Group picture

“Where is the photographer?”
”Are you the photographer?”
”Mr XXX would like to have a group picture of us, please tell me where do we stand?”

I turned back and look the group. A crowd would be the appropriate word. Look, is not your normal 10-30 people in a group, But a group of nearly 80 people or maybe more. Mainly consists of old folks to be exact.

In my decade of taking so many group pictures, covering big group of celebrities in a function, board of management in corporate, university undergraduates to top talented furniture designers from all over the world gather in a venue, nothing falter me.

But this was something different. I knew it was going to be challenging and i have to happily embrace it. I meant it. I like challenge and this is one of the moment that drives my inner leadership skill i had learnt during my army days.

I took a quick look around and decided where is the spot for such a crowd. I am very familiar with the venue for the past 10 years, hence it was a bonus to have that experience. I took a chair from the ballroom and carry it out to the open space. Removed my shoes, choose my precise spot for the group shot.

I raised my voice to get everyone attention. Some folks were alerted by my presence, some were busy talking in their own world catching up with each other. It took a while before i get everyone to stand where i wanted them to be. I quickly tested the scene exposure on my camera, as the sun was setting, the lighting can change quickly as time seep. No time to waste.

I always told people standing in front of me. If you cannot see me i cannot see you. Simple as that, i can’t remember where or who i learn this from, but this has been a line i had used for a long time. Especially if i don’t have the luxury of time to organise everyone properly, not to mention so many folks. Some were nice enough to actually squat down in the front, smart move, nobody will be blocking. The oldest folk in the crowd is a 89 year old man standing right infront, most were generally 50, 60 and above.

When i had compose properly and about to take a shot, there were a few more persons kept coming in, and this adds on and need to reorganise again, move my seat back and recompose, take the exposure again. Some people were still busy talking and i have to keep them focus with me. With 100 pairs of eyes on me and i only have one pair of eyes to overlook everyone is impossible, only quick glance and make the best adjustment i can in the group.

Finally i can make my shots, i told the crowd where to look at my lenses. I can see some people were still talking and i need to get their attention again. Quickly snap more, another 2 came into the frame again. I quickly adjusted backward. Am used to dealing with tight angle. I am on 16mm and it can cause a little distortion at the left and right end. I need to push on.

”Big smile”
”Look at my camera”
”Everyone look here”

It wasn’t that nerve wrecking to have everyone looking at me, i was very comfortable in fact. I took about 20 images in the end. Am sure there will be many people be block at the back, some not looking at camera, some were still chatting, a few close their eye due to the flash.

But am glad i did it, hopefully they will enjoy that wonderful reunion evening.

Cheers to many more years!

Cheers to many more years!