Been asked to shoot a b-day party--what to take? tips? advice?
A mom that I just did a PB session with emailed me again and asked if I could photograph her daughter's first birtday party. I thought it would've been in her home (nice bright walls , big windows) so i was excited for all the natural light i'd have to work with. She said it's at a hall in town and it's from 1-5pm. Now i'm freaked out. I don't know what the hall holds in terms of lighting, etc.(their website has no pics). My gear: 50D, speedlight, Tameron 28-75mm, kit lens 17-85mm, 50mm. I also have a tripod.
I asked her to give me a list of shots she MUST HAVE, i.e. certain family members, friends, details etc. But I don't want to botch this because of poor lighting. I can bump my ISO way up if I need to and I do plan on wearing a white shirt to help reflect some
So what MUST I take with me. Will shooting in manual freak me right out or should I play it safe and stay in Tv mode (a wedding photog. friend of mine suggested I shoot in Tv mode and keep my SS at 1/200 to avoid motion blur). should i take the tripod with me?
Ahhh, I have no advice, sorry. I would be scared if I was asked b/c I don't have the equipment to shoot indoors. I SUCK at shooting manual indoors.
I think you did a great job asking her what exactly she wants. That was a good idea. I wish you the best of luck! I am sure you will rock it! Apparently, you rocked the first shoot with them or she wouldn't have asked you again!
I love shooting b-day parties. I am shooting a kid's cookng party tonight. If it was lucrative at all, I would just be a kid's birthday party photog. Unfortunately there aren't that many people who will pay for a party photog. It is fun to come up with actions that fit the mood of the party and the processing is quick. No cloning or trying to make everyone look perfect.
Here is my process for dealing with a party. And this is very new. I haven't done a lot of this so I don't want to give that impression. Feel free to tell me what I should change about it.
I talk with the family to get a sense for how they see the party. I ask for three adjectives to describe their idea of how the party will be. I also ask for priority pictures like you did. I use their ideas to try an think about how I am going to process and frame the pics.
As far as lighting I do mostly rely on the high ISO capabilities of my camera (and noiseware!) but I have bounced my speedlight. Just be careful what you are bouncing off of. I once took pics in a bright red and blue room. Every time I bounced light it turned the whole image a different color! When I am shooting I really try to get the emotion of the day. People laughing, smiling, whispering to each other. Don't just get the pleasant poised pics. The details really help set that emotion too. Get shots of the decorations, cake, presents, hands opening presents, etc.
When I process the pics, I also always put a frame around them. It can just be a plain white border but most people just want these pics for an album, not to hang on their wall. So I want them to look finished by themselves.
I would always take everything with you just in case. But the 28-75 should be fine. Until last week the only decent lens I had was a 24-70. I used it for everything. So I guarantee that the 28-75 would be fine. You may want to use the longer lens for some detail shots though or if the hall happens to be really big so I would take it along.
I also wanted to say that the standard of sharpness and clarity is a little different when working at low light events rather than planned portraits so remember that too. I would shoot in manual and if the light is low, shoot wide open the whole time. Use the DOF to make your shots creative. If there is a large group of people, they all don't need to be in focus. Focus on the person who is animatedly telling a story or laughing and don't worry about the rest. Plus people don't want to blow up their party pics to a 16x20. Mostly they are going to want small prints or a storyboard which contains all small prints.