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Portrait-slash-Event Photography

June 22, 2009

I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly accomplished portrait photographer. It’s not a style I enjoy (at least not nearly as much as certain other genres of photography) and I know of others who are far better at it. That said, I frequently get comments from people about my technique when photographing people at events such as business conferences, birthday parties and the like.

Those may seem like vastly different kinds of events but, from a photographic perspective, they are very similar. You have groups of people mingling or engaged in activities, you frequently have busy and unattractive backgrounds (over which you have no control) and you have to deal with inconsistent light.

My style is mostly to stay unobtrusive on the periphery, but to be pretty open about what I’m doing. I am not sneaky nor do I especailly try to “steal” a picture of someone who doesn’t want their picture taken. If someone were to object to having their picture taken, I will generally discuss it with them to find out why. Most often it’s because people think that they don’t photograph well or are simply unhappy with their appearance. Most often I will offer to take a photo and let them see it. If they were to ask that it be deleted I would honor that. (I can’t remember the last time someone insisted that I delete their photo.) Most of the time people start out self-conscious but get over it, and in fact forget all about me within a few minutes.

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