There’s nothing quite like a wine and food festival as a place to savour the tastes of summer. And one held among the vines right in a vineyard on a warm summer solstice eve is sure to be an extra special treat.
So when my sister asked if I would be interested in going along with her to help shoot such an event, I jumped at the chance. She had been asked by one of her clients to photograph the annual TD Tailgate Party that wraps up the Niagara New Vintage Festival.
My sister operates a busy marketing / communications / public relations consulting business (Winestains) in the Niagara area — one of Canada’s preeminent wine regions – and many of her clients are wineries or wine events. She’s always included photography in her social media contracts, but lately, more and more new clients have been asking for her event photography services.
We had travelled to southern Ontario to celebrate my sister’s birthday and her anniversary. But pro that she is, when the request came in, she didn’t want to let her clients down, so we decided to make a day of it — combining work with our passion for photography with spending time in each other’s company.
She knows how much I love photography and last year I had taken some shots at a Chardonnay festival we attended with her that she liked and was able to use. But being promoted to number two shooter at a wine event was an exciting new experience for me — one I relished and really learned from.
It struck me afterward that event photography is a bit of a mix of street photography, lifestyle photography and still life, all of which I have tried over the years.
You have to be fast, anticipate well, and shoot quickly (and a lot) in order to catch candid moments with good compositions, as you do in street photography. But you also want to show people in their best light, as you do in lifestyle and portrait photography. No odd expressions or embarrassing moments wanted here!
And wine and food events certainly require some set ups as does still life to showcase the “heroes” and the ambiance. At the back of your mind, you must always remember what the client is looking to convey to their audience through your images (a list of subjects and moods can be helpful) and continually aim to capture that.
We came home tired but happy that night. We had such a great time photographing the happy participants as they spent the evening socializing with friends and sampling new vintages and local favourites from all the winery partners as well as the yummy food offered by local vendors.
The next night was set aside for celebrating my dear sister. And celebrate we did! That is another story.