Shooting the Show
Heli-Expo 2017 was marked by a sense of enthusiasm and optimism that has been building for a couple of years. There was plenty to see and plenty to shoot. I did both.
A good photo might even answer some unasked questions. Like, why is there an empty water bottle sitting front and center on the reception counter? Why are our briefcases and jackets in an unsightly pile? Why are my people not watching the passersby, engaging them, asking about their day or if they have any questions? My people are, instead, futzing with their phones or talking with each other! My neighbor's signage is overshadowing my more subdued graphics. Not his fault, maybe, but I don't like it.
First, if the purpose of the photos is in any way connected to showing the booth as it was, either as a reference or to say "we were there," at least one well-composed image should follow the rule of keeping the vertical elements truly vertical. What, you ask, does that mean?
This photo of the Indra booth shows the result of pointing the camera up to capture the height of the booth with no regard for keeping the vertical elements of the structure vertical in the image. (I apologize, Indra, for showing your booth in this way — I actually shot it properly but distorted it as an example.)
I agree all that carpet is not doing much good in the image — sucking up pixels and inches without helping us evaluate or celebrate the booth. So I crop the image after it's taken and now we see the booth, no extra carpet and still distortion free. (Of course, if the camera were not level, in roll, the entire image would be tilted, an easier condition to note before you take the picture and to correct afterwards with a computer.)
Must you always, always keep the verticals vertical? Of course not. Just be sure it's a choice and not poor technique. Here's an Airbus H145 shot from floor level looking up. What in reality are vertical structures are converging wildly, adding intentional energy to the composition. The rafters and rotor blades are zig-zagging across the top, the nose of the helo is thrust toward us, and the spotlight, FLIR, and others accessories are highlighted. Good stuff!
This doesn't cover all the factors that figure into photography at a trade show, but it gives you a good start at coming back with images for which you don't have to make excuses, right? And if you're like me, you can also come back with an image that makes you smile. Here's one such image. Enjoy.
Keywords: aviation, booth, convergence, distortion, exhibit, exhibition, helicopter, parallax, photography, purpose, question, questions, technique, trade show, vertical, verticality
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Photography is a massive field. Aerospace photography less so. In these writings I share stories and tips.