Photographing the AGM

The Supporting Cast

I had an opportunity recently to photograph Eva’s Initiative Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Toronto, an event that combines the year-end business reporting with an array of awards for talented young individuals. I’ve been to AGMs before, but never photographed one.

The event took place at their print shop facility which had a small but usable room to accommodate the roughly 75 or so attendees. Having never seen the facility, I arrived (on my bicycle) early enough to scout out the location and see what obstacles I may have to overcome. The room had black curtains across the back of a temporary stage and provided a nice backdrop. I was directed to a seat at the front where I could “pop up” at the appropriate time to take a photograph. Of course, in a room this small, sending off flashes of light every time I took a shot I would be noticed and may become irritating if not careful.

Before the event started, I took what I call “context” photographs – people getting set up, volunteer help, food preparation, sound tests, etc. Fun stuff.

I used my SB-900 with the 24-120mm f4.0 which, from my relatively close proximity to the stage, gave me really great coverage. Before arriving, they had sent me a “script” with highlights where they wanted photographs. The script was 32 pages long and there was at least one photo request on every page. I wasn’t sure what I got myself into at that point.

After the business portion, the rest of the program was hosted by the kids and they did a great job of being fresh, entertaining and making for a fun evening for everyone. I limited myself to three photographs per award and for the most part, the first was usually bang on. My biggest challenge is in timing the shot while someone is talking, not posing with an award. I would normally anticipate a pause in a speech and try to catch that transitional moment, but many speakers say “um” or some other syllable and I end up with shots of wide open mouths. Patience is a virtue in this profession.

Then there are times when it all comes together, when you catch someone in a reflective moment or caught up in the emotion. Tired at the end, I was happy to be a part of the celebration and able to catch some great moments.



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