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Shooting Quick Portraits At Events

I am a Kingston based photographer. Sometimes I am asked to photograph events. When I do I always try to photograph some quick portraits.

What is a quick portrait? - It is not quite spontaneous, and not quite posed!

I was photographing a powerlifting competition in Toronto last year. Most of my photography was focused on shooting the athletes as they competed. But I knew I would have a few minutes as they were rearranging the equipment at midday. So I set up a small backdrop and a couple of speedlights. The competitors and officials and volunteers were all very busy. I knew I would only have time for two or three shots each.

So that is what I did. These are the portraits, They are not quite spontaneous and they are not quite posed.

I am including some shots from that session. They turned out quite well. All I told the participants was to stand there and turn this way or that way. Look at me and smile or look at me and don’t smile. That is I gave the absolute minimum direction to the subjects. It sounds like I was just winging it but I did have a plan.

My plan started with the equipment. My lighting was all set up and ready to go. I used a single backdrop. I kept the setup as simple as possible. The whole thing only took five minutes to set up.

Then I just asked people to step in front of the camera. As you can tell some are more comfortable than others. But that is fine. I was not giving people enough time to feel nervous. I was looking for one more way to capture the mood of the day.

A few couples asked if I could photograph them together. One of these couples told me this was the first time they had ever posed together in a photo like this.

I am pretty sure that for most of the people I photographed that day this was the first “portrait” they had had done.

This something I am going to try again. If you are hosting an event whether it is a sports competition, a birthday party, a christmas party, a company celebration or a wedding think about hiring a photographer to take quick “portraits” of your guests.

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