Welcome to Happening Photos' Blog
Here you'll find examples of our recent work as well as short articles about tools and tips related to photography in general and event photography in particular. We hope you find it useful and inspiring. Please feel free to share comments, pose questions, and suggest topics for discussion. Thanks for visiting!
If you're planning a busy event, consulting with your event photography provider a few weeks in advance can make the difference between great shots and snapshots. We often photograph large events where lots of things are going on at the same time, and we've gleaned a few tips from our experience over the years.
First, consult on timing with your photography provider as soon as you have a rough schedule of the event. This way you can discuss how best to allocate coverage time and exactly what kind of shots you need in each situation. An experienced event photographer can help you anticipate where scheduling bottlenecks are likely to occur and suggest ways to avoid them. In addition, you'll have the opportunity to arrange for additional photographers if there is simply too much going on for one photographer to cover well.
Second, allow enough time for each subject. Our rule of thumb is a minimum of 15 minutes in each room for a single subject. This is because it takes time to cover a speaker from several angles, get wide shots, close-up shots, room shots and audience reaction shots, and make enough photos to ensure that the speaker's eyes are open and mouth is closed. It also helps to wait for gestures to add some visual excitement. This can't be done by just walking in and taking a few shots from the back of the room. Plus, if the lighting in a session room is dim or unflattering (e.g. most hotel conference rooms), it may be necessary for the photographer to set up a small additional flash at the side of the room to supplement the flash on the camera. This helps by lighting the room evenly and preventing unflattering dark shadows under people's eyes. It takes a minute or two and makes a huge difference.
Third, consider hiring additional photographers for peak times. If you only need photos of one speaker in each of three simultaneous one-hour sessions, and if the rooms are close to each other, a single photographer may be able to cover it. However, If you've got multiple simultaneous panel discussions and you need photos of each panelist speaking, a photographer will probably need to stay in one room for the entire session. In this case, you may want additional photographers to ensure adequate coverage of each session.
We know that budgets are tight and extra coverage is not always an option. Consulting with your photography provider in advance enables him or her to ensure that you'll get the coverage you need and quality you'll be happy with.
Since 2008 the Direct Marketing Association has hired Happening Photos to document many of their events. This summer I photographed their annual New York Nonprofit conference at the Grand Hyatt New York. More than 600 fundraising and marketing professionals were on hand to exchange ideas and generate creative fundraising solutions. You can view more of our photos from this event in our recent work gallery.
Here's a lawyer's headshot I did recently. I think it's a nice portrait, and the client was happy with it. But, the fun story behind it is about the teeny tiny little room in which it was made. It was one of those meeting rooms with just enough space for a 3' round table, four chairs, a small filing cabinet and a potted plant. Maybe 8'x10'. We're talking small. Especially when you have to cram in all the gear needed to make a well-lit portrait: a 6'x7' backdrop, a large main light on a stand, a background light on a stand, and a hair light on a stand, plus the subject and the photographer.
Here's how I adapted my technique to the space to get the lighting I wanted. First, the main light had diffusion material on the front, so I was able to position it right up close, within 3' of the subject. This helped to minimize the amount of light bouncing all over the room and landing where I didn't want it. Second, I positioned the subject close to a white wall so some of the main light would bounce back and fill in the shadows. Third, as there was no space to position the hair light above him and I couldn't bounce it off the ceiling without also lighting up the backdrop, I tucked it between him and the wall and aimed it at a point on the wall above and behind his head so the light would create a gentle rimlight on his head and shoulder. Finally, I used a relatively wide lens aperture so that I could position him close to the backdrop and still have the backdrop somewhat out of focus.
And voilà. One of the things I like about working on location is that every job presents new challenges, and coming up with the right solutions is oh so satisfying.
Scheherazade Tillet was a student of mine at Rutger University in 1998. In my documentary photography class she began a project using art therapy and photography to help her sister heal from sexual violence. Scheherazade has subsequently nurtured that project into an incredible non-profit organization. A Long Walk Home uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to end violence against girls and women. On April 27, 2012, A Long Walk Home kicked off a fundraiser event at Gloria Steinem's House. I was honored that Scheherazade asked me to photograph the event. You can view more photos in our "recent work" gallery here.
This is the first of our planned quarterly updates. We'd like to tell you about our recent work, our new referral incentive program, and our online service expansion.
Thanks for coming back! This year started out with a bang for us, with several multi-day conferences, a couple of new industry-leading clients, and stepped-up demand from familiar ones. We've maintained a customer loyalty ratio of over 95%, with almost all of last year's clients coming back to us again this year, and a couple more coming back after a recession-induced hiatus. This is great news because it indicates that 1) our clients are happy with our work, and 2) economic conditions have improved.
Now you can get us for free! We're implementing a new referral incentive program to reward you for helping us make new friends. When you refer a new client to us, we will give them a 10% discount on the first job, and we will credit your account with the same amount, to be applied to future work we do for you. For example, if a new client you've introduced hires us for $5,000 of conference coverage, we'll give them a $500 discount and give you $500 of free work the next time you need us. We love our work, and if you can help us do more of it, we'd like to return the favor.
Client galleries are now searchable! Last year we massively upgraded our website in order to offer you a whole suite of new online services, including searchable photo galleries of unlimited size, online print ordering, and customized galleries for event guests. This has worked really well for some of our nonprofit clients' fundraisers, as it allows guests to view photos and order souvenir prints online and frees staff from the burden of fielding requests. Another added value for our clients is the ability to locate specific photos by typing the name of an event, session, location, or individual in the search field.
Our "recent work" gallery beckons! As part of our ongoing effort to make our website more informative and useful, we've added a "recent work" gallery which features our favorite photos from each of several recent projects. We hope you'll drop in to see what we're up to, comment on specific galleries or photos, and leave feedback in our guestbook.
Steve had the opportunity to photograph the NYSBA's 134th Presidential Reception. President Seymour James enjoyed the company of friends, colleagues and close family members at the Appellate Division, Second Dept., in Brooklyn Heights. Steve has enjoyed covering events for the NYSBA for twenty years. You can view more photos in our "recent work" gallery here.
The 4A's Transformation LA conference at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles brought together leaders from the advertising and media industries for three days of sessions on talent recruitment and retention, regulatory updates, celebration of creativity, social media, and mobility. You can view more photos in our "recent work" gallery here.
This was our fourth year in a row photographing The Hunger Project's Africa Prize Celebration in New York City, this time at Pier 60. Nearly 600 Hunger Project leaders, investors and friends from more than 20 countries gathered for the event, where the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger was awarded to Dr. Florence Chenoweth, Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture. Guests were greeted and entertained by the Harambee Dance Company, a group of African dancers and drummers. The Hunger Project's events are always fun and uplifting, and this one perfectly reflected the spirit of the organization. You can view more photos in our "recent work" gallery here.
In recognition of National Family Caregivers Awareness Month, Bridge Street Development Corporation hosted its first Family Caregivers Awareness Day, a daylong event meant to thank, support, educate and empower the numerous, unsung family caregivers of Central Brooklyn. You can view more photos in our "recent work" gallery here.
The Center for Family Representation held their annual Celebrating Families Gala at Capitale in New York City. CFR presented its Visionary Award to Linda I. Gibbs, Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services. Sidley Austin LLP won the Legal Champion Award, and Nicole Franz took home the Spirit Award. A silent auction helped raise funds to support CFR's programs aimed at keeping families together and kids out of foster care. You can view more photos in our "recent work" gallery here.