How I Photograph Big Events Using Wireless, iPhoto2, and a Canon 10D

by Derrick Story

I've been covering O'Reilly conferences for a few years, and thanks to Apple, Adobe, and Canon technologies, I really enjoy the process of quickly moving pictures from camera to web. This week I'm working the Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon. Even though you might not have a week-long event on your photo docket right now, I thought you might be interested in the process we use for these large events so you can take away what applies to your shooting.

My two favorite cameras right now are the Canon 10D and the G2. I use a bracket to move the 550EX flash above the camera, which moves the shadows down out of view and eliminates red eye. A Off-Camera Shoe Cord 2 enables the flash and camera to communicate.

After I've gathered a series of shots, I usually find a table in the wireless lounge area and upload the images to iPhoto 2 where I sort and process my selections using an AppleScript that taps Photoshop 7 for resizing and adjustments.

I also title the pictures and write their captions in iPhoto 2. That way I only have to enter this information once, and it persists with the images no matter how I output them. I organize the photos into custom albums.

When it's time to send everything to the web producer back at the office in Sebastopol, I select the pictures I want to publish and choose the "output to email" feature in iPhoto 2. The application grabs all of my images, titles, and captions and organizes them in an email ready to send.

Since we always have wireless connectivity at O'Reilly conferences, I transfer the pictures right there from the conference floor to the Sebastopol office. The producer grabs the info and dumps them into predesigned templates and hits the "publish" button. If we want, we can have images and captions of a keynote address online before the speaker leaves the stage.

After the conference is over, I output the pictures by category to HTML using the BetterHTMLExport plug-in for iPhoto 2. I basically build a photo web site, then burn it to CD that's delivered to O'Reilly Marketing and Conferences groups. Anyone with a web browser can view the catalog, read the captions, and even download the hires versions of the photographs. I often include a QuickTime movie with a soundtrack on the CD. That is also generated directly out of iPhoto 2. I then archive the entire project on a separate FireWire hard drive and on to DVD.

Thanks to the evolution of digital photography and wireless connectivity, the costs for end to end delivery is about half of what it would be with film-based photography. If you want to see coverage from a previous conferences, take a look at the People of Technology page on Story Photography.


2003-07-08 18:32:25
Here's a request
It is interesting to read how all this comes together.

If the opportunity arises during the conference, it would be nice to see a group shot with some of your fellow authors/bloggers.

2003-07-09 12:28:56
How about GraphicConverter
I have PS 7, although, I am sure a lot of people don't considering its steep price, but most of this can be done with GC from Lemke software. How about some scripts for doing that and some info for using GC next time.
2003-07-11 10:00:19
What lens?
I've been looking hard at the Canon 10D as my next camera. Which lens did you get? I've been considering the Sigma 15-30 and the Canon 17-40L.