ANS Arty Party

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ANS Arty Party

In this post I’ll be letting you know what I got up to at the ANS Arty Party.  With a stunning mansion house setting, a variety of performances and some beautiful evening light; all of the ingredients for great event photography were there.  The changing light and constant swapping between shooting inside and out kept me on my toes and added that extra challenge to keep me at my best.

The Story

Those who have been following the blog for some time will know that I have done quite a lot of work with Arts Network Sutton.  It all started in the Summer of 2014 when I volunteered to photograph a number of their IMAGINE festival events.  These gave me a great opportunity to build up a portfolio and further develop my photography skills.  I covered a variety of events and blogged about them all.  Take a look at my post summarising the festival to get a flavour of what went on.

“I was free so I jumped at the chance.”

With such a great working history I was delighted to hear from Arts Network Sutton when they contacted me to ask if I was available to cover the ANS Arty Party at Nonsuch Mansion on the 2nd of July 2015.  A quick check of the diary showed I was free so I jumped at the chance.

The Day of the Shoot

The ANS Arty Party was taking place in the early evening so I had plenty of time to prepare my kit and do some research.  I had a quick look at photos of the venue and looked up the various acts who would be performing to get an idea of what to expect.  With a variety of environments to shoot in I packed quite a full kit bag to cover all eventualities.

In my kit bag:

  • Nikon D7100
  • Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 AF-S DX
  • Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S DX
  • Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR
  • Nikon SB-600 Flash
  • 64 GB Sandisk Extreme SDXC Card
  • Spare batteries for camera and flash

Click on pictures for full size images

Nikon D7100, 35mm, f/1.8, 1/100s, ISO 400

I arrived at the ANS Arty Party venue nice and early and had a wander around the mansion grounds to take in the light and enjoy the scenery.  On making my way into the building I was greeted by a familiar face and shown around the building.

“A large window let light pour into the room.”

On my tour I met with the cast of Savvy Alice who would be performing later in the day.  They were busy getting made up for the performance and I couldn’t resist some behind the scenes photos to kick off the story of the event.  A large window let light pour into the room and so I was able to take some nice natural light candid portraits.

ANS Arty Party
Nikon D7100, 35mm, f/1.8, 1/100s, ISO 1000

The AGM which had been taking place was now over and guests were starting to arrive for the ANS Arty Party.  The first performance of the day was by musician David Grout.  The room was starting to fill with guests and the ambient light was still quite bright despite it being 8pm.  I shot many angles of the performance, including the one you see here which I feel helps to set the scene and tell the story of the event.

“I love the 35mm Nikon prime.”

With the light pouring in through the massive windows I had to carefully manage my exposure to ensure the guests weren’t silhouetted against the window.  As a result the windows are over exposed but this backlighting look is popular and I feel it has resulted in a great image.  I love the 35mm Nikon prime for it’s fast aperture and sharp images but am also starting to appreciate the fact it is forcing me to experiment more with composition.

I really enjoyed the chilled out performance from David, be sure to check out his website.

3D Printer
Nikon D7100, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 1600

In another room staff from The Corner Gallery had a stall showcasing a 3D printer and pen.  I love all things tech and have never seen a 3D printer in the flesh so this was right up my street.

“This was right up my street.”

The curtains were drawn to emphasise the light from the printer and so I pulled my ISO setting up to compensate.  I had a play with a few angles but the table was set up in a corner and I was finding it hard to get a composition that worked.  I settled on the detail shot you see here, using the light from the printer as a backlight for some of the products.  Why not take a look at their facebook page!

The main event of the ANS Arty Party was soon upon us, a shortened version of Savvy Alice performed by the Savvy Theatre Company.  This is a unique version of Alice in Wonderland with lots of fun and laughs.  Great for children of all ages.  The cast were mixing with guests before the performance generating some great, fun photo opportunities.

“I switched over to my 70-300mm lens.”

The performance was taking place in the grounds of the mansion and was spread out over some considerable distance.  I switched over to my 70-300mm lens and made use of the extra focal length to cover the madness without annoying the audience or getting in anyones way.  The longer focal length also helps to give a shallower depth of field and gives a compression effect to the images.  I was really happy with the results.  Check out the Savvy Theatre Company website.

Savvy Alice
Nikon D7100, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 200
Harry Satcher
Nikon D7100, 65mm, f/4.5, 1/50s, ISO 1000

The ANS Arty Party moved back inside after the show and I put my flash to good use as things darkened down for the evening.  The Harry Satcher Band took to the floor and livened things up with some rock and blues music.  I was had quite a lot of space to work around them and so experimented with my 35mm prime and 18-70mm zoom.  Although this was technically an event photography gig I was pleased to be able to get some music and performing arts shots in the bag too.

“I always find it challenging to work around microphones.”

The room behind the band was cluttered with all sorts of things which didn’t really make great backdrop for photos.  This led me to hunt around for compositions that kept the clutter out of shot.  I really like this shot of Harry doing his thing as he has come away from the microphone.  I always find it challenging to work around microphones, especially if they are on stands as I want to capture photos of the artists face without distractions.

Take a look at the Harry Satcher Band Facebook page.

I also shot a line dancing activity and a DJ set as part of the ANS Arty Party event.  The line dancing was especially challenging to shoot as most of the routine involved the participants facing in towards each other.  Nobody wants to see the back of a load of heads!  I managed to get a few good shots and event the Mayor of Sutton got involved in the action!

After the Event

I got home from the ANS Arty Party quite late and had an early start the next day assisting at a wedding so the photos had to wait a few days to be processed.  I did my usual selection and editing in Lightroom and then uploaded the pictures to an event gallery I had created.  I am now using Shootproof to host client event galleries and manage digital and print sales.  Check out the full event gallery which will be online until 1st September.

With the variety of acts involved I’ve been quite busy on social media, distributing links to all involved and sharing sneak peek images.  I really feel that going to this extra effort adds a lot to the service I provide.  Being a photographer is not just about taking photos on the day, to offer a great service there is much more work to be done behind the scenes.

Thanks for reading!  Feel free to share comments below.

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