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Category : Event Photography

Sompalli Wedding ring finger

Wedding Day Photography? Maybe Not, but Everything Else…

Sompalli Wedding, Hands and Heart
I don’t do much wedding day photography these days, which is a shame, I always found it suited me well.

Thinking on my feet, dealing with the stress (the good kind), that makes you creative, was perfect for me.

You can even find a long neglected website which, surprisingly, still works, not sure who is paying for it… I long ago switched to writing blog posts instead.

The trouble is the pay in Barcelona can be a joke. I am sure if you are ‘known’ and get to do the more exclusive events it pays off.

Jobs in other countries that paid well spoilt me I guess… I kind of stopped looking for the work here, after one too many inquiries asking if I could do it for €300. Seriously! €300!

I would, in response to such inquiries (and perhaps with a hint of sarcasm) suggest they find a student, or even a friend instead (maybe that uncle with a big camera?) Because we know it’s all about the camera right?

So no weddings, but I have been getting quite a lot of requests from couple flying into Barcelona wanting photographs connected to their weddings. Maybe a couple of hours and an agreed limit of images with full post-production.

These are jobs thats usually mean getting as many locations as possible into the allotted time, but if the client is paying for the taxis then great, I am usually rushing around on Bicing for most of my jobs, thus a taxi is a little luxury.

So I am writing a post about some recent jobs, one a couple who were in from NYC (Avni & Karan), he wanted to surprise her with a marriage proposal. Another couple was from India (Laxmi & Anirudh) who had a stop over during their honeymoon tour of Europe.

For Avni & Karan we stayed in one place and mostly the roof bar, I had communicated with Karan quite a lot about the timing and signals he was to give so I was prepared for the moment he popped the question. These things rarely go to plan, the fact that it did this time was almost certainly down to Avni suspecting something was afoot and dutifully playing along.

The second and more recent job was with the honeymoon couple and we did the grand tour of Barcelona ending up on Montjuic, it was a shame that their time constrains did not allow us to go there later as its best around sunset; the haze of pollution is great for atmospheric light.

So, it’s not exactly wedding day photography, but it’s close.

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run on goal

The Europa Cup Tournament; Kids in Camp Nou

run on goal

One of the more hectic events I have had to cover.

Even with an assistant/second shooter this was a day of nonstop action on a day when the temperature was probably closer to 40ºC. There were maybe 50 teams of kids from about 7 years up to 15, participating in The Europa Cup tournament. The pitch at Camp Nou was divided into 4 so that meant, at any one time, 8 teams were playing for 20 mins, the conditions were kind of punishing and boy do the parents take it seriously!

The organisers had a challenge on their hands arriving here and having to deal with quite a lot of bureaucracy, as did we; half way through the event the officials for the stadium decided that we photographers could not walk on the grass, because obviously we were tearing up the turf in our soft-soled shoes; when you are confronted with such random logic you know no amount of reason will prevail, so best to just get on with it.

All in all we were shooting for about 8 hours under a really intense sun and we had to scavenge water where ever we could, it’s fair to say the cab ride home was the nicest one I have taken in quite a while and the glass of wine I had when I got home were pure medicine.

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Barcelona Hair Academy, Women's Session, general shot

Back to School, Another day at BHA

Barcelona Hair Academy, Women's Session, many handsI got invited back to Barcelona hair Academy , which is I guess is confirmation I must have done an ok job the first time.

This one was a workshop for women, maybe a little quieter than the first time. I more or less knew how to set up the artificial lighting and got on with it. I did however want to try and get more examples of finished work, as they tended to be a lot more dramatic than what occurred with the male grooming event. I think in the future, if there are any more such events, it would be a good idea to do more serious portraits, as there is no point in just repeating oneself and I am sure the client and even the models would like decent shots of the results, as would I; I want to get more beauty/lifestyle images onto my new site.

I probably said before that it is a great place to work in, lots of space and light and the design is good without getting pretentious, the only thing to be aware of as a photographer are mirrors, you’ll find yourself popping up in the most unexpected places, there is at least one of me reaching up and exposing way too much midriff.

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Harvard Business School, Casablanca, plaza

Harvard Business School, Casablanca

Harvard Business School, Casablanca, girl interviewBack in January I flew to Casablanca to take photos for Harvard Business School.

Basically they had several groups of students there who were working on business proposals and as part of the assignment they had to essentially interview people around the city for market research.

So an interesting challenge, with added language and cultural hurdles to overcome. The groups were of mixed gender, so theoretically it was easier for females to approach women, but even so, from my vantage point (more on that later), I noticed that a group of clean-cut foreigners, approaching local women, did seem to bring out proprietorial traits in the men.

My job was to try and capture the interactions in as natural a way as possible, ideally the subjects would not know I was taking photos or at least be relaxed about it. My problem is that I am about 1.89m tall and blonde, so I kind of stuck out, even without waving a camera around. But you can become good at vanishing; it’s amazing how almost anyone can blend into the environment with a little practise, there are some tricks you can use of course, but in essence it’s about body language.

Luckily the support team was very helpful and I spent most of the day with Christine Ferro and a minder/translator and several times I made use of them to cover my shooting.

As with most jobs, after a couple of hours you learn the limits of what you can do and relax, so towards the end  when dealing with younger people I was able to shoot freely and closer in.

It was a satisfying job, I liked the work in the Medina, where space was cramped and you had to be on your toes, but all the angles and dramatic lighting threw up lots of interesting compositions.

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Barcelona Hair Academy workshop

Barcelona Hair Academy

Barcelona Hair Academy workshopI have been getting my hair cut for a couple of years now by Emma,  she has now set up with Cecilia a new venture, the Barcelona Hair Academy.

Cecilia asked me to do some publicity shots at the new location, a very cool space in Gracia, an old industrial building now housing various start ups and the like.

The session was a male grooming workshop, beards were obligatory. The kind of events are fun to do as they have a certain glamour, the space is great with lots of light and you kind of have ‘carte blanche’ to do you please and no one can complain, kind of reportage without repercussions.

The natural light was very good and I augmented it with a flash mounted facing the windows for some crosslight and fill, I experimented with gels and colour balance as well.

This job was originally imported into Apple’s Aperture, but as they have seen fit to discontinue development, I have started working with Capture One Pro 8 and this project has ended up in both; I wanted to try out some images in it and these were the ones.

I find situations like this work best if you stay detached, so people are natural and get on with their business, it has some of the benefits of doing interiors in that you don’t need to worry about interaction so can get in a zone and concentrate, it can be very zen-like at times and the the time can fly by; I often stay longer than intended or was commissioned to, but if 3 hours feels like 2 why worry about it?

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Anabelle-Veritas red lighting

Anabelle Veritas, a Play

Anabelle-Veritas red lightingI photographed Julian Wickham for an interview piece and as is often the case it led to the chance to do some more work.

He runs a theatre group (The English Drama School) that teaches the craft to both native and non-native English speakers and they actually perform the plays for the public to go see in a very cool space in Barrio Gotico.

I was very happy to have the chance to get involved in this as I used to love doing theatre work back in London, in the days of film.

The play is his own reworking of ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’, set in the 80s, with a photograph in place of a painting suffering the ravages of time and debauchery.

I went to do the dress rehearsals and quickly got the gist of the rhythm and the time flew by. Normally I do set pieces with flash, this, however, was much more agile and almost like street photography, very refreshing and great fun.

I took a lot of gear and also my new camera to try it out. What a revelation. I am amazed by the quality of the images and most were shot as jpegs as the camera was so new the RAW files couldn’t yet be used, since then this has changed and I even really impressed by what the RAW files could offer so may have to redo the post production on some of them.

Also this new camera is so discreet! Barely a whisper when pressing the shutter, and its size means it is perfect of such work of which there should be more; I intend to travel much lighter next time.

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Agata Restaurant Barcelona

Agata Restaurant, Barcelona

Agata Restaurant BarcelonaThese pictures were for a restaurant that was creating a new website.

I got a call from a girl I know called Freddie, who is a designer and also runs a Meetup group for such people, I sometimes go along as it is a very relaxed social night out, rather than the typical networking events, which always feel a bit false and not unlike how I imagine  speed dating nights might be!

I basically had to get shots of the restaurant and also a party they were hosting.

Shooting a place like this is always going to be a tad awkward if its busy and of course the day I arrived this was the case; I wanted to do HDR postproduction, so ideally needed to use a tripod…

My favourite shot is the one I did when no people had arrived, I think the HDR is not excessive and brings a light touch to the image. The second part of the job meant coming back in the evening for the event, this was primarily about food shots so I had to work on the fly before people arrived getting what I could with an agile set up, this in the end involved a flash with a either bare head or basic diffuser and a ring flash for fill, I  was up very close with a lens that has macro capabilities so did not need to shoot wide open to get some decent shallow depth of field (a lot of people talk a lot of crap about how DoF is only really possible on full frame cameras; most of these were shot around f8 on a 4/3 sensor).

The lighting set up worked quite well and like I said was flexible enough to work quickly, as anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows things can get very stressful. luckily Lorien, the chef, was a great help.

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Interviewed at Barcelona TV

Barcelona TV Interview

Interviewed at Barcelona TVI got interviewed by a local TV company.

It might seem churlish or fake modesty but I really did not wish for it to happen. A good friend who knows someone there thought it would be a good idea, she is not the vindictive type so I am sure she did it as a favour.

Much like photography for me, there is only one side to be on when a video camera is being pointed somewhere, but this time I bit the bullet and let it be me on the other side.

The odd thing about this interview is that it may have possibly have, in a way,  been my own doing. At the beginning of the year I came up with an idea of photographing people who have made businesses at home or in private apartments and the main TV station here (TV3) started contacting people I had photographed for their own show.

Eventually BTV, it seems, decided to do something similar but not wanting to go for the posher end of the market were on the look out for more humble abodes like mine, so in many ways I guess I was a victim of my own success.

The actual interview was as short, abrupt and as disorientating as a mugging, we had chatted for a while and then at some point I got ‘miked up’ and in no time it was over, I can recall nothing of what I said and have still not dared watch the link they sent me.

So much for fame, it really is not for me.

Wedding Photography: Couple kissing

Aisling & Colm Wedding

Aisling and Colm wedding celebrationThis was my first job since returning to Barcelona after being in Buenos Aires for a month. I had been back in the country less than 2 days and was still feeling jet-lagged, luckily this meant that a certain other wedding in the UK on the Friday prety much escaped me even though it was featured in every newspaper and television on the planet.

So, on the Saturday with the what felt like the whole world except me still obsessing about it, I headed to Sitges to do a half day photographing Aisling & Colms wedding.

It was a beautiful day and, as always, I arrived with sufficient time to check out the church and figure out the lighting etc. After  a 20 minute I was finally given access from a caretaker. All was all going to plan except that he let me set up on a balcony overlooking the aisle and altar only to then be told by someone else that access to that area was not permitted, which kind of messed up the possibility of some nice shots, I was also beginning to suspect this guy might not be sharpest tool in the box.

At around 12.45pm I asked him if I could get out to get picture of guests, I assumed would be arriving outside, but he said he had to light some candles first and then sauntered off to do god knows what; I was getting a bit stressed.

At about 12.55 he finally got out a big ring hung with medieval keys, each the size of a shovel and the great wooden door creaked open. I escaped, to then only flounder blinded, for about half a minute trying to adjust to the ferocious midday sun bouncing off just about everything.

Very tricky and harsh lighting, the flash was only just capable of competing with it, and it being midday there being no shade in front of the church which was problematic. Normally you get your subjects to face away from the sun or put them in shade but the bright light was coming from all directions and causing a lot of squinting.

The service inside, fortunately, did not suffer from this and I had set up a general light to cover the altar and also had a flash with me which I hand held.

After this we did pictures on the esplanade, in front of the church and by the sea and eventually headed off to the masia (country house) where the reception would take place.

The light was still very strong but it was more directional now and also the place had shadows and was lovely to boot, with a pretty decent view over the country side.

I was only doing pictures up till the meal and then headed home. Usually after a wedding you can feel a need to unwind, it is maybe, like a performance and the temptation is to have a few drinks to unwind, I, however was starting to flag and was looking forward to an early night. What a party pooper, or maybe I am just getting old?

 

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    Wedding photography: flowers

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    Aisling and Colm wedding

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    Kids at wedding

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    Wedding photography: flowers

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    Wedding couple

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    Aisling and Colm wedding celebration

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    Aisling and Colm at the church

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    Wedding Photography: The bride

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    Wedding Photography: Couple at Sitges Curch

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    Wedding Photography: Wedding in Sitges

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    Wedding Photography: Couple with kids

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    Wedding Photography: Couple posing

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    Wedding Photography: Bride with family

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    Wedding Photography: dinning tables

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    Wedding Photography: wedding party

Barcelona Classic Car Show

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was invited to go along to the Barcelona Classic Car Exhibition on Sunday and being at a loose end thought it might be fun and yield some interesting pictures.

I decided to also take along my fisheye lens because I have a theory that old things, be they buildings, or even, I was soon to discover, cars, sometimes make for interesting subjects when using this particular and peculiar lens.

I soon learned after buying it what the limitations are, modern perpendicular architecture or anything consisting of straight lines usually just looks wrong, but anything made of curves or fluid lines can sometimes work; in NYC I thought the interior shots of Grand Central Station near the Oyster Bar worked well as the sweeping curves of the ceiling did not look so exaggerated and, I believe, more faithfully reproduced the way our eyes see them, or at least how we remember them.

But we are talking about cars now. The extreme distortion turned old cars in something like the cartoon characters you see in movies and on the TV, I found it amusing how anthropomorphised they became, flexible, soft skinned, belying the truth of hard metal and dead machinery. It is too easy to overdo the affect and I suspect I did, but it was fun.

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