Dean O'Brien's Blog

Professional Experience: The Royal Wedding Celebrations in New York

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When going to New York last week I had a number of projects in mind.  This first project however was to cover and document the Royal Wedding.  It is well known that the Americans love the British Royal Family and I wanted to capture this.

Now my first plan of action was to contact various places in NY that were hosting parties and celebrations.  The first being an English tea shop that had been covered in the papers here in the U.K.  I contacted them via emil letting them know my intentions and if they minded me covering their event.  Two emails later and I still had no response so decided to look elsewhere.  Now fate played a massive part here.  My hotel was located around the corner from Times Square.  It just so happened that Times Square were showing the wedding on a massive tv screen and were holding numerous celebrations here as well to commemorate the day.  This was where I was going to base the bulk of my project.

Taking on board what I had learnt a month earlier when assiting a shoot with Peter Dench (who was doing a shoot relating to the wedding),  I knew to look for details.  To capture the feeling and mood.  Yes indeed regardless of what many think of my escapades work experience with the ‘denchmeister’, he had indeed taught me a thing or two.

In Times Square there were crazy celebrations including a full blown wedding fashion show being televised live on stage.  I tried to minimise lens changes by shooting with a 70-300mm zoom.  This also allowed me to stay in the background and not impose into peoples private space.  I also had the option to zoom in on details from a fair distance away.  This is what I wanted.  To capture details and moments.

Although this was in America it did have a very British feel to the day.  Ladies were dressed for a real wedding with kids dressed equally as smart.  Flags from both countries were being waved although the union jacks did have the edge.  There were plenty of smiling faces which makes the job easier.  Far too many times have I had the snide comments and remarks when shooting openly on the street.  Today was different.  A happy occasion with happy people.

Technically I knew what kit to carry due to completing so many assignments for the Coventry Telegraph.  This is where work experience pays off.  I felt in total control of the project which I was doing.  A new found confidence I might add.  I only had to change lenses once to shoot wide so that I could capture the whole area.

Problems on the day were minimal.  I was allowed access into the main arena where the televised event and wedding show was taking place which helped immensely.  Had I not been this would have been a major set back.  Working with a rucksack on your back seems to be an art in itself,  but it does mean that you know where your kit is at all times.  Again. as I had been working at the Coventry Telegraph the previous couple of weeks, a rucksack on my back was something which I was now used to.

On reflection this project was a success I feel, but I want to put that down to previous internships.  Working with Peter Dench and at the Coventry Telegraph had taught me how to shoot in these situations.  People skills are as important as knowing how to work your camera.  Some may say, even more so.

I know that the work does not stop here.  Peter Dench was actually covering the Royal Wedding in the U.K so I have forwarded him a link to this post asking for his feedback on the images taken.  Good or bad, I will  take it all on board and learn from it.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

May 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm

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