The majority of the work that I do is for commercial clients or businesses but occasionally I have photographed weddings or birthdays. I was asked to photograph a birthday for one of my parents friends at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast. They were looking for photos of the evening over a couple of hours, the plan being to photograph the guests as they arrived with the host of the party and then later on take some more candid shots of the guests enjoying themselves. The Merchant Hotel is in a fantastic old building on Waring Street in Belfast that years ago would have been the Ulster Bank headquarters. The interior looks as grand as the exterior and is a great place for photographs.
I started the evening with some portrait shots and a couple of exterior/detail shots such as the image below.
Afterwards I set up a couple of speedlights (small flashes) inside by the entrance to the room the party was held in and took a few test shots before the guests to arrived. The set up was quite simple, only two lights as space was limited, I really needed them however as the ceilings are very high and dark meaning I couldn’t bounce light of it and the general atmosphere of the place is quite dark inside the entrance. The guests arrived and were greeted by the host before I took a couple of quick shots of each group. 30 mins later and everyone had arrived. I stayed for another 30 mins taking some informal candid photos of the guests chatting and some detail shots at the bar before I was finished.
Hiring a photographer (hint, hint, me!) to cover a party is a great idea, as most big birthday parties end up being photographed by the guests using mobile phones and no one ever sees the images, or at best a few random images appear online. Having photos taken professional at a big birthday party guarantees you will have some great images to look back on in years to come. So next time a family member is having a big occasion think about hiring a photographer to cover the event! Click the images below to look through a small selection of the images in a gallery.