Truland Photography

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Playing Event Photographer

For the past couple of days I've been in Rochester, New York, helping to shoot the Synod Assembly of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Photographing events like weddings and conventions is not something I'd like to do for a living. There is a lot of pressure not to miss anything that someone will be expecting to be photographed.

When you're volunteering your time, the pressure is less. It also helps lessen the pressure that the entire event is being streamed live over the internet and recorded for posterity. A difference between a fluid convention and something like a wedding is that there are no posed photographs. In a way, it's more like documentary photography than a typical wedding shoot which mixes candids and posed shots.

In a big convention hall, lighting can be harsh and uneven and there is no practical way to use flash. While some photographers have no problem climbing on chairs or walking right up into the action, I approach it more like I were shooting wildlife - trying to be unobtrusive and grabbing candid shots where they are available.

I would not be a person to solely shoot an event like this but I think I can add a different perspective and some quality images to document the experience. All of the examples I included below were made with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO 1600. All except the photo of communion during the worship service were made with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM at F/2.8. The communion photo was made with the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM at f/2.

Nearly all the photos I made required white balance adjustment in post processing and most required exposure and contrast changes before saving as .jpg files. Cropping was mostly to remove distracting portions of the image.

I ended up with 46 shots in a gallery on my Zenfolio hosting site. The ones I uploaded there are ones I felt had both photographic interest and an importance to the event. Here are some examples. My favorite is the shot of Pastor Leonard Johnson. You can visit the gallery at

UPDATE: You can see how the photos were used in this PDF file 2012 Assembly Wrap-up. I provided all the photos except for the last two.

Synod Bishop Marie Jerge

Pastor Leonard Johnson, marking his 50th anniversary of ordination

Installation of elected officials

Communing at worship

Recognition of outgoing Secretary Sandy Moncrief

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