This year I’ve covered several events in Montreal from corporate gatherings and annual conventions to 40th birthday parties, and I’ve witnessed a huge increase in demand for an onsite photo booth. I am a big supporter of this trend as it really adds a lot to an event and takes the photographer from being a part of the background to being an integral part of the event. Guests love the opportunity to ham it up in front of the camera and the resulting photos can be displayed almost immediately if the venue is set up with a screen and projector. This creates a great feedback loop that encourages more people to wander over to wherever the photo booth is set up, and the photos can get wilder and wilder. It is a really fun way to use an event photographer’s skill and equipment, and provides guests with something fun to do at the event. Add in a few different backgrounds and some onsite insta-prints at the end of the night and you have a recipe for a very successful event you and your guests will love.
Photobooths can range from renting out actual old-school photo booths (the kind that you posed in with your girlfriend in high school at a metro in Montreal) which nowadays can be quite expensive, to a camera on tripod with a simple backdrop and one flash unit that can be set up almost anywhere no matter how small your event space. While you can do it yourself (using the self timer function on the camera or a remote control for your camera) it is much easier to ask the professional photographer you’re hiring to include the photo booth option as part of the quote.
As a professional event photographer, I am increasingly incorporating a photo booth into my work with great results. At weddings you can be guaranteed to get a portrait of all your guests for your wedding books and if you are hosting a theme oriented party (see onsite print posts from a James Bond themed event here) you can really add to the guests enjoyment and engagement throughout the event.
The advantages of including a photo booth for your event:
Highly engaging for guests
Images can be seen and shared with all guests instantly
Moderately more expensive than simply asking for event photos – but hugely more entertaining and instant value generated for event organizer and guests
Half day shoot today at Produlith on Montreal’s south shore. The scent of ink in the air, machines shushing everywhere. Portraits of staff and president, as well as shots of the operations for new website launch. Going to be a fun day.
Right about this time of year people start planning their holiday parties. Invariably, as there are only a few available weekends for parties and events in December, there will be many events happening on the same dates. If you’re planning to have an event for your employees, staff, team or even family and want to have some photos taken of the event, now is the time to book.
Even if you’ve already thought of who you’ll be using, why not shop around a little? Given these times of economic austerity, it is still possible to hire a professional event photographer to cover your holiday party at a reasonable rate. I cover events throughout the year and have recently been amazed at some of the outrageous pricing my competitors charge for what should be a reasonable expense to capture the important people and moments at your company party. It’s always a good idea to shop around and ask for quotes, being sure to measure not only the bottom line, but your photographer’s attitude, demeanour and generally how you feel about him or her. Ultimately, your photographer is a guest at your event – albeit one who’s there to do a specific job for you – but still representing you and your company and you should definitely have a good rapport with him or her. You want to be sure to get the images you need and enjoy working with your event photographer.
Whether you are a professional portrait or event photographer, or managing a public relations or communications project, you will at some point require a good group photo. Having worked for more than a decade taking hundreds of group photos of corporate management teams, wedding parties, graduating classes and countless ad hoc groupings of people having a good time at an event, I’ve learned a few tricks on how to make sure the group photos come out well.
Take control: whether it’s a grouping of just two starry eyed newlyeds, or a mass of 75 recent graduates, the moment when you are setting up to take that photo is when you need to step up and take control. Make sure everyone in that photo is listening to your instructions and doing what you tell them to do. If there are other cameras getting in on your set up, that’s fine, but be clear to your subjects that they need to look into your lens at all times until you are done. Most of the time, the people in group photos want to get the photo over with as soon as possible and they will value your leadership and professionalism in helping that happen while still getting the best possible shot.
Use common sense & stay cool: Putting tall people in the back and shorter people up front seems like an obvious suggestion but if the group is large enough to need two rows, it can also be large enough to be difficult to manage and in the heat of the moment a photographer may be tempted to just snap away at any configuration. Resist that temptation and make sure everyone is organized as well as you can according to height so that no one is blocking the view of anyone else. In many groups there is someone or some smaller grouping that is more important – place them centrally.
Keep all eyes on you: make sure you can see everyone’s face in your lens and tell everyone in the shot to make sure they can look straight into your lens. If they are looking at the back of someone’s head, you need to reposition people until everyone has as clear a view of you as needed to make sure they get their smiling faces in the shot.
Take more than one shot: while this is true for nearly all important photos, it is especially true for the group photo. No matter how charming, organized and clear you are in communicating what’s required to get the perfect group photo, inevitably someone will blink, or turn their head or otherwise be the person who ruins the shot. It’s your job to catch it when it happens, take another shot, and then another to be sure that your final deliverable is what everyone is expecting. A great group photo with everyone in focus, looking happy and with their eyes wide open (see images 1 and 2 below).
I’m sure there are other tricks of the trade out there and I’d be happy to hear about them from anyone else working as a Montreal portrait or event photographer. Add your comments or send me an email with your tips on getting the best group photo you can get.
It’s been an eventful year working both a full time job running an art startup, ArtAnywhere, and working as a Montreal photographer. While I don’t know where I found the time, I managed to fit in a total of 73 different photo assignments in events, weddings, portraits and real estate. Here’s a quick run down of the range of photography work I had this past year:
I covered five large weddings ranging in style from the truly luxurious in a gorgeous Mont Tremblant condo, to an elegant affair in Montreal restaurant Aix, at the Hotel Place d’Armes; I worked with a promising new photographer, Celia Lavinskas at a sunny outdoor wedding on St. Helen’s Island, as well as travelled to Ontario to cover weddings in both Guelph and Ottawa, at the National Arts Center.
Industrial photography and portraits for one of my favourite Montreal companies, Enerkem (a company that turns garbage into fuel)
Several beautiful properties for real estate agents including many for Stacy Bouchard-Burns, whose wide-ranging business had me shooting condos, duplexes, and single-family homes throughout Old Montreal, downtown, Point St Charles, Westmount and NDG.
(I even had the good fortune of selling two of my fine art pieces to the CSA Group headquarters in Toronto where my work is now part of their permanent art collection.)
I’m grateful to all my clients and want to thank you for trusting me with your photo work in 2010. I look forward to working with you again this coming year (note to my wedding clients: I love doing baby portraits!). Thank you and I wish you all success in 2011
Sometimes it is neither convenient nor necessary to have your portrait taken in a professional studio. When all you need is a head shot for an internal magazine, or perhaps a new profile picture for your website, and you are too busy to ever get around to visiting a photography studio, just have the photographer come to you.
As a portrait photographer in Montreal I often work throughout the city visiting professionals in their offices on a 20-30 minute break from their hectic days to snap a few portraits of them in their working environment. These photos provide exactly what the client wants: speed, convenience and a professional shot without having to lose time visiting a studio.
Here’s a recent gallery of selections for a client. The total shoot lasted no more than 25 minutes.