Build UK - Catalyst for Change event at St Paul's Cathedral
Build UK’s London Event
I shoot a variety of events for Build UK every year and thoroughly enjoy them. This event was at St Paul’s Cathedral, a glorious venue. I haven’t been to the cathedral for some time and had forgotten what a truly amazing place it is. One of the great things about being involved in an event like this is getting to go behind the scenes at the venue. I always love going through the maze of corridors that most venues have for staff to appear in different rooms. As you can imagine, the corridors for St Paul’s are particularly interesting and a little bit unsettling!
Lighting a London event
The event itself was held in the Crypt and so the lighting was always going to be a little bit tricky. Not only is the lighting down there very artificial, but there are also a whole different variety of colours from blues to oranges, not very good for skin tones! It’s important as a London event photographer that I neutralise the colours on the people so they don’t appear, not only blue or orange, but also in muddy unflattering light. However, while this is relatively simple by using a bit of flash, I also need to keep the feel of the crypt since the venue will have been chosen carefully and it’s vital it plays an important part in the photographs. I kept the feel while getting good skin tones by having a mix of flash and ambient light. Just a little splash of flash while letting the available light burn into the background.
While getting the light right is important, so is the types of lens I use. Using long lenses can create a slightly artificial feel to the flash and makes using it subtly quite difficult, whereas using shorter lenses and getting nice and close to the subject is much better and creates a much nicer lighting effect. I also used quite a short depth of field to isolate the subject slightly from the background too.
Before the event started I did a few headshots for the Build UK website. For these I took the subjects outside to take advantage of the gorgeous soft late afternoon light in the shadows behind the cathedral. I was able to get lovely skin tones and a nicely graduated background. Corporate portraits on location can be difficult because of the rapidly changing conditions of the British weather, so unless I light every shot, which is a problem when I am there to shoot the event primarily, it is best I use the natural light available. While challenging, it also provides huge satisfaction, as problem solving is one of the biggest jobs for a photographer like me who likes to shoot natural, relaxed, documentary shots.
Here are some other blog posts you might like if you found this one interesting. Here’s an event I photographed for the CPA at The Dorchester, and here’s one I shot for the Law Society at the Hilton Park Lane. I love shooting at the Royal Museums Greenwich, where I’m a preferred supplier, so here’s an event I shot for TUCO at the Cutty Sark.
Check out the photos below I shot at Build UK’s event at St Paul’s, I hope you enjoy them….