Recently I had the opportunity to be an accredited photographer at the 2013 JUNO Awards here in Regina. I also did voluntary photography for the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) photographing a few of the JUNO Week festivities, a MusiCounts event as well as the JUNO Awards Gala and dinner. I gained so much experience during these few days and probably the most important aspect I learned about photography was the importance of eye contact. This sounds really simple but when you have over 15 photographers trying to get a photo of one person in front of a step and repeat, that task gets really tricky.
At the MusiCounts event, the Tenors performed and sang with the O’Neil High School Choir. After the event, the children gathered around to take photos of with the band. My assignment was to get photos of the band members with the kids. Simple right? Well immediately after the event, MusiCounts wanted the images for the press release. My contact and I went through the images as I downloaded them from my camera and fell in love with the image to the left. However the shock came when she said she couldn’t use it because the band member in the center wasn’t looking into the camera. This certainly was a disappointment but when I got to the JUNO Awards Gala I realized and understood why all the photographers on the Green Carpet were shouting at the top of their voices “eyes left!, eyes right!, eyes over here!”. It made sense. If there wasn’t any eye contact in their photos, they wouldn’t get published and if their photos are not published they won’t get paid!
This was an eye opener for me and it enabled me to muster up some courage before I hit the Red Carpet the next day for the big show. When I got there I shouted with the big boys, determined to get that crucial eye contact in many photos as possible. I can only imagine what the red carpet at other high profile events like the Oscars and the Grammys must be like. Upon reviewing my photos, the images with the celebrity looking directly at the camera have an exclusive feel and makes it seem as if I were the only photographer there and that the celebrity was giving me all their attention. I guess it’s this exclusivity that the media houses are after on the red carpet.
Another interesting aspect about this event was how organized it was. Members of the press are pampered. We had an open bar, an all-you-can-eat buffet, and card runners who took our camera cards back to the media room while we continued to shoot. The most interesting feature however occurred every time before a celebrity appeared on the red carpet. One of the event organizers came out with a little white board with the name of the next celebrity or band to make an appearance. We then took a photo of the white board so that we would be able to correctly caption the following images later when downloading them from their camera.
The JUNO Awards certainly strengthened my skills in event photography and now I feel much more comfortable working at high profile events like this.
Here are some of my highlights from this experience.
PS- You can also view some my images at the following links: