Jimmy's blog

Happier Happy Hour

June 21st, 2009

Happier organized a post positive psychology conference happy hour. Apparently all the hot shots of positive psychology had attended this conference. I met some interesting people for example, Robert Biswas-Diener. He’s described as the “Indiana Jones of positive psychology” because he has studied subjects in remote places such as Bangladesh and Kenya.

I’ve covered a good number of happy hours now. They’re always fun because you’re shooting people and also there’s booze around (sometimes free). Nightlife though can be very tricky to shoot because of two factors. First, there’s never enough natural light so you basically have to shoot with flash. Second, there’s a lotta people to maneuver around so you have to get in close. A wide angle lens is really all you can use. Also, you obviously can’t just set up a couple flashes on top of light stands.

What I’ve found to work quite well after seeing many other photographers do the same is to hold a flash in one hand and hold the camera with the other. I like to add a small softbox to the front of the flash to diffuse the light. This way you can get very crisp pictures of people.


Keeping a low shutter speed can blur out the background while the subjects that are hit by the flash are still sharp because of the short bust of light of the flash. This can create some additional fun effects. Robert Biswas-Diene’s picture can be found in the last picture in the slideshow after the jump. Positive psychology is about being happy. I guess it’s working because everyone in the pictures has a huge smile on their face.

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