1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Asked to shoot a craft beer festival

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by KillRamsey, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    A friend whose new employer is putting on a Craft Beer Festival downtown this friday just asked me to shoot it for them. I'll be working for beer, but as long as their expectations aren't Pro-Level then their pay offer is fair. :) I plan on skipping flash and just using the fast Fuji glass on the XT. I'll have the 14 in the bag for a few wide shots, then probably use mostly the 35 f1.4 and/or the 56 f1.2, depending on how close I feel comfortable getting to people. I have a few hunches...

    1. I need shots of Product / Logos, of happy people consuming said product, of happy servers serving said product, and of abstract objects that suggest the feeling of the place (hops, barley, etc).
    2. I need people smiling... at me, at each other, whatever. Perhaps the 35 would work better for that.
    3. I'll walk up, ask "Mind if I take your picture for the event?" I expect people will say SURE and 1-arm hug each other, especially as the booze kicks in. Then I'll AFL on them, and if they aren't already smiling, I might also use "which beers have been your favorites?" and then shoot as they answer. Will have to think of something wittier so they smile.

    I have been to plenty of these, though never while using a camera heavily, but from what I recall they're always lit plenty well enough for the gear I'm bringing to not need a flash. I should be able to run around with 1/30 to 1/60, not HAVE to max out the apertures fully, and get away with 3200 or less. Trick will be not to drink too damned much as I go. Gonna be an hour long bike ride home afterwards.

    We shall see, we shall see...
     
    • Like Like x 3
  2. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    That seems like a fun assignment. Might be hard to maintain a steady hand after sampling many brews.
     
  3. qhs232

    qhs232 SC Regular

    196
    Oct 6, 2013
    Metro Detroit
    Gary
    I look forward to your pics, based on your other themed photos, you have an intuitive sense which, when coupled with your technical skills can prove very successful!
     
  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I'd be inclined to take along a decent hotshoe mounted flash unit (assuming that you have one) just in case. A flash that sits away from the lens axis with a diffuser can produce a pleasant fill flash effect if you have subjects in shade, semi-shade or dappled light.
     
  5. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I have the kit flash (tiny), and an 80's Sunpak that came with one of my minoltas.

    So... not really.
     
  6. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Bring the tiny kit flash with you as you'll never know when you'll come upon a nice shot EXCEPT…

    …the subjects have a strong backlight behind them and are too drunk to move
    …there's a strong shadow being cast by a large person
    …the subjects' eyes look like black holes.

    Sometimes all you need is a little fill to make a meh photo good. And it'll cut down your post-processing time too.

    Here, for example, is the little on camera flash of the Pentax Q letting me expose the background properly while adding fill light to the subjects:

    14329814958_74749be496_c.
    Pentax Q makes a decent selfie machine
    by john m flores, on Flickr

    Without the fill, I'd either have to blow out the background or put the subjects in deep shadow.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. PJacobs

    PJacobs SC Veteran

    354
    Apr 7, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Paul
    Hi,

    I have no experiece with this, but..
    Here you can see how Martin Parr deals with this at a social (drinking) event, a little bold but pretty natural!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDlnjtVGLOo
    You can start at 3:30 min.

    By the way, further in the documentary he explains his reasons for using a ring-flash (something about getting very close and wanting a neutral image)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle

    I ran a few experiments last night. I wound up taping a little bit of white office paper to the front of the flash, not touching the blub area of course, but in a u-shaped loop out in front of it. That softened it up a tiny bit. I would then have it on the camera, set to about -1 1/3, and then I could just up the shutter speed from (say) 1/60 to 1/100, flip the flash up, and probably get something better in those situations than I would've without it. Can always change my mind then and there.
     
  9. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    You have no idea how helpful that was. Perfect. Thank you!
     
  10. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Aaaand I just got another email, from a mom at my daughter's school who liked pictures I took during a halloween party, asking if I would come to the premiere of her 16 minute film at a local theater tomorrow night and take pictures of the event.

    So, do you guys get requests like this? Last minute / unpaid favor gigs, with low expectations, for friends? My gut reaction to is to enthusiastically go do it, give it my all, and hope I learn more. Is there some reason I should be saying no to stuff like this? Am I heading for some kind of pitfall? It's not a wedding, so it seems like the stakes are MUCH lower.
     
  11. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Yes I do. And I treat it realistically, judging each request on it's merits.

    I think you need to ask yourself why you are being asked. Honestly. Do they REALLY enthuse over your photos, or do they just want a free photographer? Call me an old cynic, but "free" is a four letter word where I come from. As a test, ask her which of your photos was her favourite - which made her ask you, specifically...

    They are COUNTING on your being flattered for being asked. Work out how many hours you will devote to this, and your hourly rate for your "day job", then add expenses - getting there and back if nothing else. The number you arrive at may surprise you.

    At absolute minimum I would ask for expenses. I would also point out that you retain copyright under all circumstances. If either or both of these entirely reasonable points cause them to balk, walk away...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Many years ago, I was an electrician. And of course, when friends would ask me to do work for them, I had a rule: "I'll only do work I feel comfortable doing for a sixpack." I felt that something small that I could knock out in a day was fine... it's their reward for putting up with me as a friend. But anything more substantial was really taking work away from the paid professionals, one of whom use to be me. It also kept me from ever having to say "sure, I can install an entire panel for you, but I'll need to charge you something," which can get uncomfortable quickly with friends. Keeping money out of it kept things where they ought to be.

    In these two cases, i know the people who asked me fairly well - well enough to know its the only reason they asked me. Their alternative was never going to be hiring someone. So I get to learn and get a feel for paying gigs, while drinking free beer.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  13. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    then just make sure it's an EXPENSIVE 6 pack......Fuji lenses don't grow on trees :wink:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    There's a reason why wedding photographers and official event photographers are usually paid for their work, and that's because they are where a hobby becomes just another job.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Very good point. The first second it feels like work, I'll be expecting to get paid for it, or not do it at all. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to learn. And drink.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Hey -- do I have to get peoples' names or anything crazy before the organizers can publish photos from the beer event? Does anyone know if there's some kind of permission requirement in the US for this kind of thing? Yikes.
     
  17. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    If it's a public event on public property then probably not

    If it's a private event then technically yes I think, but people rarely if ever complain about having their photo taken at an event, and since you're doing this for free I'd hate to have to take down names too and then afterwards match them up to the photos. What a headache! I'd make the event organizers aware of the issue and let them come to a decision/risk level that they are comfortable with. If they want names, I'd suggest that they have a volunteer shadow you and take names for you and make it their responsibility afterwards to match them to the photos, which they may be able to do at the event with a tablet or something.
     
  18. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I think I've got the rights issue settled - no names required.

    I think I have a clean enough conscience not charging for this, since the organization putting it on is a food bank network on a shoestring budget, and all proceeds go to feeding the homeless and hungry. And I'll tell you when my tipping point will come -- when I start consistently taking pictures that to me (and to others) look "professional grade," then it's time to politely ask for payment unless they're family, or there are extenuating circumstances. At present, I'm an amateur who sometimes has a good idea, and who knows just enough sometimes get a pretty ok image. Maybe 2.

    Last night was the film premiere event. I biked up there and shot it, stayed for 2 hours til it was all over. I'm not going to post images til I edit (this weekend, this requires the mac at home), but here's what it was like, before I forget it all...

    1. The theater was smaller than I expected, which may or may not have contributed to a LOT of lens changing on my part. I went between the 14, 35, and 56 a lot. My desire for the "18-55 on the XT and then an XE-2 with the 35 on it" setup of my dreams was palpable.

    2. The inside of the theater was lit entirely (and I mean ENTIRELY) by bright blue neon. Vivid, deep blue neon. The Fuji's auto WB was not up to the task, and as soon as I reviewed my first 3 shots, I had visions of smurfs and Avatar, and scrambled to fix it. The solution proved to be a k value of 10,000 (maxed out), and bumped reds and yellows. That got me back into the land of the living.

    3. I got too greedy for shutter speed with the 35 and 56. I let those big apertures woo me into 1/100, and even 1/180 in a few cases. That got me some serious grain and obvious noise reduction. So there's a stretch of her talking down front after the movie ended, where I don't really love the jpgs at all. I wish I'd gone for 1/30 and somehow braced, even though the reciprocal rule was screaming at me to keep the 56 at at LEAST 1/60 if not 1/100. Somehow I needed to bring that ISO down a little, and the answer wasn't a non-existent remote flash setup.

    4. When I first walked in, I was so self conscious. I had no ideas. I felt out of place, and obvious. I thought about tanking it... I could feel the tree zooming towards me aboard my motorcycle, could hear the crunch of the impact that was so inevitable, why fight it? (Sorry for the Target Fixation metaphor, but it's what hit me at the time and snapped me out of it). I realized I was about to brick it, and get a bunch of crap on my SD card. So I forced myself to go shoot "scene making" shots -- the exterior of the theater, the hallway with her husband taking $ for tickets at the entrance, and wides of the interior of the theater. A few people asked about what I was doing, and were very supportive. I loosened up. I got the settings dialed in manually, stopped thinking about my gear, and started plugging into the people. Find a couple talking animatedly, AFL on the right one, wait wait wait wait for it, here comes the laugh BANG gotcha.


    It went pretty well. I have enough keepers (even if they're too high an ISO for my taste) to make her very happy, I think.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    ...and in 4 hours I'll be biking all the way down to the Seaport District in Boston to do it again, this time with beer in my hand.
     
    • Like Like x 1