With Startupalooza being relatively fresh on my mind, I figured it would be appropriate to put together a post talking about space and room considerations when shooting an event with a large group of people. Ideally a photographer will scout out event facilities prior to the event, but even if you have to make same-day plans there are several things to keep in mind when photographing a conference or other gathering. In no particular order:
- Access: are there multiple entrances to the room(s)? Might these entrances be used for access to different areas for different angles?
- Aisles: can the photographer freely wander the aisles? Are there any obstructions or loose cables to worry about?
- Speaker Positions: where are the speaker(s) going to be standing or sitting? Is there a clear view from where the photographer plans to shoot? How about the background behind the presenters?
- Lighting: what are the light sources? Any particularly bright lights to watch out for? Are the lighting levels going to change during the course of the event as lights are brought up or down for a presentation?
- Windows: along with room lighting, what about windows? If they aren’t covered, exterior windows are going to let in a lot of light during the day and can lead to blown-out areas in photos.
- Projected Screens: if there is some sort of projected slideshow, PowerPoint presentation, or video, find out about the lighting on the screen and how that large area of lit screen (in a dark room) will affect photography.
- Lens Choice: based on the various factors above, which lenses will be appropriate for various types of shots in particular places in the room?
I’m sure there are other things that could be added to this list (please leave a comment below) but this is a basic checklist of some things to consider.