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Community photography

Sams Dream and other events #photography

Soft focus

I’m getting better at photographing events and last Tuesday I was at the local library for an evening of poetry, spoken word and music. I shot some video last month, but this time, I wanted to take still photos and use a professional flash because the lighting was mixed and that is always difficult. I used a wide aperture for nearly all the shots and tried spot focusing on individual people. Then I decided to try something different and removed the flash and fitted a soft focus filter, boosting the ISO up to 12,500.

LIB (72)

In this shot, I have the foreground out of focus, with the wide aperture and the background in soft focus with no flash and mixed lighting. The shot is a bit noisy because of the very high ISO, but the noise is hardly noticeable.

Sam’s Dream

Last night, I took some photographs at Spices Restaurant in Wednesbury where there was a fundraiser for Sam’s Dream. Sam need’s SDR surgery to help him walk normally and the event raised over £1,000 towards the cost.


This is Sam with his dad Simon and sister Lisa. I use a wide aperture for most shots last night and the professional Speedlight. The Speedlight is controlled by the camera using TTL (through the lens) control. I did have minor problems with the Speedlight, it was slow charging at times. The restaurant was quite dark and candle lit so I needed wide aperture shots but for ‘crowd’ shots went narrower to F 6.3 for shots like this one. I tried shots a couple of times without the flash, but the noise was quite obvious.


Events are a bit hit and miss and I want natural photos. This means wide apertures and fast shutter speeds to capture the movement. The best shots tend to be the close-ups.


Events change quickly and even though Sam can’t walk, he still tried and managed to explore a little. Capturing moments like that needs the right settings on the camera ready to take advantage of those moments in time.


Sams Dream

This was probably my best shot of the night, of Sam, with Councillor Elaine Costigan who has supported Sams Dream to walk from the beginning. I’m sure this shot will have a good chance of making the front page of the local newspaper.


This is Sam meeting local entertainer Helen James who provided the evening’s entertainment. Again, I used a wide aperture and spot focusing. It is important to use a single focus point and get that on your main subject. Parts of the shot will be slightly out of focus, but that is hardly noticeable. I was on the opposite side of the room and so the 18 – 105 lens gave me just enough zoom to get the shot.

You can photograph events with a bridge camera, but for this event, a DSLR with TTL control of the Speedlight gave me much better shots than a bridge camera would have. You would have similar problems with a smartphone too.

If you would like to follow this blog and receive an email each time I post just enter your email address at the top of the sidebar or follow me on Twitter for updates. You can find more photos on my Facebook page.

You can donate to Sams Dream on the Go fund me site, just click the link. Incidentally, I removed the apostrophes from Sams Dream for technical reasons!

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