Starting tomorrow, I’ll be shooting the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. It’s the 3rd year in a row I’ve shot this show, and I know from experience that a very challenging conference to shoot. Web 2.0 Summit is a single track event with short sessions and more than one thing happening at once all day long. Not only are the big names going to be on stage, they’ll be in the audience and out in the hallways. And every possible shot is important.
One of the ways that I
cope prepare for such a big event is to make sure that I’ve got the right assets in place. This includes having just about every piece of gear that I own on site, including all of my camera bodies and lenses, portable flashes, larger strobes, and lots of gaffer tape. It also includes having a capable assistant shooter with me and I’m fortunate that Pınar Ozger will be shooting with me. And, very importantly, it includes a lot of pre-visualization about what’s going to happen.
One of the ways helps me figure out what needs to happen is to prepare a Lightroom catalog for the flood of images that will come in. I do this by setting up a brand new catalog and then going through the conference schedule and identify all the shots that I’ll need, making a folder for each one. Doing this gives me a sense of how the event will flow as well as makes me think about the shots that I need to get. As well, it means that I don’t have to decide my folder hierarchy while in the middle of the shoot. Sure, I’ll fine tune this hierarchy as I go, but knowing the big picture is already sorted means that I’ll be able to work that much faster when things get hectic.
Here’s a view of my Web 2.0 Summit catalog as it stands right now:
In just a few days, all those folders are going to be full of photographs and I’m sure that the tree will have expanded with some new categories that I didn’t expect. But, I’m that much closer to being ready. And, after preparing all that you can, approaching a big shot is simply a matter of execution.
Of course, there’s still one more bit of preparation that I need to do. It’s almost a tradition of mine before many big gigs. Tonight, after settling into the hotel room, I’m going to give all of my lenses a good cleaning and make sure that my sensors are free of dust. It’s quite therapeutic really.