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Monday, December 20, 2010

Tony's Birthday Party

Last Saturday I was at Anthony Ferrari's Birthday Party.  That's right.  I do take pictures other than of models, people getting drunk, or nightclubs.  Sometimes.

See the full set at my flickr collection.

This was a very friendly crowd.  I do a lot of party photography, but the dynamic changes in a house party.  Keep this in mind as a party photographer.  In a party, it's a bunch of people getting together to have a good time.  After you (the photographer) gets there, they go from just a bunch of people hanging out... to celebrities.  Really, if you've been at a party with a photographer, you know what I mean.  Attitudes change, and people seem to have more fun.

Most people enjoy having their picture taken.  Here, I ask people if they want their picture taken.  In a club, I don't need to go around asking, people will come up to me and ask for me to take pictures.  If they have a drink in their hand, I ask if they want it in the frame.  I like to remind people if they actually want to be seen with alcohol or not.  It does make a difference to people, and I do this at a night club too.  Sometimes.

Anyways, at a party, go around and chat with some people.  Getting to know them a little bit will let you take better photos of them: they feel more comfortable around you and relax when you snap that shutter button.

For this project, I brought out a Canon 7D, Sigma 30mm 1.4, Samyang 8mm 3.5 Fisheye, Battery grip, and 580EXII Flash.  I packed a belt pouch for carrying the extra lens.  I wrap the "shoulder strap" around my waist (use the belt loop) and it hang off my left thigh like a holster.  I can safely swap lenses this way.  My right hand is permanently attached up the camera via hand strap.

In the above picture, I took three shots.  I can't show you the other two: I deleted them from my camera.  Haha.  Anyways, don't be afraid to ask people to get closer together for the photo, they're just looking for an excuse to snuggle up together.  Seriously.  I asked them to get closer together after the first and again after the second.  Each time they got closer, their smiles got bigger, and the final picture is actually a moment of fun.  You too can generate this moment of fun by asking people to get closer.

Anyways, nerd tech stuff, the above photo was taken with a flash.  In the indoor setting, flash can be used to create different effects.  In this case, I used it because I had to get a deeper depth of field, so I put the aperture at f/4, 1/80s, iso-800.

Capture the party atmosphere.  This was taken with the Samyang 8mm.  The fisheye effect is popular for parties, and the amazing wide angle allows you to capture the the environment very nicely.  I pretty much put the camera over my head, tilted it down and pressed the shutter.  Real easy.  Because the focal length is so short, the depth of field is very deep, and focusing is not an issue.  This photo was taken at f/3.5, 1/13s, ISO-3200.

I umm... took this one for fun.  I claim it is an artistic environment picture or something.  It's actually a toy elephant that a little boy brought to the party.  If you have to know... f/1.4, 1/50s, ISO-1600.

This is the elephant boy, Lucas.  The lady in the picture (Mila) asked me to take some photos of the boy.  No problem.  The party was for Tony, who will also get a nice suede photobook of the event to remember forever.  But I can also take some pictures of little Luke as a side project.  It's actually kinda tough to take pictures of little kids, they move around a lot (problem in low light, because you're shooting slow), and doesn't look at the camera.  I have a pretty brute force solution to this: continuous shooting.  That's right, with the powers of Canon 7D and 8 frames per second, I can just hold down the big button and hope I get a good shot.


Or I just follow him with a camera, distract him by making weird sounds, and hope he stops moving for a second.  That one also works.  This was a single snap shot: f/2.8, 1/50s, ISO-3200.  Find photos of Lucas in my Flickr Collection.

... Here's another.  One day I will take photos of real Elephants.

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