Following the recent family portrait shoot for Paul’s 70th birthday (Click here), I was invited back to cover his second 70th Birthday celebration in the beautiful Priory Hotel in Hitchin. For this event Paul had hired a number of reception rooms and I was asked to take some formal and candid photos of the 60 or so guests who had come along to celebrate with him.
The Priory is a lovely estate on the south side of Hitchin dating back to the 14th Century and is one of the major hotel and wedding venues in the town. I’ve shot a number of events at the Priory including The Carriages to Cars book launch, Rhythms of the world and the building itself features in the Hitchin Initiative Calendar I shot for 2015 (Click Here), so it was nice to come back to a venue I know. For Paul’s birthday party the library and adjoining Adam room had been booked, with the Picture gallery being made available for me to use as a studio for some more formal portraits.
The evening was attended by nearly 60 of Paul’s friends, family, and ex-pupil’s, including a number of members of Hitchin Symphony Orchestra who I’ve worked with before (see those photos here).
A beautiful cake has been prepared with the full orchestral score for happy birthday decorating the sides, and Paul’s photo, and logo’s for the Stevenage Male Voice Choir, Peterborough Football Club, and the Hitchin Symphony orchestra on the top.
As the evening progressed I was able to move amongst the guests taking both posed and candid photos as they mingled. The cutting of the cake of course marked another series of photo opportunities, followed by my personal favourite shot of the evening; Paul with all the children. There was some debate about what age range constituted “children”, however once the cast had been assembled I quickly re-arranged my lights to set-up a shot on the stairs with Paul in the centre, and the children arranged around him so that everyone could be seen. My deliberate intention to re-create a shot reminiscent of the work of the 1930’s American documentary photographers such as Dorothea Lange. For the final version of the shot I post processed the image into monochrome with a slight sepia tint. I will re-work this image at a later date for give it an even more vintage look.
Towards the end of the evening a number of couples and friends made their way into the Picture Gallery, where I’d brought along a small backdrop and some portable studio lighting, for some more formal portraits. I set up 2 or 3 different poses for each group, and as always when I have studio lighting I offered each person a head and shoulders shot that they could use for their Linked-In or Facebook profiles, or for use on their own web sites or company structure charts.
While catching up with Paul at the end of the evening, Paul asked if the photos could be uploaded to Facebook. I was happy to tell Paul that that was absolutely fine (although I retain the copyright on all images I take, I give full permission to use the images for any non-commercial purpose) and that in addition to the full resolution images which I provide on CD for each shoot, I’d provide him with a second disk containing the images specifically for the web so that they could be uploaded quickly and easily.
To see the full set of photos from this shoot click here to visit my Pro-Gallery.
Within the Pro-Gallery you can see all of the images either individually or as a slide show, or you can order prints directly via PhotoBox Europe’s leading online photo lab (learn more about the Pro-Gallery here).
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