December 03, 2015

A family reunion to remember

Event photography

A family reunion to remember, at The Premier Inn, Pentwyn. November 28th 2015

I was lucky enough to be commissioned to photograph a 90th birthday party and family reunion, and what an honor it was to be able to document such an event as this.

Birthday party and event photography is something I am more than happy to do, and I treat it in the same way I do wedding photography. So when Alex' family decided to invite his extended family from Switzerland for this special day, they knew of my natural and unique style and wanted something different.

As well as the documentary and natural photo's I took while walking and mingling around during the evening, the family also asked me to take some formal group shots, which although I am a documentary wedding photographer I was more than happy to do for them, especially as I know it's not often the whole family could get together like this. As in my wedding photography, I would normally photograph the formal shots outdoors with the natural light, but as it was dark at this time I bought some photography lights on a stand and set them up in one of the side rooms. It was so inspiring to see Alex putting up with this at his age while each shot was taken, as he had to stand for most of them, but he was smiling through it all.

This venue has a good size events room, perfect for an evening reception for weddings in the South Wales area

Here are some of my personal favourites from this wedding. Please get in touch if you are interested in having me as your documentary wedding photographer.

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When doing portrait photography, as in the above shot, I always go for the natural, candid style. Here, they are both smiling naturally and not forced, in the height of the moment.

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Not everybody could make it to the event, and it was so refreshing to see Alex and others using modern technology to keep in touch. Obviously I can't be in two places at once, so I was lucky enough to be following the birthday boy when this was taking place. I took the shot of the phone, and then quickly zoomed around to get Alex' reaction and this wonderful smile below.

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Sometimes even while chatting to somebody, I will sneakily and silently take a photo with the camera by my side, this is known as "shooting from the hip", a technique i have learnt and practiced over the years, especially when doing street photography in cardiff. This technique allows me to get close and get some really interesting expressions and angles.

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Here we have one of the group portraits taken on the evening, indoors using a Yongnuo YN-300 II video light on a stand. As the lighting indoors is usually quite dim, and I never use an on board flash on my cameras for various reasons, I much prefer using this simple photography lighting setup. I then use these lights to place them on two corners of the dance floor to create some interesting light, it's usually almost pitch black otherwise.

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It's candid family photography like this one which make it all worthwhile for me. Catching a special, intimate moment between father and son is what it's all about. For this shot and most of the candid portraits I will use my Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L while standing back and just observing everything going on.

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There's only so many hugs and so much love a man can take before the tears come. You could really see how much Alex appreciated all the care and love around him, as well as all the lovely presents, you're never too old are you. This really was a family reunion to remember!

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Event Location: Premier Inn, Cardiff
For the Photographers: 5dmk3 with 35mm F2 IS, plus Canon 135mm F2 only.


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