Titanic Belfast,for the foreseeable future is one of Belfast’s and Northern Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions. Created on the site of the original Titanic Slipway the new attraction is pulling in close to 1 million visitors a year. Whilst the site mainly caters for tourists by providing guided tours, shopping and food facilities the Titanic Belfast building also attracts businesses looking to hold company conferences, balls and similarly sized events.
I have been photographing events in Titanic Belfast since its opening last year. The much talked about Titanic staircase is situated in the main event space right at the top of the building in the Titanic Suite. This proves to be the space in which i am working most with companies who are hosting events in the building. At the moment i am being contact by companies from Northern Ireland as well as those farther afield in Scotland and England. Its amazing to think that Titanic Belfast has the ability to pull companies in from all around the UK and probably further afield.
My last job in Titanic Belfast was for the Association of Project Safety (APS). They have an annual awards night where they nominate and give awards to projects with exceptional levels of project safety, something the construction industry takes very seriously. This means that have delegates in attendance from all over the UK as not all the projects nominated are in the same country.
My brief as usual on the surface was fairly simple but as with most jobs once you actually start working on site things usually become a bit more complicated. The first thing that was requested from me was to photograph guests as they arrived on The Bridge, which is at the entrance to the Titanic Suite. A fairly simple affair on paper but when The Bridge area filled up with people it was very tricky to move around. I had to keep repositioning the speedlights depending on which way i was shooting and the huge glass windows meant i had to be careful with reflections.
Once all the guests arrived at Titanic Belfast they moved through for dinner. This was also the next part of the job for me. Once the guests were seated i had to photograph the room. This meant getting shots of the guests sitting down at tables but using a long lens so as not to disrupt them. I was also asked to get shots of the food as it was being served. Lighting in The Titanic Suite is ambient and relaxed which for me, without extra speedlights means dark images. Even at a high ISO and low shutter speed its hard to escape dark images. I would normally use two or maybe three speedlights for most of my work. For this i had all four speedlights out of the bag and on stands. Three where placed on stands and one was mounted to one of my cameras. They were all set to at least half or full power, super important to have replacement batteries for a job like this.
Once dinner was out of the way we got down to the main business of the awards. This was probably one of the easier sections of the evening as i had the lights all set up and ready to go. The winners were called to accept their awards on the Titanic Belfast staircase, i took several photographs then the host for the evening would call the next award out.
The final part of the evening is a call for the rest of the guests who weren’t involved in the awards ceremony to come and get a photograph on the main staircase of Titanic Belfast.
For an event of this size (around 150 guests) i photographed it by myself. Anymore than this and i would get some extra help in. I use two cameras, a D3s with a 70-200mm F2.8 lens and a D600 (plus grip) with the wider 24-70mm F2.8. Images for the client were edited and handed over within 48 hours of the event ending. Total cost to the client was £340.00 all in and i was on site from 7pm until 11pm.