Thursday, 7 November 2013

Assignment 5 - Coverage of an Event Practice 1 Cheddington Food Fayre

I haven't really been doing much photography, what with one thing and another, and doing theory so needed to get back in touch with my camera, how it felt to be out and about and up close to the general public. In talking to my cousin who lives in Cheddington, she mentioned that her village had an annual food fayre which could possibly be something I could cover as a practice run and if all went well even use it as my assignment.

There were a few downsides to photographing this event, firstly it was on a Friday night a good few miles away from where I live and there was a study day in London the next day, also there was no way I could do a site reconnaissance.  Despite these misgivings I decided to give it a go so I could get back into the swing of things.

Asking myself the following questions in my planning:

  • Was it feasible - just about
  • Permissions and access - being a local event and my cousin being an active member of the community she asked the questions and explained the situation. The organiser agreed I could go, some of the stall holders agreed in advance and I was to ask on the night if others had objections- I took along release forms just in-case anyone wanted to be official about any of it
  • Site reconnaissance - not possible
  • Provisional shot list - if possible stallholders setting up, stalls/stall holders portraits. Products for sale, wide shots and close ups. When open customers buying things, sampling things, wide shot of bustling church hall...would there be any key moments?
Marketing my work. Who would want to buy the images- if any good? Who would likely clients be? The parish magazine always do an article about the food fayre as does the local paper. The organizer of the fayre also sets up a website which he likes to use images to advertise each year. Normally he uses stock images and was interested if I could do something for him. Various local "things to do" websites also carry images of the fayre from time to time. One vendor in particular has shown an interest in me producing some still life images to promote their goods on their website but more of that later as it will be a personal project. As far as pricing my work is concerned, although we had the arrangement that the parish magazine might be interested likewise the promotional website, as this was purely exploratory and I had no chance to do a site reconnaissance it was more a verbal agreement that I was coming to take images for my course and not a serious commission.

On completing research there are a few websites that give advice on rates:

Rates for jobs can vary from sector to sector and from job to job. One of the main things to understand about a photographer's income is that it is usually derived from two parts, from commissioned work and from selling stock photos. Most successful photographers will have built up a healthy stock library of their own images and these can be used to generate a steady income. It is extremely important that copyright laws are observed so make sure you read all about copyright for photographers in our Legal section.

The National Union of Journalists have produced an excellent fees guide for freelance workers including photographers. As well as pay information there are also lots of useful hints and tips about protecting your work, what should be in your work agreement etc - a valuable resource. Have a look at the suggested rates here:

and I looked at some photographers sites that give their rates/expenses or just tips to consider

you can even buy books about the subject...

or get a membership...

So basically there seems to be a lot of information out there but don't undercharge or overcharge, be prepared to negotiate, sometimes you will get a commission other times you may just sell a single image to a given publication.

Rightly or wrongly I don't feel my photographic skills are high enough  but I intend to practice and approach the final event I do undertake with the attitude towards it being fit for purpose - ie publication for a general readership.

I did some research into the Cheddington Food Fayre finding out who some of the vendors would be, looked at their webpages to see the kind of images they had already and looked at the facebook page and local up-and-coming event pages. A few examples are below:

As to the Food Fayre, I have to laugh, quite a few things went wrong which I shall explain but it was a great learning curve which I shall outline in my final conclusion.

Firstly I work as a learning support assistant and also provide lesson cover in a teacher's absence. Typically on this Friday I was given cover for the last period which meant not being able to get out bang on time, this meant a delay in getting home, a delay in leaving and getting caught going through the Dartford tunnel.

Added to this the weather was absolutely horrendous, there was heavy rain, which gave off a lot of spray, there were a few prangs on the M25 which meant I arrived a lot later than anticipated and missed the setting up shots. The event was in full swing by the time I arrived and calmed down.

The food fayre was being held in the local church hall and the background of each stall was really cluttered with empty boxes, bags, coats, radiators, stacked chairs etc which made for really cluttered shots. The light was very low and I don't like to use flash so had to compromise with ISO/Aperture and shutter speed. This meant a lot of grainy soft shots which I personally dont like. Don't mind other people's images if they produce them that way but I like mine to avoid grain as much as possible. From the outset I then knew I wasn't going to get what I wanted but snapped away regardless as it was all good practice for me. Below are a selection of shots which attempt to be be action shots, portrait shots, product shots, scene setting etc etc.

Some I feel worked well as far as composition was concerned, the shallower DoF was also more successful with some than others. On the whole I think I ended up with too many product shots and not enough of the venue or group shots. Images appear to only work either as landscape or portrait with not enough scope to offer different crops if this was required by a magazine article. As I say I think some are too soft for my liking but may still work as small online images.

I should have turned the information towards me....

bit boring I thought, nowt unusual although I think the people in the background show it was a well attended event.

Too many of my "group" shots had too many people in, no central focal point, and a lot of boring backs.....

Better I felt, but bit blurry/soft.

I wish my timing had been better not to have cropped the hand at the top of this shot.

I quite liked the "cheese" shots, I actually had a good vantage point, there was a gap between 2 stalls and a lot of people tasting which shows how important positioning yourself can be.

Could have been a good image but messed up with the DoF so the word Food isn't in sharp focus! Also a bit too close a crop at the bottom...hey ho.....

Some random children asked to have their photo taken, I said run and ask your mum and she said no problems snap away...their choice of pose lolol.

Two where the DoF worked as far as I am concerned.

I like the hand in the background picking up the product and the diagonals of the leaflets in the background and the long serving spoon.

My cousin acted as an assistant, picking up business cards from each vendor and asking if they minded my taking photographs, this was handy but also proved to be another hiccough  waiting to happen lol. Photographed out, there were too many people walking across me and other barriers that I haven't learnt to get around yet so we decided to leave. I picked up a few products that I will use and also thought I could practice still life with and possibly produce something, as a personal project, for promoting the fayre next year, images to follow when I get round to sorting them!

Back to her home, a very late dinner and falling into bed before getting up at some silly time in the morning for the drive back home to catch a train to be in London for the 11am study day! It was then I discovered that I had forgotten my overnight bag, had no night clothes, toothbrush or clean clothes for the!

The morning was a quick splash, I'd shower at home, make sure everything was put in my car, picked up the folder of paperwork with leaflets etc in and drove home. My son's friend had stayed overnight and was in the shower! Bang went my shower...then found out that my cousin had put larger leaflets in the folder but all the business cards in her purse, she still had them but promised to post them....after a few days they hadn't arrived, she confirmed she had posted them but had put the wrong postcode on the envelope....weeks later the post office still has them SOMEWHERE!

So what did I learn?

Make sure you only agree to photograph an event if you can make it on time or you feel really rushed.
Make sure you are organised and take everything you need, not just photographic equipment.
Really try hard to complete a site reconnaissance.
Talking to people isn't as scary as it may first seem.
Take lots and lots of shots to make sure you have enough for first and second select images.
A good vantage point is important.
Be prepared to work with the conditions that present themselves on the day, lighting, crowds etc
Don't lose gathered information that will help with captioning or allow you to contact potential clients.
Be prepared to laugh at yourself when it all goes tits up!!!!

Do I think I could market these as something different with my own individuality stamped on them LOLOLOLOL ermmmm my epic failure could be a kinda approach I guess......

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