Monday, 30 April 2012

Pixoto and TWIP

A couple of shout-outs for an amazing website and podcast that I'm a big fan of: - an awesome site that lets you rate photos against each other, you also upload your own pics to battle it out in the ImageDuel against other users' pics. And there are prizes for winners in each category! The clever points system they have make it addictive to keep playing and uploading your own. Just by participating in the voting, it helps you gain a sense of the 'x-factor' you look for in a photo and I've found I don't necessarily vote for the technically perfect image...

TWIP (This Week In Photo) Podcast - This has been around for a while but I'm a newcomer to it. Great podcast hosted by Frederick van Johnson about all things photography related. It's light-hearted, easy to listen to and full of interesting content - I come away from every podcast with a bunch of new websites, apps and gadgets that I have to check out.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Event Photography Workflow Part 1 - Planning

Right then, I've done a bit of event photography now, definitely not anywhere near enough to consider myself an expert but enough so that I can probably give some advice on how to go about it. So as I have a video and photo-shoot coming up I thought I'd share my event photography workflow in separate parts as I go about planning, conducting and completing the event shoot. This isn't a full guide or anything, just some tips from my own experience!

And so, welcome to PART 1 - the extremely interesting Planning section of event photography. You'll either love this or hate it. I actually love this bit because you can start with some crazy ideas and bounce them around with your client, colleagues, family, whoever.

So what is this event then? A speed record attempt on the the FIS speed ski track
And who is your client? Jamie Barrow, Team Great Britain Snowboarder (who I have previously worked with)
Where is this race: Verbier, in the Swiss Alps

1. Build rapport with client - Luckily Jamie and I are great friends so building rapport here wasn't needed but if you are less familiar with the client then the planning stage of a photo-shoot is your chance to show off your interpersonal skills and really build that relationship. Meet up if possible, make it informal and show your passion for what you are doing - you won't need to sell yourself if you have already been hired but you will need to show them they've got the right person for the job. Why do this? The event will be far more enjoyable for all involved if you get on well and you're more likely to be hired by them again in the future.

2. Structure - Speak to your client and meticulously go through what needs to be covered, the aim of what you're doing and what will be done afterwards. In this case, Jamie was in Geneva so we had a long Skype conversation and I typed down a bullet point list of everything he wanted from the shoot. We exchanged ideas and basically just got really excited about the whole thing. Why do this? You'll regret it later on if you don't have a structured plan of action to stick to.

3. Detail - Don't just go through what you'd like to be done, be realistic and go into detail on each point. Yes, a time-lapse at dawn over the mountains would be ace but what day will we do this, where is a good place to do it and how do we get there? List down all the equipment you need to take and refer to this when you're packing, don't compromise on things you think you can do without, only leave it at home if you definitely don't need it. Why do this? It will help you iron out what can and can't be achieved and will make the event run smoother.

4. Admin - photogs are renown for being terrible at the business end of their work but we all need to be paid. Agree on exactly what you getting out of it, be it the hourly/daily rate, equipment hire, post editing costs, expenses and most importantly  - get it all confirmed IN WRITING, be it through an email or a signed contract. When it comes to chasing up that money, this will be the document you need!

That about sums up my little tips for planning your event photography shoot, next I'll chat about how it all went out in Verbier when I'm back!

Amsterdam shoot and RedBull hired me to be their event photographer for a trip to Amsterdam last month with Bath University, it was a huge event with about 200 students and I had my work cut out getting the necessary shots over a couple of days!

Fresherdam Event - The Flaming Finger by Jonathon Williams (JonathonWilliams) on

Unfortunately one of my SD cards was playing up and it caused me to lose my only decent shot of the whole group! This emphasises the point - have BACK-UP cards and double check the cameras FIRMWARE is up to date (this was what was causing the problem).

Joe Dagnall, a rep for Redbull at Bath University, included my picture in a report of the event:

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Photo used by Sky Sports - Living For Sport

In a recent article, Oli from Sky Sports interviewed Jamie Barrow about his Olympic hopes and his upcoming FIS speed record attempt that I'll be covering next week:

And they used one of my photos in the article too!

Off-Piste in Val Thorens by Jonathon Williams (JonathonWilliams) on

Jamie will be in Verbier, Switzerland, to try and break the UK speed record of 130 kmph on a snowboard. He'll get three runs on the day and I'll be there to video and photograph every second. I'll follow up this post with a blow by blow account of how I'll be planning, shooting and editing the event. We have some support from the mighty Redbull, Sky Sports and Keslar Snowboards so I need to get my game face on!

Winter Event Shoot - Val Thorens, French Alps

My old university club Bath Snowsports invited me to join their annual ski trip to the Alps as their photographer. Conditions were amazing, took a ton of footage and had and amazing time!

Here's a quick video I put together of the event:

This was my first serious video event and I learnt to:

  • CHARGE everything, every night - obvious but crucial
  • Bring plug extensions and correct foreign adaptors - because of all the charging
  • Bring a laptop and hard drives to BACK-UP everything
  • In cold conditions like this have at least three sets of spare BATTERIES
  • Most importantly - PLAN the shoot before hand and know what shots you need to get!

  • Nikon D7000
  • GoPro Hero with waterproof casing
  • Opteka XL Grip
  • Nikon Battery Grip
  • Sandisk Extreme Class 10 SDHC cards
  • Dakine Mission Photo Backpack

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