Last week, through my ‘day job’ I was tasked with documenting a business conference being held by a local legal support firm in a Bradford city centre hotel.
I’ve photographed quite a few of these sort of events in the past and on the whole they all pose the same challenges, namely;
- Getting complimentary shots of all the keynote speakers in action – this event had a few of them. So that’s no shots of weird expressions or closed eyes, the avoidance of wardrobe malfunctions getting into shot (none on this occasion, but I’ve captured a few in the past), and making sure key elements of the day are documented including any standout or animated participants.
- Capturing shots of any principal guests or management team members.
- Keeping a low profile so as not to interupt the flow of the event.
- Avoiding tripping over chairs or bags as I creep about and trying not to drop my gear in the process (which has happened a couple of times – no damage done thank goodness).
This particular event included group exercises on tables within the room which I had to record. However the biggest obstacle being that the room’s windows were closed off, so zero natural daylight entered the room which coupled with the ambient tungsten light being set low, resulted in a very dark room.
If this wasn’t enough, the stage at the front was back-dropped with a very large and bright TV screen which was used for presentations and videos. As there was no direct stage lighting on to the speakers, once they were stood in front of the screen – they were in effect silhouetted. Nightmare!
So armed with two camera bodies (my Nikon D700 and D7100) and my trusty 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses – off I went.
However I quickly learned that the room was way too dark, even with a wide aperture and high ISO fr any meaningful shots so a Speedlight flash had to be used for most shots.
Using a flash is distracting for candidates and speakers alike, but it was the only way to get away with noise-free and crisp shots. I did take some shots without a flash using the 70-200mmm lens on another body and these shots did turnout noisy (read ‘grainy’ if you’re a layperson) but I was able to minimise this in Lightroom to an acceptable degree.
On this page you can see a fee examples of the shots I took on the day.