Dylan’s 1st Birthday


Photos from a recent birthday party I shot at…

After my last trip to NYC, my friend Patty asked if I was interested in a photo gig.  She told me about her friend who was throwing a big birthday party for her 1 year old son (well, more for friends and family, I’m sure), and she wanted to hire a photographer.  The gig wouldn’t completely cover my flight out to NYC, so I was basically working for a discounted trip back to the City.

I thought about it for a couple of days, and decided I would do it.  Partly to say I had a paid gig in NYC, partly to get some more experience, but mostly to hang out with Patty.  I told Patty I was in, and booked my flight.  The gig was on sunday, so I had a couple days to hang out before the gig (I’ll post some of those personal photos in a separate post).

The party was going to be held at 230 Fifth; an awesome rooftop bar that Patty works at.  They had booked one of the rooms with huge windows, offering a great view of the city.  Given that the venue’s primarily known as a nighttime hotspot, they also have an amazing brunch.  But with that said, the lighting conditions weren’t ideal for the type of shooting I was hoping to do.



I was really hoping to do mainly natural light, candid shots.  For whatever reason, I was in the mindset that I could shun flash, and get by with natural light only.  Had the ceilings/walls not been painted red, I might have considered bouncing the flash.  However, I, being the stubborn “artist” I am, did not want to use direct/unbounced on-camera flash (the walls were dark, and the ceiling was a glossy red).  I ended up going the hi-iso (iso 800 – 1600) route.

The gear I used was my newly acquired D700 with 20mm f/2.8D and 85mm f/1.4D, as well as my Olympus E620 with 35-100mm f/2.0.  I didn’t realize how tight the quarters would be, and if I had to do it over again, I would have used the 12-60mm on the Olympus with the on camera flash.  I was supposed to be getting a 50mm f/1.4D for my nikon, but I didn’t end up getting it in time before I left for the weekend.  The other thing was the 35-100mm is such a big lens, I opted to leave the lens hood off as to not to be as intrusive with a camera with a huge lens.  I think I would have kept it on as it would have reduced the lens flare in some of the backlit photos.  All in all, I think the photos turned out pretty good.  My only regret was not getting a better understanding of what the client wanted.  I was vaguely told to “just capture everything,” but I think for next time, I would have asked for a more descriptive objective.  I blame my inexperience, but I think I may have provided less than what the client was expecting.  For the future, to do event photos, I’d have to ask for a general schedule/agenda, just so I would know when and where I should be throughout the event, and what was important.  Additionally, what specific shots the client is looking for, group photos, etc, and I could have set something up so I could be ready to do it, and do it quickly.  To be honest, it was fun, but it was pretty stressful.   The whole time, I couldn’t help but think about what other gear I could have used.  In any case, it was a good experience, and I definitely liked the moments I was able to capture.