Last week saw a quick one day shoot in Frankfurt, Germany. I had the pleasure of covering the ExecFinTech event, a part of the Exec I/O family, which in turn, is a member of the European Pirate Summit family.
As I only stayed over one night and had no need to bring the portrait setup with me, it was a pure joy to travel with only hand luggage. I truly envy those of you who fly this way regularly. That, and who knew that camera bag compartments normally designed for lenses also make for very handy sock and underwear dividers? Tamrac, I think you need to look into this.
I stayed at Carolina’s flat located on Goethestrasse, which as it turned out was a brilliant choice as I walked to the Campus Westend Goethe University. The event was treated to magnificent weather, and there were more than a few attendees taking advantage of the massive sundeck adjoining the conference stages. Hewn from a gorgeous sandstone, the building also provided a stunning backdrop for low aperture (most at f/4), natural light portraits.
As the sector of Financial Technology continues to grow, I expect we’ll be seeing more and more of these types of events, where startups, investors, and most importantly, banks come together to explore the future of finance. As this is an area that brings new blood to the tech-conference circuit, I saw a number of familiar faces, but also met a lot of new influencers and doers in the fintech area.
I was quite impressed with the interactivity at ExecFinTech. At any given conference, you might get two, three, sometimes four questions at the end of a presentation. On both stages, I noticed a remarkably higher percentage, with hands regularly shooting up and thought provoking questions being asked. In this regard, I tip my hat to Ramin, Till, Manuel and team for their excellent programming.
In regards to programming and organisation, I had quite a chuckle at the fact that the Exec I/O team might have done things a bit too well. The presentation stages were upstairs, with the startup alley, lunch, and networking, downstairs. While Ramin had planned to do his opening remarks upstairs on the stage, eager FinTech players were networking away at 9am, and very few bothers to head up to the conference. So why bring water to the horse when you can bring the horse to the water? To this end, Ramin quickly seized a tabletop and, sans microphone, addressed the crowd, welcoming them, and telling them all to get their networking arses upstairs.
The day saw a healthy mix of seasoned professionals, energetic startups, and lively panel discussions centered around the future of financial technology. All in all, a heckuva nice way to spend a Wednesday, and a fantastic backdrop to capture some great images. If this is the standard that the Exec I/O organisation is setting, I can’t wait to see what they do next!
And speaking of setting the standarrrrrrrrrd, have you nabbed your ticket for this year’s European Pirate Summit yet? I was talking with Till about the “extra” (2013 – a zipline, 2014 – a mechanical bull, 2015 – ???), and if the Pirates can pull off what Till’s talking about; I’m going to have to find some time to put my camera down and get in on this action. But you’ll have to join us in Cologne to find out what all the fuss is about.
Enjoy, and until the next shoot – Dan