About darker photo's taken at plays/performances) - help?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by AlexDemille, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. AlexDemille

    AlexDemille TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    British Columbia - Vancouver
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hey there, I've got a fair D.SLR 5.1mp and I'm interested in shooting at performances/plays. Now in most cases it's quite rude, annoying, distracting, and plain stupid to use a flash. But it's also the case that there is going to be little good light; therefore use a 'low' shutter speed (long exp.). However as these people might move at any second this can be a challenge to not have my pretty picture turn into a blurry shot. Any ideas/suggestions/tips on working around this?

    Thanks.
     
  2. mdtusz

    mdtusz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well, first what camera are you using? At 5.1 mp, I'm assuming it's not too recent and will most likely not have the best performance at high ISO, so your best bet is to turn up your ISO until you start getting bad grain, use a fast lens or rent one, maybe a 50mm f/1.4 on a crop sensor, then hope for the best with the longest shutter speed you can get away with. You'd be surprised what can be done in theater though. Just look at the amount of lights they have in there and you will realize, the stage isn't that dark. If you get yourself a good position fairly close or in one of the boxes, you can get pretty clear shots without pushing your camera too too much. Just shoot RAW and bump your exposure a little later.
     
  3. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    16,062
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Location:
    Chesterfield UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Your only way is very high ISO and very fast lenses
     
  4. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Fast glass
     
  5. B Kennedy

    B Kennedy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Clark, NJ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit

    Hey Alex, the other two responses are right on. It will be very difficult to shoot at performances/plays without having a really good camera that is good with high ISO and some really fast lenses. I've been shooting dance recitals for the past 2 years and here's what I've found to work. I shoot with a canon 5d mark 2 which is great at high iso, i typically will shoot around iso 2000-3200 and with a quick noise reduction software, you get great results. I don't ever drop below 1/60 of a second, unless the dancers are standing still. I also shoot with a 70-200 f2.8 is, which is a fast zoom. This is the only way that I've found to get away with some nicely exposed on stage shots without flashes. All of the dance studio's I have taken pictures at do not allow me to use flash because it will be too distracting for the dancers, which I tend to agree with.

    So bump that iso to where your comfortable, and if you're trying to do it professionally to make some money on prints, it may be beneficial to rent a camera and/or lense. I've found that my 24-70 just doesn't give me quite the crop I'm looking for when shooting from 15-20 feet away (typically the 1st or 2nd row. Hope this helps.
     
  6. AlexDemille

    AlexDemille TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    British Columbia - Vancouver
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I'm using a Fujifilm FinePix s5200 D.SLR 5.1mp.
    It sadly doesn`t have an interchangeable lens.
    I'll look into renting one. Thanks.
    (What do you mean by "fast" lens?)
     
  7. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Fast lens would be any lens with an apature of 2.8 or lower. (Eg 50mm F1.4 or 24-70mm F2.8)
    The Fuji s5200 is not an SLR, it is bridge camera (and there is nothing wrong with that), a true slr has interchangable lenses.
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    16,062
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Location:
    Chesterfield UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Fast lens = wide aperture F2.8, F2, F1.8, F1.4, F1.2
    There is no chance of getting any good shots with your equipment, If you are renting a body and lens you are going to need lots of practise because low light photography with wide apertures is not easy
     
  9. mdtusz

    mdtusz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I wouldn't completely agree with what's above me. It is hard to shoot in the dark with a fast lens, but it's not impossible or something that you can't get a decent grasp of in a few days. The hardest part is simply focussing but when you're shooting a stage/play where the subjects are (usually) very well lit with lights much more powerful than the average strobe, autofocus on modern SLR's is fairly capable of registering the contrast. All the makeup helps on actors/actresses too. The issue with having the wide lens is more for being able to STOP the motion and get the proper exposure of the background without it being a blurry splotch in the middle. If you're in a pub/club, it's a completely different story for low light shooting though.

    Just use the light they do use to your advantage. If possible (someone you know is involved?) ask to shoot from the sides. If you're renting a body, ask for a remote and set it up on stage right with a beanbag or little tripod, then snap away when the time is right.
     
  10. HannahRebekah

    HannahRebekah TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Is this something you could go to the dress rehearsal? If so, you could get the light guys to turn the house lights on for you.
     
  11. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    18,105
    Likes Received:
    7,454
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've shot a fair number of plays and, IMO, going to at least one performance or a rehearsal is crucial so you are familiar with the movement on stage (called 'blocking') and know when the players are going to be grouped together in a good composition and relatively still.

    I've had my best results shooting at technical or dress rehearsals when all the costumes and makeup are in place but I can move around and shoot from good vantage points without disturbing the audience.
     
  12. AlexDemille

    AlexDemille TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    British Columbia - Vancouver
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    @SpeedTrap: Thanks for the clarifacation on SLR and Bridge.

    @mdtusz: This is a slightly closed in room. I might not have the room for a side shot. I could see what I could do. Thanks you were helpful.

    @HannahRebekah: Yes, I might, and that's a good idea. I'm more interested in taking stage lighting shots. For practice mainly.

    I'm thinking of renting a camera for this; what should I go for?
     

Share This Page