Recently, I was given the opportunity to photograph the Geekfest Top End 2019 event held by City of Palmerston on 13 July 2019 to kick off the Palmerston Youth Festival. It was such a fantastic event which obviously took many hours of planning and execution to ensure its success. People of all ages came down to enjoy the myriad of activities on offer and so many meticulously pieced together costumes were paraded around Goyder Square to transform the venue into a burst of colour!
While running around dual-wielding my cameras and photographing as many people as I could, I was always grateful to the majority of people who would wait for me to take a photo, jump out of the way so that they were not intruding into my lens or intentionally walk behind me to allow me to capture the photo I had planned.
There are also wonderful people who would occasionally step up to me to ask if I could take a photo for them which I always love to! Sometimes I get handed and extra mobile phone to capture photos on the mobile device as well and I almost always oblige unless I am in a hurry. To all the patient, understanding and wonderful people out there, thank you for allowing this annoying photographer to do his thing. I know it can be especially annoying if I am standing in your way just to capture a photo.
My job as a photographer, especially one who has been hired by the event coordinators, is to capture photos that not only reflect the mood at the festival but also to create memories for those attending. By supplying my employers with good media, they are able to use such photographs to promote and plan any future programs on a larger scale which in turn usually benefits the general public, i.e. you.
During the cosplay awards at Geekfest, I had to take up a central position to photograph the awards so as to capture both the awardee and the recipient of the awards. In a small room that had the awards presented on an elevated stage, this meant that I had to stand in the aisle right in the middle of the seats. I had to stand back a fair distance so that I was not shooting upwards into the people on stage. During the ceremony, a gentleman came up to me and remarked, “Can you move aside? You have just been standing there all along! I want to take a photo on my phone”. He had good reason to be annoyed as I had indeed been standing at one spot which was blocking the view of at least 3 or 4 of the audience. Initially baffled, I then smiled and stepped aside for him to take his shot and then continued shooting. A few moments later, I overhead him telling someone beside, “Yeah I have already told him off”. At this point I must admit that my face lost a bit of love. I turned to him and politely mentioned that I have been hired to photograph the event, something I assumed my bright yellow media vest might have communicated on my behalf. The gentleman was not having any of it though and I continued photographing without saying anything else.
To everyone out there who gets irritated with the annoying photographer who is blocking your view, please understand that we have been brought into the event for a purpose. My credibility as a photographer is dependent on my ability to deliver the required photos. Especially with award ceremonies, it is counter-intuitive for me to constantly change my position. Firstly, photographers tend to look for a central location to capture everyone on stage. Secondly, if we were to constantly move about, it would turn into “Where’s Wally” where the awardee and recipient will have to hold the award together and look for the photographer amongst the crowd. This is why we usually stay rooted at one spot during award ceremonies.
So if you ever encounter and annoying event photographer like me, I implore you to attempt these strategies instead:
1) Try to move yourself instead so you get a clearer view
2) Try ask me nicely if I could step aside for a second so that you can get your shot
Sometimes all it takes is to say the exact same words with a smile and a ‘please’ and it changes everything. No one has to get angry and everyone gets to go home happy isn’t it?
And now that you have made it to the end of this blog post, I hope you forgive me if I have ever been in your way.