Specialist Technique & Process 3 -External Opportunity – Photographing a school concert

26th November 2015

My cousin contacted me and asked me to come and photograph her school concert that she was directing and had put together as an assessment with her class. It wasn’t going to be a paid job from the start, however she said she planned on selling prints of the images to the children involved and their parents, and that the school would get a cut of the money and I would get a cut. The school could also use them as promotional images.
I photographed for the whole concert. The concert consisted of different music students performing cover songs and songs they had written themselves. There were all different types and ages of singers, spanning over a few year groups.
The lighting at the concert was neon lights that kept changing direction all the time, it reminded me of a rock-concert type set up. These lights were quite tricky to capture/work with as they kept moving, but were also really good for creating atmosphere and really dramatic/atmospheric shots. Once I got the hang of the directions they were changing to, I managed to work with them and get some shots I was really happy with. I had to bump up my ISO a lot because it was so dark, so a lot of the images are grainy, however I started using my 70-200mm f2.8 lens which tidied the shots up a lot more and I was then able to get some nice depth to my images, and not as much grain.
My editing and selecting process took me weeks and weeks which is not a good thing. I shot soooo many images on the night (around 1000!) because I was constantly snapping. This was good in the way of – I had plenty of images to choose from. However I really did overwhelm myself because I had to get them edited really quickly but it ended up taking me much longer. (Something I need to improve on! – making decisions, being fast and efficient in my work, for the sake of my reputation… and only giving the client the absolute diamond shots.)
This job also taught me – be intentional when you shoot. What are you trying to capture? What do you need to capture? What’s the aim here?
In future I would also want to liaise more with the teacher/official person who wanted the images and to get more of a clear idea as to what is wanted. There was also no definite number of images agreed upon, or a definite deadline, which made the lines blurred between me and the client. This is not a good look for my reputation as a photographer.
In the end I supplied them with a lot of images for them to choose between. This sets me apart as a photographer because I am generous, but at the same time sometimes less is more and less images creates more of a direct account of the event, rather than having to troll through hundreds of images.

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