Project Kelowna Chamber Golf Classic

I have been extremely busy with events so far this season, and recently, I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the highly anticipated Kelowna Chamber Golf Classic event that took place at Harvest Golf Club this past May. This event attracts around 144 golfers each year, including top business and community leaders in Kelowna.

The tournament has a long history, with this being its 39th edition. It follows a Texas scramble format, making it accessible to golfers of all skill levels. Participants either register as a team of four or are paired up by the organizers. The event includes various activities, such as long drive assistance from the UBCO Heat golf team, and features significant cash prizes, including $40,000 for par 3 hole-in-ones and $5,000 worth of other prizes!

Beyond the golfing, the event is a fantastic networking opportunity, culminating in an awards dinner. It also supports charitable causes; in 2024, proceeds from the 50/50 draw will benefit the RISE Memorial - Kelowna Remembers.

The Shot List

The client wanted a comprehensive visual story of the day, highlighting not just the tournament but the vibrant interactions between players, vendors, and organizers. The goal was to move beyond the standard static shots of people golfing and capture the dynamic essence of the event.

As with each event or branding photoshoot, I ask for the shot list ahead of time so I understand the goal of my client and the purpose of the images. This day's shot list included:

  • Two group shots (formal and fun)
  • Golf foursomes
  • Pre-tournament practice
  • Sponsors at each of the holes
  • Speeches & Awards
  • Food

Each of these categories required a different approach and attention to detail, making the day both busy and thrilling.

Engaging with Vendors and Players

One of the key elements was capturing the vendors in a way that showcased their energy and engagement. In the past, vendors were often photographed sitting behind their tables, wearing sunglasses, which didn't do justice to their contributions. This time, the client emphasized the need for a fresh approach. I made it a point to interact with each vendor, trying to find unique ways to photograph them at their stations and showcase the activities they had planned for the players. This interaction not only made the vendors feel valued but also helped me capture more authentic and engaging photographs.

Engagement at Each Hole

I had a limited amount of time to get around to each hole and capture players and vendors, so I had to work quickly. By conversing with the sponsors about their businesses and planned activities, I was able to make them feel comfortable and create dynamic shots. For example, some vendors had mini-games for players to try, and I captured the participants engaging with them. Another vendor had a tasting station, and I photographed players engaging with the brand. Another vendor was giving away an Alaskan cruise so I brought attention to the signage. This approach resulted in a diverse collection of photos that highlighted each brand and also the event's spirit.

Expediting Key Photos

Towards the end of the shoot, there were specific photos that needed to be expedited for immediate use. One of these was the group photo, which I took from a ladder to ensure everyone was visible and the lighting was perfect. The darker background provided better exposure, making the group stand out. Additionally, I captured a crucial photo of Derek Gratz, the Chamber Board Vice-president, and the HEAT Golfers Andrew Rouble and Maria Llampallas at the 9th hole. These golfers were stationed to attempt a hole-in-one for participants, adding an exciting element to the event. These expedited images were promptly sent to the Chamber of Commerce for their next day's press release.

Reflecting on this photoshoot, it was an incredibly fun and engaging experience. Interacting with the vendors, players, and organizers added a personal touch that made the photos more vibrant and meaningful. The client’s emphasis on creativity and interaction resulted in a collection of images that truly captured the event’s essence. This shoot reinforced the importance of understanding the client’s vision and bringing it to life through dynamic and engaging photography.