After having gained contact with the management of O2 Academy, I was offered the opportunity to photograph their Friday night extravaganza, ‘Propaganda’, whereby I photograph the customers at the venue and the DJ’s/stage. The aim is to take 200 photos, which are then used to promote the event. I have now covered the ‘Propaganda’ event on two occasions with two other photographers.
Having done one nightclub photography job before at Earlsdon Cottage, I had some understanding of what settings I should use under such conditions. However, giving the change in lights at the O2 Academy would mean I’d have to be ready to amend my settings when necessary. At Propaganda, I used a Canon Mark II, which I booked from the university loan shop and an external flashgun. The flashgun allowed me to capture images even in the darkest of conditions and gives a nice snapshot effect when photographing the customers. Upon arrival I experimented with my manual settings and decided on the most effective one: 1/6-10 depending on the ambient light coming from the stage and overhead lights, ISO 1250 and F5. Looking back on the images, some images of the customers are quite bright meaning I should have increased my shutter speed, or lowered my ISO, to ensure correct exposure. I left the case of the camera and my belongings backstage, meaning I only had to focus on carrying my camera throughout the night.
Once the camera was set up; I circulated around the venue, asking people if they wanted their photo taken and the answer was always yes. They would crowd round and smile, making the job quite easy. Nightclub photography has become a norm so partygoers seem willing and ready to have their image taken. I would always show them the image before moving onto the next set of people. Sometimes this would mean taking another image for one of the following reasons 1) Photo bombers-random people intruding in the image 2) People within the image are blinking 3) They just want another photo. The final reason is probably the most trivial but it never bothered me to take an image again. Dealing with the general public within the parameters of these conditions can be dangerous meaning I had to keep my wits about myself as well as the equipment I was carrying.
During ‘Propaganda’ I had access to the main room where the main stage is, the upstairs room with a smaller DJ set and the balcony whereby you can take images of the Propaganda crowd and stage. It’s quite a big venue and attracts a lot of people, which makes gaining 200 images very easy. However, I feel the quality of images I produced isn’t that great. It’s difficult to pose the customers or to control them as there often in the party mood and tipsy, meaning your simply just pressing the shutter. Upon reflection, next time I think I should be more direct and tell people where and how to stand, taking into consideration framing and lighting. Also, I fall into the habit of taking quite up-close shots of the customers so should try taking full length ones also.
Having now experienced a few different types of events, nightclub photography is probably my least favourite. I found myself wondering around and unhappy with my images. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the experience and am something I could add to my portfolio if I want to gain a job like this again.