Group shots are one area of photography I am asked to do several times a year. These can range from forty people to possibly one hundred and twenty in a single shot. I have a technical process to produce group shots that make them stand out from the rest, where no one has blinked, all hopefully smiling and the surrounding area telling the story. How I hear you say!
A few years back when shooting on film you would take various images and then choose the best one to perhaps print from. This was the only way it could be done and was very hit or miss. It is virtually impossible in a large group not to have someone blinking, looking in the wrong direction, talking to each other and not paying attention and yes hiding! Even when they are asked to “Look this way”.
With the aid of digital photography virtually anything is possible. It is a big cheat but can get you out, not of “trouble” but a real life situation that is not avoidable in these situations. This technique I use brings back what the eye sees that a camera has difficulty with.
What I stride to do is obtain the best image in the first place, but have the ability to correct slight inperfections at a later stage to suite!
Usually when I do these it is in a conference type situation so a large group would need to be positioned in front of and on the stage set. This is the only space you have to do this right?
Before the people arrive I would take a shot of the set to grab the image that is on screen. Why, because when using electronic flash this will be bleached out and not captured in the actually group shot. This gives you the logo or name of conference to add later. Then when the group arrive they are positioned best one can and in the time frame you have. Usually this is done within five minutes because people will start to become board and fidgety and you will loose there concentration and co-operation.
Capture main Group Images:
Next is to shoot say five to six frames of the group all in the same place. This then gives you in post pro the chance to choose the master image and from that you can use any of the other images to replace expressions or blinking eyes that may be apparent in the master you want to use.
Post Pro Retouch:
Here you have to use image processing/retouching programs and I’ll warn you it is not for the faint hearted. The process to set logos behind people on screens and doing the changes with flawless accuracy does take a very competent retoucher. And I’ll admit sometimes can catch me out, so I call upon expert help from one of my team.
So you achieve a conference set with logos on, all people looking and smiling in the right direction, without blinking eyes. Usually I obtain a 99.9% hit rate using this method and am often re booked by clients due to the quality of my work.
It’s that time of year where companies are edging closer to the end of the year and take time to reflect on the business and what has happened over the last twelve months.
Many use this time just a few weeks before the Christmas break to hold conferences and meetings to bring together a sales force to discuss and talk through the progress of the company or the pitfalls that have become clear during the year. It is also a good time to motivate a team in saying when we come back in the New Year we are to put in place strategies to drive their particular company forward within the market sectors and to offer positive thoughts.
When a meeting like this has been a day with intense brain teasing conversation, activity and business stressing thoughts, how good is it to also incorporate a more social, relaxed atmosphere by thanking your teams for their efforts with an Awards presentation or introduce some fun element to the close of the day.
I was contacted due to being a corporate events photographer to cover such an event recently where I was asked to photograph the days stage presentations by directors of the company. This moved onto the evenings function of awards and entertainment for all the delegates attending. Lets Party!
Alternative Images Video Production was asked in June to visit the offices of ZS in Ludgate Hill near St Paul’s Cathedral to discuss logistics for an event that was to take place later that month. All was discussed and preparation for the day commenced.
The meeting was going to be held as a theatre style event where the invited speakers would form a panel at one end of the room and address all who attended. This then would be an opportunity for the audience who were obviously involved in the subject of the meeting to later have a Q and A session with the panel. There were about sixty in the audience that were invited and they had plenty to talk and ask questions about on the day.
ZS is a sales and marketing agency with connections in America and has various office locations around the world. This shoot was estimated to last for about one and a half hours so it was decided to be done using a three camera set up. All three would be set to shoot different angles of the main panel to give variety to the meeting but also to have one that was able to swing an capture the audience when a person wanted to make a statement or ask the panel a question.
Alternative organised all the equipment for the event shoot. The decision was made to have a sound system so everyone could hear on the day but also to provide the cameras with an audio feed from all speakers who wore radio mics so there was no ambient noise from the people who attended recorded to camera. Or very little.
The edit from all the footage shot was a long task of about ten hours to mix the best from the three cameras and ended with a timeline of roughly 100 gigabit of information after edit. After a few edit changes the company had the video for their clients for reference of the days meeting.
Hello everyone its been a while since my last report of what I have been doing as a corporate photographer for Alternative Images.
It seems that I had so much to do with other projects recently that to find the time to sit and write a catch up piece for the blog had to take a back seat for a while.
So I’m back and have a few interesting items to share with you. Hope that you find enjoyable.
Back in May I was asked to do a small project for Simon from Delta Ventilation, who owns a company that deals with new builds where fire and smoke is an issue.
The company installs and maintains a smoke extraction system that is designed to remove smoke from a building when is on fire so any people who are escaping from a scene are helped so the smoke does not indanger their lives. Many lives are lost more from the smoke inhelation than the flames or heat itself.
Here we set up a controlled situation and notified the near by emergency services that we were going to re intact a fire event. The corridors of the eighth floor were flooded with artificial smoke, this looked pretty realistic to me, and we set up camera equipment on the roof top of the eleven story building know as Victoria Halls in Kings Cross that has been built for accommodation for students for the nearby university and colleges, though the rent is designed for the more wealthy student while studying in London.
I was shooting video using two Nikon D810 DSLR cameras to make a sequence piece that was going to be used at an exhibition for Delta at the Excel centre later in June. The large powerful fans of the system started up and the auto process was underway. Within no time at all the extraction funnels were blowing the large volume of smoke away from the corridor of the eighth floor into the skies above and we had our shots we needed for the production.
Later in June I visited the Excel and photographed the exhibition stand for Delta that had the video we made running on a visual display.