Party Picture Man Parish goes to a formal: in Flannel

Yep, Candid Party Photography: Back behind the viewfinder again. I have been shooting candids for a long time, off and on since 1995 to be exact. Several things are needed to become the memorable and effective photographer in the American Collegiate Greek system, and I have learned to roll it all together: having a good time, dodging drunks, working the crowd, working through the crowd, all while shooting pictures while my buck fifty self gets bounced around like a pinball in the crowd.

My buddy Kevin Beasley trained me and started me in this madness, up at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., and I have loved doing it ever since.  It is not going to make me a millionaire, but it helps me stay young, and I have some kinda fun. I meet all kinds of people, see tons of people that I know, and just have a good time cutting loose. BUT, I had to realize, I am not there for my fun, but to help the attendees remember the fun they had, and make them look good while I am at it. Pictures that suck, DO NOT SELL.

I dress in a way that if I get sprayed with a beer, splashed with liquor, and brushed with cigarettes, it does not faze me. Its cold, so I put on a vintage, but cool, blue, white, and yellow plaid flannel Dickies shirt, some nice dark blue jeans, raggedy old Doc Martens, and decently fixed hair. The event started at 7:15pm, and I was told to get there at 8:00pm, so I left the house at 7:30 sharp to get there and be ready to get going for 8:00, I strolled in, and found that this was a high falootin’, sure enough FORMAL. I walked in just in time to shoot the pictures of the new members of the sorority, being presented by their fathers, grandfathers, and other surviving male relatives. Once in a lifetime presentation. WHOOO! Dangit, Not expecting this! So I step up to the front, looking like I just put up the horses, and there is an active member with a DSLR, looks up at me with a look of “I’M PISSED/ THANK GOD/What the HECK?!”, and asks me “Are you with [insert company name here]?”
“Yes I am,” I say smiling and sweating at the same time.
“Good…”, and she hot footed it on out of there…
I smiled purposeful, widely, and made eye contact with each of the new members, all of them, while I made adjustments to my camera, and got them to look right. Member on my right, escort on my left, turn the camera with the right side up to get the bounced flash to “not set the young lady’s dress on fire”, so that the escorts black tie tux would eat up most of the light. All ninety “x” of them.
The sweat did not roll, but I was not dry whatsoever, and I had a lot of ground to make up for.
I think I did, as no one said anything after I told them what my marching orders were, and I shot over 400 shots that night. Danced and stepped (a dancing walk that I do) like a fool, sloshed through the spilled mixed drinks, took some self portraits also, and had an uneventful (thank God) party, and ended up with around 400 shots…


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