I always ask clients what type of pictures they'd like and if there's anyone specific they want me to try and capture. This was Bradley's brief to me regarding the photographs of his 50th birthday party:
"It would be nice to get a few shots of my mum and dad, and one or two of me and Stuart, other than that just click creative and I’m sure it will be fantastic. I have some entertainment (4 singers) after the main meal so please get a few shots of them also."
Fairly straightforward it would seem, but 84 people in a confined space? How do you remain unobtrusive and take candid photos of people who are eating, drinking and talking when you are practically on top of them?
I chose my 85mm as it's longish and allowed me to pick people off from across the room. With the aperture ranging between f/1.8 and f/3.5 I could eliminate the other guests when necessary. Bouncing my flash off the walls behind me helped to lift some shadows and no-one could see it going off. Timing the shots was also crucial - photos of people shoving food into their mouths is not a good look. Catching people halfway through a blink makes them look stoned and some screw their faces up when they laugh. These are just some of the trials and tribulations of candid photography!
The best things about photographing weddings and events are the interesting people and venues I encounter. Bradley's birthday party took place at Met Su Yan Restaurant in Edgware. The external appearance is not unlike any other upmarket Chinese restaurant, but Met Su Yan is kosher - authentic Chinese and Japanese food but you won't find any pork or seafood on the menu.
As for Bradley himself, I learned that he is a philanthropist and former Channel 4 'Secret Millionaire'. It was clearly evident from Bradley's personality and the number of people who turned out for his party that he is loved and respected.
There was plenty of variety to photograph - the guests interacting with each other, Bradley's amusing speech and a fantastic acapella performance by the Penny Arcade Quartet of songs personally requested by Bradley, and even though my movements were restricted, this was his response when he received his photographs:
"You have been an absolute delight and the pictures are very much like your name, Candid and Creative".
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