The Queens Award

On Wednesday 16th September the Queens Award was presented to Coventry University, this was awarded to the university as recognition of the international growth and success that we, as a university, have had over the past 6 years. This makes Coventry one of a small section of higher education establishments to ever be honoured with this award. I was luckily enough to photograph the event with George as part of Fresh@CU, this was a great experience and certainly got me in the mindset of photographing events, something that I have never done before. This gave me the confidence to apply for more jobs over the year to gain as much experience as I can, in both events and other areas. I think that the images I took worked well and represented the day and the event well. A lot of my images were sent to the client to potentially be used on multiple platforms. However I can certainly see room for improvement. I think the main thing that I noticed was that I need to persevere more. With events it is hard to get a good shot straight away, especially if people are talking as unusual and unflattering facial expressions are common whilst not posing. However a posed image isn’t always appropriate, especially when trying to represent the event as a whole. Sometimes I had a good frame within the image but just didn’t stick at it, if I was to wait around a bit longer, taking a few more pictures chances are that I would of got a lot better of a shot. Now I know this, this is certainly something that I can improve on and that I intend to do in the future. Something else that I think I could improve on is my presence as a photographer, not worrying that I am in the way and having the confidence to direct people at the appropriate moments. This being my first event I think I found it hard to decipher when this was appropriate and was worried about getting in the way of the people present. Learning from this experience I realise that I need to gain confidence to get the images that will be striking and represent the event in the right light, without this the images won’t do the event justice.

Editing and meeting notes with George:

  • Persevere- don’t give up on the shot, this sometimes takes a couple of attempts due to the subjects facial expressions, especially when talking.
  • Lighting- use the lighting to your benefit and don’t let this effect your image in a negative way. Make sure you are at the venue early so you can get the correct settings for the lighting. The lighting at events generally isn’t the best and it is our job to work with it. Be prepared for any change of location, for example if you are going outside the settings will need to be changed.
  • Direction- don’t be afraid to direct people when you see it appropriate. Posed images aren’t always necessary however during events it is likely that these will occur at some point, generally at the end or beginning. You need to be clear and let the subjects know what you want, whilst also asking what shots they want, this allows you to get the images that you think are best suited but also keeps the client happy.
  • Editing- George advised me on how I might decide to edit the images. He showed me what he usually did, and in what programs. This consisted of using Camera RAW and only changing the bare minimum and enhancing the images. Using the contrast, exposure, clarity and vibrance sliders was the main part of the editing. The clients often don’t want it to be obvious the images have been edited however they do want crisp, clear and bright images, by changing these things this is achieved.

Below are contact sheets of the images that were edited and sent to the clients. I have highlighted the images that I think worked best by putting a red square around them.

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I think these images work best due to the fact that they show the event in a positive light and you can get a feel of what happened on the day. As a whole I think they show more than one side to the event, the success and the award giving itself and the fun and mingling as well.  The photos that didn’t work as well are the ones that have a distraction in them, maybe the framing wasn’t quite right or a facial expression was off. The images that have been highlighted have that little something extra that will catch the audiences eye.