One of my regular annual shoots is the nativity celebration at Hitchin Christian Centre (click to see the nativity photos from 2013 and 2014), however a few weeks ago they asked me if I’d be able to cover another event for them in April. This time they’d planned a family fun day to take place in the market square in Hitchin.
The event started with at 11:30 with an open air service (I estimated there were over 100 people attending) and then after the service the events started. Being Hitchin Christian Centre the church had laid on a great deal more than just a Bring and Buy table. The activities included a bouncy castle, face painting, cage football, a free BBQ, music all day long by the church’s resident musicians, a games station with a PS4 and of course a photo booth.
Setting up an outdoor photo booth, was always going to be a bit of a challenge, however we’d agreed in advance that the church would provide me with a gazebo, power if I needed it and someone to collect names and Email addresses. I knew that to get a consistent set of photos I couldn’t rely on the available light, but after a brief flirtation with the idea of studio lights I opted for speed-lights and shoot through umbrellas. I knew that at short range the speed-lights would be more than powerful enough to over power the available light, and also avoided any dangers with cables or mains voltage. I considered using the town square as a background, but decided against this so I could keep my discrete photo area, and prevent problems with people photo bombing! Although the weather forecast was dry, I never trust the British weather and made sure that everything was set up under the cover of the Gazebo and securely tied or weighed down.
With my knowledge of Canon Speed-lights I was able to set a manual exposure to ensure the daylight had a minimal effect, and after a couple of test shots I had the exposure settings I needed and confirmed that the black background was the one to go for. As the day progressed the lighting changed from overcast to rain, and finally quite bright sun light, however by making sure the speed-lights were brighter than the daylight at the beginning of the day (and shooting in RAW) I knew I could correct for any effects from the ambient light.
As with any event like this you never really know what to expect, or who’s going to turn-up. During the event I had 52 groups, more than 120 people, (and one dog) ask for their photos to be taken some so my shots included everything from individuals, to couples, to families with babes-in-arms, to large groups of friends, definitely a diverse mix.
Getting your Photos…
Hitchin Christian Centre will be contacting everyone individually by email, to say how and where to download your photos, however in the interim here are a selection of some of my favourite images from the day, you can also see the full set of images on Pro-Gallery here.
If you’d like to talk to me about running a similar photo booth for your event, or if you’re interested in a family, wedding, or commercial photography please use the contact page here.