My first 'event'


paulcliff

Link Posted 08/05/2017 - 15:28
I've been asked to shoot a party my Grandad is putting on in July, its going to be in a function room with use of the garden/outside space, similar to a small wedding recpetion, 50-80 people I'd say. He's asked me to act as photographer for the day, wants candids of people throughout the day and also group shots. I've never done anything like this before. Here's the kit I currently own:

k3ii with grip and 3 batteries.
Sigma 17-50 f2.8
DA L 50mm f1.8
Pentax 55-300
DA 18-55 WR
M50 f1.7
SIGMA EF-610 DG ST
2x64GB SD cards
Velbon Tripod

Plan is to use the 17-50 f2.8 with the flashgun attached to the camera with a diffuser on top.

Just after some tips and advice really.

Anything else I should look at buying? Is it worth renting anything? I could probably borrow my old K-x DSRL I gave to my step dad as a second camera.

Pressure is fairly low as its family but I still want to make sure I do it right and do a good job.
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/cliffo88/513746

JAK

Link Posted 08/05/2017 - 15:44
I don't think he would have asked if he didn't think you could do it. Just keep it simple, don't buy or hire anything, use what you're familiar with and you reckon will do the best job. Surely even a mobile phone could be used so the gear you have must be a big plus and why he's asked you. He won't eat you if something doesn't come out right!!
At the end of the day these photos will be your record of the family when you're his age and you will appreciate having them much more then.
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 08/05/2017 - 15:47

davidruane

Link Posted 08/05/2017 - 20:46
Just a thought - but maybe a handful of disposal cameras to the "attendees" would also help?
Today is a great day - they always are if you wake up

davidstorm

Link Posted 08/05/2017 - 22:26
Here's my two-penny's worth Paul, I know it's only an 'informal' do, but I'm guessing you want to do your very best to do it justice:

1. Take the DA 50mm F1.8 and the 55-300, the 50mm will be great for shallow DOF and low light shots and the 55-300 will be invaluable for candids. The 17-50 is the best all-rounder, but not sufficient to cover everything you will need for this type of shoot

2. See if you can beg, steal or borrow another camera body just for the day (the K-x would be ideal, it's a great camera), so you can have the 17-50 on one camera and the 55-300 on another. If you also get one of the sling straps (cheap on ebay) you can carry one of the cameras slung low and not in the way when you are using the other one.

3. Personally, I would avoid using the flash if at all possible, if you do use it, try and have fill flash only, as full flash can make images look a bit one-dimensional unless you can bounce off ceilings or have a slave flash in addition to the on-camera one. Natural light images are preferable, even if you have to bump up the ISO a little. Your 17-50 F2.8 and your DA 50 F1.8 should cope with fairly low light with no issues

4. See if you can visit the venue beforehand to judge lighting conditions, especially if it's lit by artificial light. This will help get white balance set correctly and avoid trying to adjust WB in post processing, which can be tricky and time consuming

5. Shoot in RAW

6. Make sure you keep the shutter speed up to reasonable levels, especially at longer focal lengths. Sacrifice ISO for shutter speed if necessary, you can always clean up noise but you can't get rid of camera shake in post processing

7. Related to the lighting point above, try to ascertain if the venue uses LED lights and politely request they turn them off when you're taking photos if at all possible. Most LED's will completely ruin your images, unless they are specifically designed for photography, which in normal venues they won't be. I can't stress this enough, if you have lots of LED's buzzing around, you will probably end up junking most of your shots, or processing them in black and white to lessen the issues

8. Don't be afraid of framing images tightly and using wide apertures, especially for candids as this will isolate the subjects from their surroundings

9. Try to get a 'second shooter' to help you on the day. Another person can be a great moral support, also great to bounce ideas off and will especially help in getting candid shots whilst your are busy trying to herd groups of people into the right places for group photos

10. Get something to stand on for taking group photos, i.e. small steps or similar - this helps massively in terms of getting on the right level to make the shots look professional

11. Take care with backgrounds and plan in advance where you want to take the photos. If outside, check for directional sunlight - you don't want everyone squinting

12. Use a tripod for low light shots if you can, it may also come in handy for group shots, but can be a bit inflexible when you are working quickly

13. Take a couple of spare SD cards, I have had some 64gb ones fail on me, I tend to favour the 32gb cards, these are plenty big enough

14. Take a laptop if you can, to view images on a large screen and as a backup for your cards

Hope this isn't overkill, but I do think you need to consider carefully and have a plan before you go, even though it is only 'informal'. People will have expectations of how the images will turn out and you shouldn't under-estimate how much is involved with this type of work. I hope I haven't put you off!!

Regards
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 08/05/2017 - 22:33

JAK

Link Posted 08/05/2017 - 22:55
That does sound like gross overkill to me David! The less conspicuous he can be the better rather than looking like a tog from the press agency which could easily put the family off if the aim is just to get a few casual/candid shots.

If he was being paid to formally cover a major event like a Buckingham Palace Garden party then yes, your suggestions would be spot on, but an informal family gathering??? Not really.

As you've said in the other thread, 'an MX-1 is great for parties' so even one of those would surely be adequate for this family function if the DSLR wasn't already owned.

Put yourself back 50 years, you'd probably only have a fixed lens camera to use yet the task could be easily accomplished. Keep it simple!

My preferred kit for an event like this would be the K-1 with a 40/43mm standard lens or APS-C equivalent (probably the DA35mm plastic fantastic.) You'd get far better reactions from the family. Also no flash unless absolutely necessary. Having the 17-50 in the bag already would be ideal for just about everything.
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 08/05/2017 - 23:24

davidwozhere

Link Posted 09/05/2017 - 01:48
I had to do similar for my daughter's 40th. It was indoors in a huge private room of a pub. I had a K5 with a Tamron f3.8, 28 - 200 that I used at high ISO without any trouble. A great big flash, even fired at the ceiling can make you a bit of a nuisance if you are sidling round trying to be unobtrusive! Otherwise, complete strangers were totally happy to have a camera pointed at them. The fact that it's a 'posh' camera and you are seen to be working the room labels you THE photographer and you can get away with almost anything. RAW is useful, however because room lights can play hell with the white balance no matter what you try to do.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link

cabstar

Link Posted 09/05/2017 - 12:47
Best and easiest way to do this is setup a backdrop with some cheap Chinese stands in the corner of the room somewhere. Get the guests to come to you they will be far more willing to pose, maybe get some cheap hats/props and have fun and you will get some great images. It's easier to get willing people to pose and when other guests see how fun it is they too will want to take part. Use your 17-50 with flash set to 1/60 f/8 adjust flash and ISO to get great exposure.

Then the guests will be used to you and then you can go around the room capturing some candids
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released

JAK

Link Posted 09/05/2017 - 13:29
davidruane wrote:
Just a thought - but maybe a handful of disposal cameras to the "attendees" would also help?

You mean Canons and Nikons I presume!?
John K

CiderDrinker

Link Posted 09/05/2017 - 14:16
Pretty much what they say...

I have done a few events now including weddings, birthday parties, festivals and gigs. I try not to use flash, the K3-II is very good at in low and flash can cause harsh shadows. I have and still use the K3II as my second camera for gigs with the Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 and Pentax 55-300mm HD.

My preferred weapon of choice is the K-1 with the D-FA 24-70mm 2.8, gives a lovely fall off when shooting a low light. Although I now have the D-FA 70-200 2.8* to try

I general always shoot in raw with two cards in mirror mode (the image gets saved to both cards), I would suggest getting a couple of extra memory cards.

I also use a BlackRipid double strap, but I normally only use one-half.

Another tip, if your shooting with two cameras, set the file naming (in camera) so they start with different letters, by default the image file name is something like IMGxxxxxx.dng (or PEF), I have my K3II set to K3IIxxxxxx.dng and the K-1 to K1xxxxxx.dng. Helps to prevent accidentally overwriting files if they hit the same number and you can easily I identify which camera the images came from.
Digital: Pentax K-1 II + Grip, Pentax K3II + Grip, Pentax MX-1.
Lenses: Pentax D-FA 24-70mm 2.8, D-FA 15-30 2.8, D-FA 70-200 2.8*, Pentax 35mm 2.4, 50mm 1.8, 18-135mm WR, 55-300mm HD, Sigma 70-300mm (macro), Tamron 17-50mm F2.8.
Film: Mamiya C330 Medium Format, Pentax Super ME.

screwdriver222

Link Posted 09/05/2017 - 16:08
If using a flash on the camera hotshoe I would try bouncing off the ceiling, also be aware if using in portrait mode the flash can have unattractive shadow to the side of the subject if the subject is close to a wall. Try to get pics of everyone there also keep an eye out on whats happening around you and look for things that would make a nice picture.
Flickr link

smudge

Link Posted 09/05/2017 - 17:26
Just a couple of things to add (which you have probably already thought of anyway). Try to get to the venue early enough to take some shots of the table presentation, flowers, cake etc. before the guests arrive and muck it up. Folk put a lot of work into these things and like to have it recorded. Even if you try to avoid using it, do put your flashgun in the bag together with a simple diffuser (perhaps a Stofen or similar). You may need it for any speeches or presentation of flowers and for the dancing towards the end of the evening. For the dancing try a couple of shots from either a low angle or high. It often gives a better result and avoids the ranks of people filming it on their phones.
Regards, Philip

paulcliff

Link Posted 10/05/2017 - 08:33
Lots of really useful information here and interesting to hear peoples differing opinions on it, I'll have a proper read through later!

I will say I hadn't even considered using the 55-300 due to its fairly small aperture f4-5.8 I think.

Its also interesting to me that there seems to be a divide here over whether or not to use the flash, I guess theres arguments for both, I'm still learning with the flashgun but did get some pretty good results last week at my sons birthday party.

As some have mentioned this is a pretty informal family type event but I personally wanted to treat it as if it was a wedding reception just for my own development.
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/cliffo88/513746

johnriley

Link Posted 10/05/2017 - 09:58
To be honest, I wouldn't dream of using the 55-300mm in a small function room.

For a simple party and lots of candids, then a high ISO and fast prime lenses will catch all the atmosphere. An example with the 43mm f/1.9 Limited:


Flash would totally kill that and remove all those coloured lights.

I'd keep it simple, don't over-think it and have fun.
Best regards, John

davidstorm

Link Posted 10/05/2017 - 14:57
JAK wrote:
That does sound like gross overkill to me David! The less conspicuous he can be the better rather than looking like a tog from the press agency which could easily put the family off if the aim is just to get a few casual/candid shots.

If he was being paid to formally cover a major event like a Buckingham Palace Garden party then yes, your suggestions would be spot on, but an informal family gathering??? Not really.

As you've said in the other thread, 'an MX-1 is great for parties' so even one of those would surely be adequate for this family function if the DSLR wasn't already owned.

Put yourself back 50 years, you'd probably only have a fixed lens camera to use yet the task could be easily accomplished. Keep it simple!

My preferred kit for an event like this would be the K-1 with a 40/43mm standard lens or APS-C equivalent (probably the DA35mm plastic fantastic.) You'd get far better reactions from the family. Also no flash unless absolutely necessary. Having the 17-50 in the bag already would be ideal for just about everything.

Hi John

Paul did say that he was treating this like a wedding reception, hence the detail in my reply. Personally I don't think there's any point in doing a shoot, even if it's just for family members and informal, if you don't take it seriously and do enough groundwork to do a good job. People will expect decent photos, whether it's just family or not, otherwise they wouldn't be asking a decent photographer to cover the event!

Regards
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

davidstorm

Link Posted 10/05/2017 - 14:59
johnriley wrote:
To be honest, I wouldn't dream of using the 55-300mm in a small function room.

For a simple party and lots of candids, then a high ISO and fast prime lenses will catch all the atmosphere. An example with the 43mm f/1.9 Limited:


Flash would totally kill that and remove all those coloured lights.

I'd keep it simple, don't over-think it and have fun.

Hi John

Paul didn't list any lenses over 55mm in his original post, that's probably not long enough to take decent candids. If Paul doesn't have any lenses longer than 55mm barring the 55-300, I don't understand why he wouldn't take it and use it? K-3ii is decent at high ISO's so should be able to cope.

He also mentioned the event would use outside space, which means the 55-300 would most definitely be suitable and would be a good lens to take to this event.

If he had listed the 50-135, this would be ideal, but the 55-300 would be a useful addition.

Regards
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 10/05/2017 - 15:05
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