I was asked (hired) to shoot a friend's son's Communion a few weeks back, and I agreed. We also agreed that in lieu of payment, we would just consider my photos as a Communion gift. This solved two important issues for me: I got to shoot a new crowd and I didn't have to shop for and buy a gift. But it's interesting the change in dynamic that takes place once you're "hired" to do something you usually do for your own satisfaction. I love exploring my own curiosities through a camera lens, and I shoot whatever strikes me at the moment. But the sinking feeling that came over me halfway through the afternoon was that I had to "produce" something. Suddenly this wasn't just about shooting at will - I needed to amass pictures to put together in some form of album - I needed a "package." And the problem with a package was that I just couldn't shoot the interesting people, I had to shoot everyone.
I likened this initial experience to being one of the paparazzi. Part of the problem in getting more thought-provoking pictures at events such as this is timing (people arriving, leaving, moving, etc). My comfort zone in photography is either staged, studio shots or very natural, street-style photography where people pretend to ignore me (after awhile they usually just do). This was somewhere in between, yet not really. I ended up getting a good amount of shots I was very pleased with, and a some good "snapshots."