Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Assignment : Event Photography & Bobby Bowden

I can't believe it's taken this long to post these images. If I hadn't gone back to look over my 2010 catalog, I would've completely forgotten about this event.

I was asked to photograph a small business forum. Pretty simple. Take pictures of the event, people interacting, networking and the guest speakers. I didn't realized when I agreed to do this event that Bobby Bowden would be one of the guest speakers. I'll go through the various setups after the jump.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I originally thought I would keep it simple and only use 1 or 2 lenses. Luckily I brought my whole gear bag. I was caught a little off guard when I was asked to shoot some head shots before the start of the event. I had brought lights & stands, but the area was going to fill up fast and I wouldn't have time to setup, breakdown and load everything back in the car.

I found a clear white wall as a background.

I had this very large window behind me and it worked perfectly as my light source.

I opted to use my 50 mm ƒ/1.8 (nifty fifty). I shot at ISO 400, 1/125 @ ƒ/4.0. I knew I would get some sharp images with this lens at those settings. These are some samples of those head shots.

I had 10 subjects to shoot. Once I had my settings dialed in, I was able to do all the head shots in about 5 minutes. Nothing to setup or break down. I finished and quickly went to the room for the Bobby Bowden meet & greet.

This area was only for members of the press, VIPs & major sponsors of the event. When Bobby walked in, I very much felt like a member of the paparazzi. The images are nothing to write home about. They are what they are. However I was expected to capture images of VIPs and such interacting with Coach Bowden.

They brought Coach Boweden's book to have autographed. I considered picking one up and getting it signed as well. I always feel a bit weird doing this when I'm actually on a job assignment. I feel it may be a bit unprofessional. It may not be, it's just how I feel.
I did get a chance to introduce myself and shake hands with Coach Bowden as he left the room. Although I didn't get his autograph, I do have the memory of meeting a legend.

One of the request for this assignment was to capture images of people networking and to make sure that the images looked like there were a lot of people, which they were. I guess they were a bit concerned that it might be a low turnout. They wanted to use these images to help promote their next networking event and use images that show how successful this event looked.

As you can see this was a catered lunch, followed by guest speakers. Two of the speakers were economists discussing the current financial situation and future outlook.

Nothing exciting about photographing 2 economists, but I varied the angles that I shot from and switched out lenses frequently to get a variety of shots.

There was a great video produced to introduce Bobby Bowden, as if he needed any introduction, the guy is a legend. I wanted some really close up images of Coach Bowden, that would capture his facial expressions as he gave an awesome motivational speech. I shot these all with a 70-200 ƒ/2.8.

I really enjoyed listening to Coach Bowden speak and could listen to him tell stories for days. He's an incredible motivational speaker and I can completely understand how he led a successful football program at Florida State University. I'm not a big college football fan, but after hearing Coach Bowden speak, I'm a Bobby Bowden fan and have a great deal of respect for him.

It's unfortunate that the stage had lighting with gels. I tried to shoot around them when the other speakers walked the stage. Since Coach Bowden spoke at the podium, there was a red gelled light to the right that makes his skin look red on that side of his face. Shooting from the other side was better. I picked out one image and did a black & white conversion and really like the way it came out.

It was an incredible experience not only hearing Coach Bowden speak, but actually meeting the man. It's amazing the kind of doors that will open and access you can get with a camera in your hands. I'm truly grateful.

If you're looking for a portrait photographer in the Atlanta area, visit my portfolio.

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