I take a lot of photos at conferences. I was about say it’s my bread and butter work, but that makes it sound like it’s dull, which is not the case. I love talking pictures and I think that there are always moments worth capturing wherever you are. Conferences involve a lot of people, and it’s people that I most love to photograph.
As a conference photographer you have a duty to your client to make sure you collect the key moments in pictures - speakers, workshops, entertainment and the spontaneous action that helps keep an event lively and engaging. But there is also scope to be creative.
If I had to name a grumble about conference photography, it would probably be to do with lighting. Conference centres tend to be dark, with little natural light. Artificial lighting is often a cold, bluish white and generally located directly above - making lots of harsh shadows across people’s faces. Light levels are low, which can be a technical challenge, especially when there is also lots of movement. I tend not to use flash, especially during speeches and workshops, so I have to work with whatever light there is. But modern digital cameras are much better suited to these conditions that then ancestors of 10 or 15 years ago.
Here’s a picture from a conference held by Clinks - a charity that supports other charities working in the criminal justice system in the UK. It’s a fabulous organisation and I’ve worked with them as a designer and photographer for about 15 years. This event marked their 20th birthday and it was great to be there to help them celebrate.
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