Press Photography – 10 Tips for Shooting at 10 Downing Street
Press Photography at 10 Downing Street
Lensi Photography offer Press Photography in Birmingham and Nationally.
We have captured some of the major news events we all see on front pages of the worlds medisAs press photographers we though it may be useful to offer tips for those wanting to do more press photography, and what more iconic press photography is there than photography at one of the most famous streets in the UK. Number 10 Downing Street, the Home of the Uk Prime Minister.
Press Photography – Number 10 Downing Street
We have all seen those iconic images shot in one of the UK’s most iconic and well known streets, Lady Margaret Thatcher leaving number 10 with a tear in her eye after three consecutive terms in office.
Gordon Brown walking out of Downing Street with his family.
The Chancellor of each Parliament preparing to deliver the budget.
You may be wondering how you get to shoot at the famous number ten?
Here are ten tips for this :
1 – you must have an NUJ (National Union of Journalists) Press Card. It proves you are an official journalist, nothing else will be excepted. See the NUJ website on acquiring one of these if you do not already have one.
2 – Be prepared for an airport style search and scan of all your equipment. The street was gated in during the time that the IRA were very active; so everyone will be searched.
3 – The Press Pen is about 30 feet away from the door, a 70-200mm on a full frame camera is an ideal length. Some photographers also bring something longer, most will also have a wide angle with them too.
4 – Getting a Good Spot – the prime spot is smack bang opposite number 10. Most photographers will pile around this area, you may need to get there early to get this spot.
5 – Bring a ladder – as everyone wants the central spot, there will be a clump of photographers around this area, on varying height ladders; with those at the back being on 6ft and above sized ladders. As always be prepared to not be precious over personal space, photographers pack in tight!
6 – Wear / bring something warm – Even on a hot day the press pit is in the shade, so gets none of the natural sunlight. You will often be waiting for hours to ensure you get a good spot before your shoot begins. It’s no fun being cold when you are shooting.
7 – Be prepared – although you may have been waiting for hours, your shooting time will literally be minutes, even seconds in some cases. The Prime Minster or an official guest leaving or arriving, and not even really posing for the cameras. I recently shot the US first family the Obamas, Michelle waved as the entered and left number 10, her daughters and mother who accompanied her literally did not look at the camera. Be aware that not all guests will pose. Know who you are there to shoot and what they look like, again if that person steps out of a car that you do not expect, you want to be ready to get the shot that you need to get
8 – Commit to how you are going to shoot before hand – what do you need from the arrival? what is the money shot? Will you use flash or not? I was shooting with a 24-105 and 70-200 on one occasion, and int he seconds it took me to lift one camera from my strap and drop the other (still also attached to my harness – don’t worry) I missed a crucial wave by David Cameron and his guests. Lesson learnt, shoot with whatever you have in your hand at the time, a no perfect shot is better than non at all.
9 – Speed – most people will be shooting for agencies or publications, as soon as the main event is over, a myriad of photographers will drop to the floor or retire to ‘the wall’ with coats over their heads to see the screen and begin to file their images. If you have a 4Gee Internet dongle it works in double speed in Downing Street, so this is the best place to file your images.
10 – These are some images, copyright of Lensi Photography of The First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to David Cameron at number 10 Downing Street. We were working for two photo agencies in delivering these images, which were filed and online within minutes. This type of press photography or event photography is not for for everyone, but it does harness you with excellent skills for other types of photography, such as speed in getting images edited, shooting in a fashion where only minimal editing is needed, and planning your shots beforehand.
Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival
Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival
Lensi Photography offer event photography for festivals and all types of events, from conferences to corporate events to personal events.
This year Lensi Photography were one of the event photographers for The Parklife Festival in Manchester. As always The Parklife Festival 2015 did not disappoint, a great mixture of Artists and DJ’s, a myriad of tents and stages that festival goers would be entertained by, great security and planning, all in all a great festival.
If you are a photographer, and are covering a festival for the first time, this blog may be of use.
HOW TO COVER A FESTIVAL
1 – GET THERE IN PLENTY TIME BEFORE THE FIRST ACT YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH
Photographers will all give you stories of no one knowing how to direct them to the press room, confirmed passes not being where they should be, having to drag heavy kit across a field of drunk revellers or the press room simply being miles away.
So if the first act you plan to shoot is on at 1, get there at at least 12, especially on the first day.
2 – FOOTWEAR AND CLOTHING
As a photographer, although it is hard work covering a festival (wear the most comfy footwear you have) and don’t be fooled by there being no rain, the festival WILL be muddy, wear your your wellies to be safe. Also bring a number of layers to pile on as it gets colder in the evening, I started out in shorts and a top, built up to a sweater, then a hoody on top of that, then changed shorts for leggings, and finally added a coat … once the sun drops it gets pretty cold, and although it may look and feel great in the day to be in your summer festival clothes, many women looked on at me envious by the time night came.
3 – ACTS PERFORMING
Know your acts!! There will be a host of celebrities and public figuresThe highlight of this years festival for me was Grace Jones, what a legend! What an honour to be able to shoot (photograph in none photographer speak) someone like her, the trail blazer for artists like Lady Gaga, and even at age 67, she still has it, and all minus cosmetic surgery! The press pit was full for her performance, which shows this was the shot that everyone wanted.
It will be impossible to cover everything, so work out who you want to cover beforehand or at the start of the day so that you have a plan. This will depend on who you are shooting for, some photographers need lots of crowd shots, some only need main stage acts and so on, you just need to be clear on what you need to shoot.
4 – EQUIPMENT
I carry two bodies on a Black Rapid Double Strap to a festival like this. Two Canon 5d3’s a wide angle and a telephoto zoom, one body would be lighter, but I prefer to carry two for speed when a shot appears and you need to suddenly have a different angle. Carrying my camera around my neck simply does not work for me, its painful and uncomfortable, being able to carry my equipment on my body is much more comfortable.
Some photographers also bring a 300mm (or above) in case we have a shoot from the mixer. Others also bring a super wide angle (if we are really close to the stage) or a fish eye (for those fun type shots), but this is just too much to carry around for me.
5 – WALKING, GETTING TO AND FROM STAGES
Most photographers will be filing back to their respective agencies / magazines / publications, so there will be a lot of time spent doing and fringe getting to the various stages, then heading back to the press room to upload your images. A plus for this year was that we were transported via buggy a few times, which really saved on the legs! (image courtesy of fellow tog and Friend Paul Torode)
6 – HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT TYPES OF IMAGES YOU WANT
Research images from pervious events, it will give you an idea of what kind of spaces and backdrops you will be working with. From an image point of view images taken at night or in the various tents look amazing as the lighting is always well put together.
The more you photograph these events the more you learn and know what to look out for, for example Rudimental who have won awards for their festival performances always enter stage with a jump from their front guy, going out into the crowd to shot the main stage from far away once your press pit time is over also may get you some exclusives as well as a great full stage shots, such as the ‘Disclosure’ shot in this set.
I also shoot video snippets (which can be found on our YouTube Channel) as it adds a little more life to your coverage, and is great for most agencies and publications.
7 – SHOOT WIDE AND TIGHT, NEAR AND FAR, USE YOUR 15 MINS / THREE SONGS WISELY
You will get the first three songs or 15 minutes of a DJ set in the pit. Use this time effectively. Resist any temptation you may have to let go and enjoy the music, you are not there to party! Get your shots, and then you may relax for a bit …until you have to head to the next stage.
It can be tempting to get close up shots of some of your favourite artists, shots where they can clearly be seen, but be sure to also get wide ones, where they form a tiny part of the image. Some of my favourite shots from this year are shot way away from the stage, after your time has finished in the pit, don’t be scared to walk into the crowd to get a different angle. I shot these once our 15 mins were finished in the pit.
8 – MAKE FRIENDS!
Your first time at a festival can be daunting! The pros will know where to go for what time, the quickest way to the different tents and so on. I remember my first festival I fought my way through crowds many times to get to a particular stage, to then find out that photographers can take a backstage route!
Festivals are generally friendly places, (not all photography environments are!) and I have made some really good friends who are also fellow photographers there. I have helped people out with batteries and memory cards and shooting, as they have me. It’s also nice to be able to work and have someone to talk to and laugh with. It is most definitely still work, but it is great fun too!
9 – EARPLUGS
Bring some unless you wish to sacrifice your hearing for the sake of getting your shots! The speakers are designed to project to thousands of people in front of a stage, and you are standing next to them ….figure that one out!
10 – TOILETS
Bring sanitiser and tissue, these are festival toilets, need I say more?!! Unless you have VIP tickets, which have assigned cleaners who monitor the tissue, cleanliness etc.
Roll on next year, and more festivals!
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