Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

Event photography can be some of the most challenging yet some of the most fun and adventurous photography all at the same time.  One of the big challenges of event photography is you generally are not in control of the venue, which means you are not in control of the light.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

Joseph Juice Sutton Event MC

Event Lighting

Many times, if you want to be respectful to the rest of the audience that’s at the event, we will not be able to use flash for event.  You will often times experience this for events that are inside of a theater or similar venue.  Often times these events are very dark or lit in a dramatic way.  While of course this dramatic lighting can be very cool, it also produces many challenges especially with the lighting of the faces of the artists you’re trying to capture.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

Event Lighting Dark Face

Recently my daughter was asked to participate in the recording of a CD. My daughter is a classically trained, read “opera singer” but she also sings many contemporary styles. But one style that she does not generally saying is rap.  Be that as it may, she was asked to sing on the upcoming CD of TRU-SERVA #EyesOpen.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

Crazy Awesome Event Lighting

As part of the celebration for the release of the CD they were having a big concert with several other rap artists and entertainers that were associated with the project.

Get the Music on Amazon Eyes Open

Grainy Images or Motion Blur

Just like I was thinking, the auditorium was pretty dark and much of the lighting was from above so the artists face often times was going to be quite dark.  I decided I really had no control of it, so I was just going to go along with it and fire away then see what I get.  I realized that if and artist would be looking upward their face would be relatively well lit by the lights above them.  If they were not looking up I would have to deal with their dark face.  What I then recognized was that this type of lighting often times that produces a very cool effect.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

Motion Blur Can Be Very Cool

Also being the room was quite dark I would get all kinds of motion blur on the images. This was caused by the artists moving so fast and I just couldn’t capture them at low enough ISO settings to keep the grain in the images low.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

Try to Catch a Dancer in Low Light

So I had two alternatives, turn the ISO way up on the camera to capture grainier but sharper images or keep the ISO relatively low and risk having the images blurry as the artist moved.  I ended up shooting the images both ways and it turns out you get interesting effects with both settings.  It’s not terrible to have grainy images and sometimes the grain produces very cool effect.  Likewise it’s not dreadful to have motion blur either and that can produce some very cool effects.

Dramatic Lighting

Certainly the colorful dramatic lighting that was used at the event can create all kinds of interesting creative powerful effects.  I realized that the dramatic lighting was going to be the predominate lighting source for the event so I was going to have to deal with it.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

TRU-SERVA Dramatic Lighting

I decided that I should just shot away and I trusted that I would find some interesting images when I got to my PC to process the images.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

LoftLand the Band to Watch

I was not at all disappointed.

Minneapolis Event Photography TRU-SERVA CD Release Party

LoftLand the Band to Watch

There has been a video produced that attempts to capture highlights of this event and it is put to the song that my daughter is featured in, “Open My Eyes”.  You can see and hear that video here:

Event Photography Lessons

So what are the takeaways from an event like this?

  1. Do your best to scout out the venue before the event.
  2. Have a vision as to what you wanted to capture throughout the event and then set your camera appropriately during the event.
  3. Study and understand the lighting conditions and the camera settings you’ll have to set for optimum results.  Know your camera and all the important settings to either take advantage of the conditions or compensate for the conditions.
  4. If you are in control of the lighting, us it to your advantage.  If you are in control of the lighting and are able to set up off camera flashes throughout the venue to control the light, get in place very early to set up and test your flash units.  You do this so that you’re not running around it during the show annoying all the other participants and guests.
  5. Consider a monopod to help stabilize your camera and reduce some of the motion blur that is caused by your camera moving in the darkly lit environment.
  6. Have fun!  Photography is all about being creative and enjoying yourself and your results. So play and have fun and be creative.

You can find out more TRU-SERVA (Marcus Montana) and his work here:   http://truserva.com


After reading this I hope you are much more comfortable with the concept of photographing events. So if you think there is a cool event to shoot around Minneapolis or St Paul, feel free to ask me about it and I might have some good tips for you or I may just shoot the event with you. I challenge you to explore the world of event photography and try to photograph every type of interesting events.  With some study, persistence and trial and error I bet you will come up with some wonderful results.

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Until next time, get out and capture the adventure!!

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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website