Club Photography @ The Pump Room
Portrait, event and product photography are my main source of commissions over the years but when it is in a club, new elements are added and this could prove to be more challenging. Club photography is very exciting yet not as easy as any other event-type of photography. From capturing the opening of doors to the program highlights, there are many intricacies to it – Especially so when you are shooting for a company’s Year-End Dinner & Dance in a club.
I believe that giving the full package is an inherent part of why the client chooses to hire you. That includes a positive and friendly vibe; a smile is crucial in my line of work simply because it get you to places! When you send out a light-hearted countenance, people tend to get more relax and they look better in pictures as well. Everyone is at the party to enjoy themselves and my main goal is to capture those moments. Well, before they get high and drunk that is.
I always meet my client with a big smile and check to see what kind of client they are; a 'free and easy' let-you-do-your-thing kind of client or a micro-manage kind of client who has some pet peeves you need to accommodate. Below are some essential shots which I take during a club photography session, we call these ‘money’ shots for the client. Here goes:
1. Boss shots – Know who is the head of the event, VIPs, the committee and make sure to capture a few shots of him/her mingling, chatting and posing for group shots.
2. Highlight shots – Know the highlights of the day and take note of the line-up, I always ask for the schedule in advance before the event and then double confirm on the actual day. Even if the timing of the line-up change, I would already know what is going on at the back of my head. In this case was the reception, photo backdrop, opening speech, performances, games, lucky draw and prize winners.
3. Group shots – Take loads of it, people are there for the memories and these shots are the keepers after they took so much effort to doll themselves up for the event.
4. Action shots – Take some shots of people conversing, bartender mixing drinks, people laughing, dancing, or simply queuing for food.
5. Static objects and uncommon shots - lights, backdrop, décor, instruments – If there is sufficient time for these.
I make sure I am friendly with as many people as possible cause I never know when I may need their help or maybe even get referrals in the future. Be nice to everyone, such as the bartender who can quench me from my thirst, the bouncer when I need to move in and out of the club fast, the DJ as he is always the 'seen it all' person with incredible wealth of knowledge – trust me on this.
Lastly, I like to get it right the first time due to the fact that I usually just do global modifications in post for event commissions. Why, you might ask? Unless the client has got additional budget for post processing, I typically have a few hundred shots every event and it is not practical to do heavy edits to every single picture. I simply discard those ‘not so good’ shots and trim down about half of it which would be more than sufficient.
I believe in sharing and improving together. Thus, below is for the technical buffs. These settings are tried and tested so that you can have a good gauge if you are new to club photography. Ultimately there is no single setting for every event, it always depend on the situation.
Exposure Setting: Manual ISO: 800 – 1600 Aperture: F5 and vary depending on the number of people for group shots Shuttle speed: 1/30 – 1/80 depending on your lens focal range Metering: Center-Weighted Flash settings: I vary between TTL and Manual actually, if I am lazy then TTL with flash compensation or else I usually play around 1/128 or 1/64 on manual White Balance: Flash That’s all for now folks! Email me or you can contact me through various social media channels for questions, jobs, collaborations! Cheers, Jay.C