Shooting the Ball

I recently had the privilege of being booked to take the (semi)formal event photographs at the RAF Cosford Officer’s Mess Summer Ball.  This was a great evening taking photographs of the guests in front of a classic car.

At most of these events, the photos are taken indoors, with very stable and constant lighting – effectively, get set up and then you don’t have to alter your settings all night.  However – this wasn’t such an easy setup!  The location was outdoors, starting at 7pm through to 10pm.  So I started in quite bright sunshine (setting behind the guests) and ended up in pretty much pitch black night!  So, pretty challenging…  I also had to contend with the wind blowing my lights over, or making them swing around so they weren’t pointing in the right direction -  luckily a swift application of tie-wraps sorted most of the issues!

Choosing their picture.

Choosing their picture.

In order to make it really easy for the guests to choose their pictures, I was shooting tethered into my laptop, with this connected to a flat screen TV.  My original plan for tethering to the laptop was to use an Eye-Fi memory card, that sends the pictures over a Wi-Fi link.  Whilst this worked flawlessly in every test running up the event, it stubbornly refused to send any more than 2 pictures when I’d got set up.  So, I swung plan B into action – which took the form of a 5 metre USB cable!  Whilst this limited my movement slightly, it did give me a robust way of getting the pictures to where I needed them.  More testing is required with the Eye-Fi card before the next event, as when it works, it's a fantastic way to work giving much more freedom of movement.

Despite my difficulties, I adapted and overcame and most importantly I got some great pictures, and some very happy customers!  A good tally of sales on the night, and download and print sales from the website in the week that followed made it a really worthwhile event.

Alan Hall

Owner and Founder of A D Hall Photography, a Lincoln (UK) based company offering wedding photography, portraits, family photoshoots and event photography.