To me photographing the LDS General Conference has always been a challenge. When you go down there every six months it is hard to come up with different looking photos that you haven’t shot before, when the subject are photographing doesn’t really change. Speakers, choir, etc.
Then add the fact that photographers are only allowed to work in certain areas of the building make it tough to get something different. They do this because of security, and the fact that a bunch of guys walking around with cameras can be a little distracting. I thought I would walk you through what it is like to photograph the conference and show you the different types of photos that can be made there.
First off here is a diagram of the conference center. Basically where there is a red line or an x is a spot we can shoot from at anytime during the session, with the exception of the two spots marked in the lower corners of the terrace. These two positions are only available just before the session starts and from the closing song to the end of the session.
I thought that I would just go through all the positions and show you the different looks that you can get from each one. I’ll be using this same wide angle photo to show you where I am referring.
The first three positions are labeled with the X. They are seats that are located halfway down in the lower level. These spots are where you need to be to photograph a close up shot of the speaker or the choir. Typically this is where the church has their shooters to get a tight shot of each speaker. You are only time you are allowed to access or leave these seats when the choir sings, or in between speakers so if you decide to to go there you might be stuck in that position for a while. Here are a couple of photos from these seats.
The next other spot we can photograph from on the lower level is back against the wall. Here we are able to move around whenever we feel like since there isn’t anyone behind us. Personally I have never liked photographing from here except to get a wide angle shot of the whole building.
The next two spots are some of my favorites. They are up in the balcony along the back wall and in the corner. Like in the lower level the back wall we can walk along at any time but the corner position can only be accessed between speakers. The reason I like shooting from up here is that you are too far away to get a close up photo of the speaker, so you are allowed to get a little creative.
The final position is off to the side. The only time you are allowed there is before the session starts, and during the closing song until the end of the session. This position is created to get photo of the General Authorities as they enter and exit the building. You can also get some decent photos of the choir from here.
The final spot we can photograph from is not an “official” spot. On the side of the choir there is a bank of windows. The top one is accessible and if you really nice to the right P.R. person they can unlock the elevator to take you up there. The room is really small and only 2-3 people and fit into it at a time. It does provide a really unique angle since you are behind the speaker. I like how all the tv monitors at the feet of those on the stand glow, also if you shoot with a really long lens you can isolate just the speaker and the pulpit.
The rest of the time is just spend wandering around Temple Square looking for good photos. If you have any questions feel free to post a comment or send me an email. Also if you want to see some more photos click here to view the audio slideshow.