio so that I could take formal photographs and print off instant 6×4″ prints for anyone that wanted them (these proved popular). I was given an area of around 15sq.m in the corner of the bar and this worked well, allowing me to set up a background and lighting, together with my camera, laptop and portable printer.
As well as formal shots, I also took a selection of informal shots of guests arriving and socialising before the main dinner. Timescales during this part of the evening were quite tight as there was only a 45 minutes period between guests arrived and the formal start of the dinner.
The dinner itself was held in the main auditorium, which featured a gallery, allowing me photograph both the dinner and entertainment from a high and unobtrusive angle.
I was also able to get close up to the stage during the main meal to photograph the swing band.
Following the meal and toasts there was a 45 minute performance by the Jacqui Ison School of Dance and Theatre.