A few years back I was put in charge of all photographic media at the Opera Event Center in midtown Atlanta. Many of you may know Opera as one of the top 5 largest nightclubs in the U.S. but is is SO much more than that. It was my job to both show connective tissue between the nightclub venue and event center yet also show a professional and unique side of the event center that few get to see unless you are a client. This was NOT an easy task. Basically they wanted very professional and business oriented photos that on a second glance reminded the general viewer of the place where they partied with David Guetta or met their future husband on the dance floor while studying at Georgia Tech 8 years ago. No pressure right?
Instead of the standard white or gradient backdrop I decided to use the venue as the backdrop. for the thousands of people that visit the Opera Nightclub each weekend, one thing they always takeaway (sober or not) is the Grand Spectacle when they look up to see 2 vaulted levels of dancing bodies and some of the most magnificent chandeliers in existence. Yes, that's what I'll use.
but I do NOT want it to compete with my subject (the Staff) for attention. Solution: a 24mm f1.4 lens to both take in all the wide grandiose of the venue but also blow it out almost completely in soft bokeh.. just enough for the viewer to know where the photo was taken, but not to distract them..
A single softbox on a monolight adds just enough to balance out the image yet still allow natural light from the chandeliers to provide hair highlights. A tough mix, but I made it work.
Opera seemed quite happy with the result and thought I hit it on the head with the message they wanted to send about a place that offers so much more than the average Atlantian may know. I thought I'd blog about it because even though this was not one of my most "glamorous" shoots, It did set me u to be able to shoot some of the most amazing entertainers in the business today at a venue known for hosting the biggest and best in the world on a routine basis.