A couple of weeks back, I got a phone call from Jérôme Tiercelet, the founder of the Un Geste Un Espoir foundation. He needed a photographer to shoot a celebrity fundraiser to raise money for the Ste-Justine Childrens’ Hospital in Montreal. Even though I’ve shot quite a few events, it would be my first time shooting a fundraiser. I thought it was for a good cause so I said yes! 🙂
So I drove 3 hours to Montreal the night before do to a bit of R & R with my good friend Martin and take it easy until 4pm the next day. It would be non stop action from 4:30pm to 11:30pm!
My mandate was to shoot a lot of behind the scenes stuff until the 8:00pm event start. Then I had to take the celebrities’ photos in front of the St-Justine sign as they arrived. After that I became the roamer, just shooting away.
It was also a great event to test my new Nikon D300’s high ISO settings! I shot most of the evening at ISO 800 and 1600 with a few at 400. I must say that I was quite pleased with the high ISO results! ISO 1600 wasn’t even a remote possibility with the D200 and now my shots are even printable with the D300! Yes! Now if they could only make a 16mp full frame in a D300 body!! Day dreaming is always fun. 🙂
What I found particularly challenging was sharing my spot with other photojournalists and video cameras. I’m usually the only one in the sandbox when I shoot events. Or, at least, the other photographers work for me! I quickly found out how pushy and aggressive the media can be just to get “the shot”. To be honest, I was a bit taken aback at first. I finally decided to let them get all their shots in and then I would introduce myself as the official photographer and the celebs were more than happy to pose for me.
I did learn a lot from this experience. The 3 main tips that I can give other photographers wanting to shoot charity or fundraising events are:
Uno: Make sure the organisers give you an official badge or pass that clearly identifies you as the event photographer and grants you complete access to all venues at the event. This will prevent confusion and you won’t be tagged as a “media meany”. 🙂
Dos: If you have to take official guest or celebrity poses, ensure that you have your own area where the media are restricted and ensure that staff will guide the guests to your area.
Tres: Ensure that the organizers introduce you during their first official public address. This way the guests will see who you are and they’ll be more inclined to have their photos taken during the event. Your official badge may not always be visible in low light.
All said and done, I’m glad I gave my time for the event. The Ste-Justine staff were just terrific!
Here are a couple of shots for your enjoyment. The celebs are mostly famous in Quebec so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know them. 😉