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.
Continue reading The Civic Dinner
Founded in 2005, Amici Cantate is a Bishop’s Stortford based choir who perform a wide range of material from all parts of the world. Their most recent concert was a performance of Zimbe!, a 40 minute fusion of traditional African song and jazz by Alexander L’Estrange. I was asked to cover the event by the choir’s Musical Director, John Tripp.
The concert took place in Bishop’s Stortford Baptist Church, a modern building that has more in common with a conference centre than a house of worship. I visited the church beforehand to get an idea of the space and lighting, something I always try and do before such events. I was a little concerned about the lighting (churches aren’t often generously lit) but I was pleased that the choir brought their own additional floodlighting for the event. The venue also featured a gallery, which allowed a good view of the performers.
The choir themselves were thoughtfully decked out in simple bright colours, whilst the junior singers wore all black.
Tickets for the event sold quickly at the church was nearly full to capacity, limiting the available angles somewhat. When photographing public performances I try to be as discreet as possible – the event is for the public’s enjoyment, not mine – so I try to be as unobtrusive as possible.
I took many of the shots from the back of the auditorium using a 70-300mm telephoto lens in Aperture Priority mode with the aperture around f5. Speed was set to ISO1600. Other shots were taken from the gallery and wings.
Following the event I created a slideshow in the client area of my website so that members of the choir could view the photos. I also provided information about how to order prints or photo CDs.
If you’re interested in having an event photographed and would like more information about the services I can offer, just fill in the contact form on my website.
I cover a number of music festivals during the season but most are around the middle or end of Summer, so it was great to be able to cover the Stortford Music Festival over the Mayday bank holiday this year.
The two-day event took place on St.Mary’s School field in Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford and featured three stages, a beer tent, children’s entertainment and the usual selection of festival stalls selling vintage clothes, jewellery, sunglasses, airbrushed tattoos, hair braiding, face painting and more.
As with all festivals I make a point of photographing not only the performers, but the fans, traders, stewards and everyone and everything that makes a successful festival what it is.
Events like these are of course great places to meet people and I always make sure I have an adequate supply of business cards (I come away with as many as I give away).
I always post my festival photos on Facebook and it’s always gratifying to see how much people appreciate my pictures. I also often post my photos on the artists and traders’ own Facebook pages. Links to the Facebook galleries are below.
Stortford Music Festival Day 1
Stortford Music Festival Day 2