The Valley

I spent some time wandering around Fortitude Valley on Friday night, looking for light.

Balcony Balcony Bouncer Bouncer

Social Media Portrait Project – Part 2

The second phase of the Social Media Portrait Project has seen a wide range of people turning up at my house and leaving 20 or 30 minutes later. I’m sure my neighbours must be thinking I’ve started to deal drugs.

Like the first two weeks, the last couple of weeks have included people I’ve known online for many years (including one since before Twitter and Facebook existed), some I’ve known for a while but never met, a neighbour, and friends of friends who followed me as a result of hearing about the project. And I didn’t take his photo this time, but Spencer Howson from ABC Local Radio Brisbane dropped by to do a story, which will run when he’s back on air in a couple of weeks’ time.

I’ve had a few responses, but nothing locked in for the final week and a half of the project, so, if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, get in while you can. And if you missed the chance but still need some new portraits or headshots, I can help you out.

Weekend Wanderlust – The Great Ocean Road

Those of you who have known me for a while may remember that, back in 2010, I drove from Brisbane, through Western New South Wales and South Australia, to Adelaide. After meeting my wife in Adelaide, we then drove across the southern coast to Melbourne, via the Great Ocean Road.

I’ve been thinking about that trip recently, particularly this snake which I lay down on a boardwalk and got very close to in order to photograph. Mostly, I found myself wondering what kind of snake it was, and how much danger I placed myself in. Turns out it was a White-Lipped Snake. Slightly venomous, but mostly harmless.

While digging these photographs out of the archives, I thought I’d revisit a couple of landscapes from the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. You can click on the second one to download it as a desktop wallpaper.

Click the image to download a desktop wallpaper version Click the image to download a desktop wallpaper version

Social Media Portrait Project – The First Two Weeks

A couple of days before Christmas, I put out a call to my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers – come to my house, where I’ve set up a little studio, and I’ll take your photo.

I’ve had quite a response, with eight sessions so far in the first two weeks. Participants have included people I’ve met several times, one of whom has housesat for us twice, followers’ spouses and children, another photographer, and two people who I have interacted with for many years but only met as a result the project.

A lot of the portraits have been quite straight “headshot” style photographs, although as I get more comfortable working within the constraints of the room I’ve set up, directing people, and how my lights behave in the room (and how children behave in the room!), I’ve been able to get a little more creative. I still have today’s two sessions to work on, but here are some of the portraits so far.

There are still a couple of weeks left to run on the project, so if you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, head on over to the blog post and sign up.

Event Photography – Telling The Story

“Some people sat in a room, and some other people stood up and talked at them.” Not a very interesting story is it? Events – whether corporate events, workshops, launches or parties – are much more interesting than that, and my aim when covering them is to tell the story of the connections and interactions that occur amongst the speakers, participants and guests.

Speakers

Event managers, it’s 2016. Time to get your speakers out from behind lecterns and podiums and interacting with their audience. My approach to photographing event speakers and presenters is to capture moments when their expressing themselves, not when they’re reading from their notes at a lectern. Some aspects I consider while photographing presenters include:

  • Lighting – It’s an unfortunate reality that many events are held in hotel conference and ballrooms, with less than ideal lighting. If the room isn’t well lit, is there a source of light such as a window that I can try and capture the speaker next to? If there are a lot of windows, the speaker’s probably back-lit, meaning I’ll need to expose the image correctly. Can I use flash? If not, I’ll need to overexpose to make sure the speaker isn’t in silhouette. If so, is the ceiling low enough to bounce the light off and avoid flashing the speaker in the face? Nobody likes being flashed in the face. Especially not in public.
  • Microphones – Back in my music photography days, it was often difficult to avoid “microphone face” – where the low shooting position and microphone stands could result in a singer’s face being obscured by the mic. At more sedate events, I can move around the room, ensuring a good angle that reduces the obstruction. Even better if the speaker has a radio-mic, or a handheld mic which they’ll move away from their face from time to time.
  • Facial Expressions – Capturing a speaker mid-sentence can make for engaging photos showing their passion for the subject. Unfortunately, it can also result in embarrassing and awkward facial expressions. Even Beyoncé‘s not immune from this one.

Audience

When you’re telling the story of your event, you want to show that your audience was engaged and interested. Photos from the back of the room, showing the back of people’s heads aren;t really going to tell that story. When I’m photographing an event, I walk around the room, looking for moments where audience members are clearly focussed on the front of the room, pondering what’s being said, and taking notes.

Interactions

“Social Photos”. You know the ones I mean – two people who barely know each other, standing awkwardly next to each other, forcing a smile at a photographer who interrupted their conversation. I don’t want to interrupt people’s conversations for social photos. I’d rather capture the conversations, the interactions, the smiles of recognition cross the room. These images are the story of your event.

Branding

Events are presented, supported and sponsored by brands. They don’t do that out of the goodness of their heart. They do it for exposure, brand recognition and good will. So, when I’m shooting an event, I try to get as many photographs as possible which include some element of the event’s branding. A banner in the corner of the room? Hmm, maybe. Someone using, wearing or interacting with your sponsor’s product or your company or sponsor’s logo? Ideal.

As 2016 gets underway, and you’re planning your event calendar for the year, think about the type of event coverage you’d prefer. If you want photographs that tell the story of your event, the people, the interactions and the connections, get in touch.

Family Shoot – The Golds

For many families, especially those with adult children, Christmas is the only time of year when the whole family gets together. And even then, it does’t happen every year – it’s been several years since my family was all together.

For the Golds – Mum & Dad in Brisbane, Mindy in Sydney, and others elsewhere – this was the last Christmas for a while that they’ll be together. So, Mindy’s Christmas present for her family was a surprise photo shoot at her parents’ home.