As I write, I'm sitting on the floor at the back of a conference suite in the County Hotel, Newcastle. there are about 50 managers here for a corporate briefing, and my job is to sneak around and take candid photographs of the event for a couple of hours. I like doing this.
I like being here, but being outside of the event too. Most of the documentary jobs I do allow me to access all areas, but not be a real insider. I have to capture the mood of the people and place, and this is often best done if they forget I'm here.
Most people can ignore me - as they are far more interested in their event. But there is a marginal group of people at every event who at one end of the spectrum try to hide from the camera, and at the other end, seek me out and play up to it.
I like to take shots that are natural and tell a story. to find an expression or composition that helps you feel like you're part of the group, and relate the message of the organisation. not always easy.
Lighting and the ambiance of the venue help - and hinder - to a very great extent. Very often I'm taking photos in dark, dreary rooms lit by fluorescent tubes. Not good. My favourite is a strong light source from one wall - particularly rooms with one wall of windows letting in natural light. That let's me choose the angle if the light, mostly from behind or the side. front lit subjects usually look flat and uninteresting. I love the halo of light s back lit subject has, and sometimes you can catch sun rays through a dusty atmosphere. Like the old advert for finger of fudge.
Today is ok - nice room, could be lighter, but one wall is all stained glass windows. Nice. Now u just need to find the shy folks off guard, and avoid the camera hoggers till they aren't expecting it.