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Blurred Rush of Crowds

The rush of the crowd at the AWS re:Invent 2019 convention

One of the skills experienced Event photographers bring to our trade is knowing when a blurry photograph is a good photograph.

Usually we try to keep our shutter speed above 1/100 of a second when not on a tripod so that everything is crisp and in-focus. While some photography superstars like Joe McNally can hand-hold a 1-second exposure and still get a sharp photo, mere mortals generally need shutter speed to be at least 1/60 of a second or faster to keep it sharp.

Usually a blurry photograph is a failed photograph. But sometimes, like when we want to convey the motion and energy of a moment, we want all the motion we can get. Especially when we can juxtapose that motion against a rock solid item, as I have done in this photo, where the blurred rush of the crowd is contrasted by the sharp solid directional signage. There is no way that I could have gotten that sign so sharp at 1/6 of a second without bringing my tripod into the mix. A tripod is one of the tools that I bring to a big event photography gig just for this reason. For other reasons of creativity and craft I bring other tools, like battery-operated studio strobes on collapsible Cheetah-brand c-stands, lighting grids, speedlights with an array of color gels and grids, various doo-hickeys that let me attach speedlights to weird out-of-the-way places, a monopod with my camera atop tethered to a tablet running software that lets me live-view the composition of a high wide angle shot - kind of a poor man's drone.

Image by Las Vegas Event Photographers ExpoTraffic, courtesy of O Hello Media.

Filename: Las-Vegas-Event-Photography-by-EXPO-TRAFFIC-STEVEN-JOSEPH-FOGARTY-1065.jpg. 1/6; f/14.0; ISO 4000; 32.0 mm.