Shooting Events, a Diverse and Rewarding Business - by Gene X Hwang of Orange Photography
One of San Francisco Bay Area's top event photographers, Gene X Hwang, has agreed to share his story and expertise on event photography. Gene is the graduate of Auburn University and the co-founder of Orange Photography collective. In the 15 years he's been a professional photographer, his work has been published in numerous publication including the New York Times, Wired, Muscle and Fitness and most recently the San Francisco Chronicle. Gene has also been featured in Northern California Meetings & Events.
Shooting Events, a Diverse and Rewarding Business
Shooting events is often seen as a ‘lower’ form of photography since all of us have seen some pretty miserable event photography, but it can be both a lucrative business and quite fun as well. I first got into shooting events because I had a journalism background and enjoyed covering things of all sorts from sporting events to doing reviews for the entertainment section (restaurants and bars) as well as personality profiles, etc. With events you never knew exactly what you might have to cover much like a photojournalist so the diversity was a plus.
When I started out, I was shooting a lot at nightclubs just
because I used to go out dancing a lot. We had started our studio out on
digital when it was first emerging so I could do a lot more
experimentation with digital than film; well, at least it wasn’t as
expensive and you could keep trying new things off a single memory card
(I just found an old 16MB one that came with my first Canon D30, yes
that is MB not GB!).
When shooting events, there are certain things to be aware of as your clients can be all over the board. It’s always important as with any business to manage expectations and never to assume too much about what your client may want from their event photography. Sometimes clients may be thinking something like a step-and-repeat setup that you often see at fashion events and movie premieres (see image on left from Twilight, New Moon), or they could just want candid coverage. You should always ask your client what’s most important to them so that you know what they are looking for and don’t miss a thing.
It’s also smart to take a documentary or photojournalistic
approach to the shoot – you want to be able to tell the story of the
event which might mean getting some wide shots to establish the context,
as well as some details and/or logos and branding that’s relevant to
first time at a well known billionaire’s private party, I was told that
the theme was silver, I had silver pants and was told that I should
wear them. So I wore my shiny tight vinyl silver pants, and felt
slightly awkward since there were people in full tuxes and all, but when
I saw Larry
Harvey there (he’s a co-founder of Burning Man) I felt safe and of
course the compliments from guests helped as well, but that could have
been a disaster.
Keywords: professional photography, strobist, light, creativity, business, commercial photography, photography, photojournalism, entertainment, corporate events, event photography
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