Stage photography is something that I indulge in and is one of my favourite genres of The Art.
The photo below is the Hands Percussion Group’s performance entitled Dialogue In Skin. I shot this 2 years back and I am a big fan of this group. I try to make it for all their productions. The exposure for this is about 8 seconds on a tripod. As you can see, employing a long exposure on a tripod (which can be a luxury under most conditions) during a performance can produce wonderful results.
If you wish to indulge in stage photography, these are the tips
- obtain permission from the producers
- if possible, do it during full dress rehearsals
- wearing black is a good idea so that you can blend into the shadows
- a fast lens (large apertured) of around f2.8 is advised; useful focal length of 70-200mm but don’t forget to give wide shots too
- flash photography is a no-no
- tripods are cumbersome and can block the view of the audience; try to master using a monopod
- you won’t have time to fiddle with manual settings, shoot Av (aperture priority)
- the lighting in most performances will change very quickly; make sure you know how to spot meter or quickly do exposure compensation
- turn off the annoying beep of focusing confirmation
- white balance may be hell but sometimes you want to preserve the mixed coloured lighting of the show for atmosphere
- reviewing images will make you miss a shot and the light from your LCD screen will also annoy the audience
2 Golden Rules I would like to share with you all on stage photography…
1) If it is done during paid performances, try not to move to much or make to much sounds or obscure the view of the paying audience. They have every right to be enjoying the performance and not be annoyed by a photographer.
2) Do not fail to see the forest for the trees. Sometimes, you need to sit back and enjoy the performance for what it is. Looking through the viewfinder isn’t always as fun as just absorbing the show with your own eyes.