By Roger (12 June 2014)
Mark and I helped out, this week, with the L-3 Cup, a charity golf tournament for Wounded Warriors. It's hard for a couple of retired military guys to refuse this charity, so we took the day off from work to hang out at the beautiful Piedmont Club and ride around in our golf carts – yes, we both had our own. Fortunately, they wanted us to use cameras, not golf clubs, since neither of us plays golf.
These kinds of events are pretty easy to photograph, since your primary responsibility is to get a photo of each team, the award ceremony, and some basic happy snaps of what happened during the day. We are capable of that. The sun was directly overhead, so the partly cloudy skies helped alleviate some of the harsh light out on the course.
Everyone expects you will get the basic shots, so your challenge is to provide them something that they wouldn't get with their camera phones. For golfers, the first thing that came to mind was the tee shot. Since this action happens so quickly, it would be blind luck to catch it on a camera phone. We both took the standard full-length shots, and then shifted a close-up shot. It doesn't have to be art, but you want to give them more than they requested.
You need some stock-type photos to help them set the mood when they create their slide show or brochures. Think about what the group will want for the wrap up. You'll want photos of the trophies, registration, people having a good time, and scenes that remind them of the day. Not only will this provide a better result for your client, but it's good practice for you.
I always try to throw in some humorous shots. With every team posing for photos, someone is bound to goof off. You certainly want to keep them in a good mood, so don't scowl at them for slowing you down. Take the photo. It'll make them happy, and everyone can chuckle at the wrap up party. Remember, your attitude towards your subjects will be reflected back in your photos. Happy and smiling is always better.
Of course, not all events are as easy as the open spaces of a golf course. You'll find it easier to be successful if you plan according to the client's schedule and shot list; look for ways to go beyond what is expected and add photos that they couldn't get (that's why they asked you); and get into the mood of the event. You can have fun and help a worthy cause.
We are strong believers in donating time and money to your favorite charities, and I've blogged about supporting the Wounded Warriors before when I went to The Intrepid Center, in San Antonio, a couple of years ago (here). Have you donated time and money to a worthy charitable group lately?