My favorite favorite (i.e. my BFF, a term I happen to dislike) turned 25 this year. To celebrate the occasion, she held a birthday gathering at Wreck Room, our favorite neighborhood bar (not like we have many other options in Bushwick!), where we bad a mini-photoshoot in the bathrooms and enjoyed some rainbow birthday cake. Then on her actual birthday, we frolicked around Greenpoint and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather.
Lauren K. Wade is the greatest roomie and friend ever for about a million reasons. One reason: she’s always down for photoshoots. She’s my guinea pig for any photo-related technique I want to experiment with, and I appreciate it more than she knows :)
So this evening, we went down the street and I had her pose in front of some colorful graffiti when the late-afternoon lighting was at its peak. I got to play with my new 70-200mm lens, which is an absolute gem despite being huge and heavy. I am slowly getting better at directing her when she models, paying more attention to the lighting and angles to determine what flatters her best in photos.
Then once the light faded, I tried out my new Demb flip-it with the flash. I’ve been looking for some sort of diffuser/bounce card, and this product has both in one. It’s definitely more flattering light than using direct flash or a normal bounce card, and so far I’m happy with it.
I had the honor of assisting a friend of my mom’s, Fran McMullen, shoot a gala event for the Africa-America Institute. The night began with a silent auction and cocktail hour in the hallway outside the dining room, where I was left to photograph the items up for auction, the bar, and candid shots of the attendees mingling, while Fran was ushered around to photograph various VIPs. This is my favorite part of event photography, getting to document everything as it happens naturally even if it’s not the ‘main event’. I hate posing people for shots, so I was happy that Fran was taking care of that. I bounced my flash off the ceiling for most of these shots.
Towards the end of the auction, Russell Simmons walked in and henceforth always seemed to be socializing with different people. He signed some autographs as well. I honestly wasn’t sure what he looked like, but I recognized him with the Yankees cap on. Julianne Moore was another celebrity on the guest list, and one of the first people we tracked down in the dining room to photograph. She politely posed, but it was obvious she preferred to be left alone after that.
The second part of the night took place in the dining room, starting with dinner and then the awards ceremony and a few performances. We quickly lapped around the room, looking for people on our list to photograph. Only problem was that we had no idea who was who! We had a seating chart where we were able to pinpoint which tables held our VIPs, but no real way of determining who they were. My method was to try and guess, and if it wasn’t obvious then I’d snap shots of everyone and quickly move on. All of my shots here were horrible because I had to use direct flash without any sort of modifier or diffuser. So bad! I’ve been meaning to get one of these things, I just haven’t decided which yet.
Luckily I had a much better time photographing people on stage. I snagged a prime spot right in front of the stage, to the left of the podium and right in front of the performers. I didn’t even need to use a flash, which made me happy. I always prefer to use natural/ambient light whenever possible. We snapped all the speakers and award recipients, then got to see some amazing African dancers and a band perform. Very entertaining.
In-between speakers, performers, and VIP captures, we were able to sample a bit of the gourmet meal. I had the fanciest looking salad I’ve ever seen, along with other unidentifiable albeit delicious foods.
By the end of the night I was exhausted yet energized, which is how I typically feel after a day with my camera. It’s such a satisfying feeling, which I think is how I know that this is what I’m meant to do with my life.
At the conclusion of NYC Fashion Week, Williamsburg had its own Fashion Weekend at Secret Project Robot. I have minimal interest in fashion, yet somehow I found myself in attendance (what can I say, I’m a sucker for the Brooklyn underground arts scene). The crowd was saturated with hipsters; the clothes were nothing I’d ever be caught wearing. Despite sticking out like a sore thumb, I actually enjoyed the show because it was more of a performance than a runway strut. They actually DID things while modeling the clothes. I was thoroughly enjoying the night until people started smoking in the room. Isn’t that supposed to be taboo these days?
After living in NYC for nearly two years, I finally got my first taste of Fashion Week. It may not have been in the infamous Bryant Park tent for a big-shot designer, but it was still a fantastic experience working for Hauteaholics Anonymous. I shot with Will Star, Kelsey Fain, and Patrick Brassard, covering everything from the dress rehearsal, hair & makeup, red carpet arrivals, and the runway show. The most enjoyable part for me was stealthily documenting the behind-the-scenes stuff, as I’m not exactly a fashion buff.
As with all gigs, I try to learn or at least take away something valuable from the experience. In this case, I decided that a backup battery is absolutely ESSENTIAL when shooting full-day events. I didn’t realize that my main battery wasn’t fully charged at the start of the day, so I had to stop in the afternoon and let it recharge for an hour, luckily during some downtime. Too bad a spare battery for the 5d2 is like $90! I’m still reluctant to buy the battery grip (no added weight, please!).
I also got to play a bit more with the flash. I still have a bit of a flash phobia, but I was fairly comfortable using the Gary Fong Lightsphere to diffuse light on the red carpet VIPs. In addition, I worked on fine-tuning my fill flash skills and angling the speedlight appropriately (no white ceiling to bounce the flash!). In time I’ll buy some sort of light modifier/diffuser, once I decide which to get!
All shot with the 5d2, 430EX, and 24-70/2.8L or 85/1.8.