Shooting Events With Some Creativity!

by William Lulow

As I might have mentioned in a prior blog article, I have been getting more than my share of events to shoot lately. Many people don’t like shooting them because they think that there is really no room for creativity when all you are capturing are shots of people grinning for the camera. But, if you know your studio lighting, you can often come up with interesting and creative ways to cover events.

Most events like weddings, take place in a hotel ballroom or other convention-type facility. So, I like to go in, see what the set up is as far as a dais or lecturn goes and then set my lights up so that I have a background light as well as an accent light to go along with the light on my camera. The event that I covered during the last two days was a digital marketing and sales meeting organized by Salesgasm, which conducts these seminars worldwide. Salesgasm

When you are shooting an event, you never know where people are going to stand especially when it’s a cocktail party or a “meet & greet” gathering. Therefore, I like to cover all bases. I can turn on or off the light on my camera as well as the other lights I have set up around the room to get a variety of interesting lightings. Here is one of a dais, where I’ve just used the background light:

Here, I have framed the speaker with a cameraman who happened to be recording the entire event, by just using my background light. (The accent light on the right, which fired simultaneously, lit the front of some people in the audience and had some flare, but the flare itself didn’t spoil the image, and could be cropped out if necessary).

As an aside, I have noticed recently, that lens flare with newer glass made for digital cameras, has been kept to a minimum because these lenses are made with an anti-flare coating that makes the reproduction of lens flare, when it is within the frame, much less obvious. I have even used it as a creative element which gives a burst of light.

Here’s another example of a creative use of the background light:

For this shot, I added the light on my camera (bounced off the ceiling) as well, to give the foreground some more detail, while keeping the focus on the speakers at the dais, in the background.

Straight shots of speakers, I normally shoot with the on-camera flash as well as the background lights, just to lighten the scene generally:

Even then, I can still create some interesting lighting by bouncing the on-camera light off the ceiling and letting the accent light (which is aimed directly at the subject(s), be a bit brighter. (Remember: if you want the accent light to register white in the image, it needs to be about 1 f/stop brighter than your main light).

Here you can see the effects of the accent light coming from the left with the overall brightness of the scene from the main light on the camera.

So, the take-away from this article should really be that seemingly boring and straightforward types of events can be made much more interesting visually, by the addition of several other lights and, of course, the knowledge of how to use them properly.