Client Shoot: Johnnie Walker Jet Black F1 Party

Posted on October 20th, by Danny Santos II in Client Work, Event Photography. 18 comments

Johnnie Walker Jet Black F1 Party in Singapore

Every year, the F1 race in Singapore always makes big waves making it one of the most hotly anticipated event in the country. About a week prior to this year’s race, I received a call from Fadilah who works for a PR firm. She asked me if I could shoot an exclusive party they were holding the night of the F1 race – the Johnnie Walker Jet Black F1 Party. It was going to be held at One on the Bund, a pretty posh resto bar in Clifford Bay. I’ve never done any event photography before, but I couldn’t resist a chance like this. When I said yes, I was nervous and excited… mostly nervous.

I was supposed to shoot on the nights of Saturday and Sunday, but I was scheduled to be in Malaysia for another client shoot until Sunday morning. So I could only afford shoot at the 2nd night. When I got there, I met this other photographer they hired for the event, Todd Beltz. He’s an american photog based here in SG. Great guy. During the orientation, they assigned him to shoot posed shots of guests, and I was assigned to shoot candids “pretty much what you we see in your blog.” Ok, so I figured they liked my work, so I’ll just do what I do in the streets. My nervousness turned to excitement. But as it turned out, shooting a night party was a different beast from shooting in the streets, particularly because of the light.

I sort of anticipated this, so I rented out a full-frame camera (D700) and a 24mm f1.4 lens to make sure that I can take photos even with very low light. In addition to this, I brought along my trusty gear in street shooting, my D300 and 85mm f1.4. I also attached a flash gun with the 24mm just in case I needed it. So there I was, walking around the event lugging around 2 cameras. It took me quite a while to adjust to the environment. The party started out slow, so it was easier for me to anticipate the light and compose. But as the party started to pick up, shooting got a bit harder. I got a lot of shots over-exposed and out of focus, but I kept shooting and adjusting the settings in my camera until I got it right.

Johnnie Walker Jet Black F1 Party in Singapore

Overall, it was a grueling but fun 4 hours of dancing and partying. And it was a great first time experience for me. I think I like doing these event shoots. It’s almost like shooting candids in the streets, only I don’t have to worry about being discrete and getting slapped in the face by an unwilling subject. In fact, everybody wants to be in the shot that it’s almost hard to get a candid one.

18 thoughts on “Client Shoot: Johnnie Walker Jet Black F1 Party

  1. Great work Danny! Yes, event photography is an exciting rush. Lighting is always a challenge and it will test your photo skills and knowledge of your camera. But it looks like you were a master by the end of the night.

  2. hi, danny,
    I thought of something similar but with rock concerts this week
    It was my first time but did not have the pressure of a contract! I learned so much!

    especially to work completely in manual, and forget the flash of the camera,
    gives poor results. lot of manual white balance to eliminate red tones and other

  3. @Constantine & Nasuha: I updated my blog to include the gear I used… I had 2 camera bodies (D300 & D700) with a 24mm and 85mm, both f1.4 lenses to make sure I could shoot at low light. But I still attached a flash gun on one body in case I needed it. I used manual exposure most of the time. Whenever I use the flash, I try to drag the shutter to include the ambient lights into the shot.

  4. Hi Danny,

    Just wondering, is there any specific reason why you choose prime lens for the event (other than they are fast)? I’m not a pro photographer but I went to several of my friends’ weddings or parties for candid shots… and the biggest problem of using prime lens is available space. It’s hard to compose when I have limited space and can’t move around freely. Any tips?

    Btw, great shots!… I especially like the bottom-right of the first photo and top left of the second :-).

  5. @Gm: Well, that’s actually the main reason why I prefer primes, that it’s very fast. Another reason is that it makes you anticipate the framing before you even peek through the viewfinder, plus when capturing candids, you barely have enough time to zoom the lens. I understand not being able to move around freely, that’s why I used a normal tele (85mm) along with a wide lens (24mm)… :)

  6. so in 4 hours, how many shots did you take in total? and how many were supplied to the client?
    Do you get time to photoshop these many photos ?(i am assuming atleast a 50!)

  7. Well done, Danny! The shift from street to event photography is hard, especially when it is a paid client! I had a tough time shooting under artificial lights and yet, adjusting while at the event meant missing some great shots. Well, practice makes perfect. Good luck with future events, am sure you’ll do a bang’on job!

  8. Cool event photos. I think events are a little bit easier for me because picture taking is already going on and people are drinking, so people kind of expect it…unlike the streets. Great portfolio!

  9. Hey Danny,

    How are you? Just found your blog. Great work man. Thanks for the shout out about me as well. Really appreciate it. :) How’s work going for you these days?

    Keep in touch bro and hope to work with you again sometime.



  10. Congratulations. I am sure it was difficult, but as I can see from the results, you did a great job.

    By the way, what was the response from the firm that hire you? were they sattisfied?

  11. Pingback: The Parties We Can Go To This F1 Weekend And How To Get In: PART 2 « Estelle Kiora's Blog: Love You Wrong Time

  12. Pingback: The Parties We Can Go To This F1 Weekend And How To Get In: PART 2 | Love You Wrong Time

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