We shoot weddings too and we are around wedding vendors a lot. When Springdale Station had its grand opening, we helped them out with some event space photography while it was styled for the open house. This type of event setup photography is tougher to do well than most people think.
Photographing Tight Shared Spaces
Other vendors are in the space working. The time table is often more compressed than we as photographers would like. Sometimes there is no time when the room is “finished” before guests are allowed in. In many cases the room continues to change while we photograph it. We tend to approach this type of shoot like we would shooting the reception space for an actual wedding. They have the same complications after all: tight schedule, shared work space, and they are usually dense with details.
Shooting an open space like Springdale Station’s main reception hall requires a little more effort than finding the right angle, setting the exposure and clicking. The ceiling was white, but had open dark truss work and streamers hanging from it. Bouncing a light to evenly light the entire room was not a viable option. The schedule was such that we needed to shoot mid afternoon on a clear day. The bank of large picture windows showed a scene outside that was incredibly bright.
All these factors caused us to choose a more labor intensive method of making the photo than we would normally use in a space setup specifically for a photo shoot. We shot and composited it by lighting each table in the room individually. With this technique we can light each table however we would like and with enough light to properly expose the bright outside area. We then assemble the image in post to make a seamless whole. It also lets us remove unwanted elements from the final image like our own light stands and other vendors moving through the room.
Many of the other spaces in the video were simpler. They were more open allowing us locations where we could place our lights out of frame. Using direct light or bouncing light into the ceiling provided the illumination we wanted.