I was recently asked to photograph the Ruby Rouge Gorey, Downton Abbey themed, Charity Fashion Show at Marlfield House Hotel.
The idea was to get a series of shots that conveyed the Downton Abbey theme, highlighted the venue, show the main organisers, photograph the outfits and capture the atmosphere. As you can see there are a lot of balls to juggle and seemingly conflicting requirements.
The first thing I realised was that I can’t be in multiple locations at the one time, so I enlisted the help of two fellow photographers, William and Heather to help out.
The second thing we realised was that if this was to go smoothly we would have to do our preparations properly. So to that end, even though the Fashion show was not starting till 7:00pm, we arranged to be on site at 3:30pm to scope out the venue and meet with the organisers.
We were able to;
– Get a full walk through the venue and see the exact route of the models would take.
– Get the itinerary for the event, even though we were told that this could change.
– Meet the staff from the Organisers, Hotel, Sound, Hair, Make Up and some of the models, so that we could address them by name should we need their help at any stage.
– Get a Required Shot List.
– Get agreement that several of the models and actors would be made available to us at a specific time and location for key shots.
– Test fixed lighting and mobile lighting in several locations so that we had a fair idea where we were going to get the different types of shots and that we had backup locations if required.
– Test cameras and lighting so that we would not have to work out settings on the fly later.
While all this may seem like an awful lot of effort, believe me, it makes the difference between being relatively calm and able to adapt to the changing situation (because the goal posts will be moved on you several times) and running around like a headless chicken trying to figure out what will happen next and who you need to talk to to get something done.
As a famous comedian once said “The best Ad-lib is the rehearsed Ad-lib.” and this particularly applies to Event photography.
Oh, one other thing, make sure you eat properly and drink lots of fluids (Non-Alcoholic). I made the mistake of not having eaten anything since 8:00am and as a result, by 11:30pm found I was fading fast and struggling to maintain concentration.