A Photographer's Perspectives Of A Recent Event
Every event can happen only once, you cannot bring back time or redo it again once over. With that, it is crucial to work with experienced photographers who knows their stuff and have honed their craft well through the years. Having shot for many events over the years, I was introduced by a committee member to photograph an upcoming anniversary gala dinner. An event that was halted the past two years due to the pandemic and finally, they were able to hold it again after the hiatus.
For the records, ExotiCars Club celebrates their 13th Anniversary at the Parkroyal Collection this year with the veteran Emcee Justin Mission. There were more than 80 strong attendees with more than 40 supercars parked within the hotel space. Now to the photography part - In this short write-up, I want to share about the event from a photographer’s point of view and how I shot this assignment. Photography perspective is the spatial awareness between subject and within the scene you wish to capture in your mind. Using such awareness, a photographer can evoke the sense of depth and scale in an event. Not getting too technical, this is extremely important as it will set the mood and create the expectation of visuals you would imagine in an event. It is like bringing you to through time and letting you have a glimpse of the actual event when it was happening even though the viewer was not there. These pictures would at the same time still spark emotions for those who were there as if they were reliving that moment. I would at the same time, like to share what is going through my mind, from my perspective here.
Some of the ‘money’ shots in this assignment includes capturing the cars, the guest, cake-cutting, plaque presentation and getting good shots of the VIPs. As I ran through the schedule, these were already instilled in my mind of the various times when I need to look out for them. In my opinion, these are the basics which an event photographer needs. In our event photography terms, these are the ‘media’ shots as well. Depending on the pax size, I would try to capture as many faces I see as possible. I would try not to leave anybody out, as they are honourable guest of the host. I can do it either through some candid shots while they are chatting or simply while they are enjoying some simple moments. On a side note, I do try to avoid capturing guest using cell phones or while adjusting their dresses/clothes or that sort – Perhaps, you would see this style a lot in wedding photography. As mentioned, this post is about perspective. I would try to capture the entire event in different angles and at their most natural state.
Let me walk us through the whole event and my thoughts at various points. To start off, I always arrive early but not extremely early. Whenever I am more than half an hour earlier, I tend to find a spot nearby for a cup of ‘Teh’. My gauge is usually about fifteen minutes earlier, this way I am thinking for the host as this would allow them peace of mind from the many other stuff that they have to deal with. Next, meeting the person in-charge and who I would need to liaise with is one of the most important things when shooting for an event. You know that there are key personnel or VIPs around who can and will always overwrite decisions, this is the time that you need to make sure who you listen to and all these are already agreed upon right from the start. Why do I find this important? As a photographer, you want to concentrate on capturing the event and creating moments rather than running around trying to please certain people who might not know where you are needed for important shots. The event began with the arrival of the supercars/guest and while actually waiting for more cars to arrive so that I can capture the huge amount of cars, I went to specific cars and tried to capture some cars shots.
Upon seeing the guest, I asked them to pose around their cars and at the same time caught some candid shots of them chatting at the foyer with a nice car at the front. This shot is pretty smart as it gives the perspective of a black-tie event at this particular hotel venue, and it is related to cars. Next, I had to move back and forth from the ballroom to the foyer quite a bit to capture more shots. This was pretty challenging as there were some distance between the two spots, and my setting had to keep changing back and forth from an outdoor to an indoor. Next was capturing the introductions, small talks, and laughter. These were some of the shots I like the most, as I am capturing genuine emotions. The evening preceded to the address by the president, cake-cutting and the dinner proper. I am busy snapping away and ticking off all my money shots. At this point, I need to mention the stage. Stage shots can prove to be challenging as the size matters and where you can stand while taking these shots is important. I needed to know exactly what is happening on stage and have different angles for my client at the end of the day. What goes through my mind at this point? Long shot, closeup, mouth not too wide talking, the audience response, am I blocking anybody from where I am standing and many other considerations all within minutes. I am glad that I was able to capture good expression of the addresses, cake-cutting, the band playing, handshakes, hugs, the awards, the emcee, and stage games.
I would like to share about unexpected moments as well. There were two unexpected occurrences which I thought were interesting. First, the Malaysian counterparts took over the mic and aligned themselves in front of the stage to appreciate the host, presented a plaque at the same time. (Think there were a few Datuks around) And second, the Emcee (Justin Mission) broke his own rules for the first time and accepted the drink from the club’s VP. Delightful moment occurring and I was glad to be able to capture such moments.
Again, I think I have shared quite a bit in this considerably longer post and would leave the pictures to do the talking. When I first accepted this commission, I thought that this would be a serious, no-nonsense ‘prim and proper’ high net worth attendees’ event. Not to say it was not but the ‘letting their hair loose’ and the camaraderie shown here was indeed heartfelt. Despite having pressure to perform for this event, I was glad to be engaged for this assignment and have gotten a lot of beautiful shots. Signing off, this is a glimpse into the life of a photographer from Singapore.
Yours Truly, Jay.C
Nb: These are snippets of the 400+ shots I delivered to the client