Quick help needed for cast photos tonight!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by charchri4, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. charchri4

    charchri4 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm playing for the musical Evita and just got a call from the director asking if I would take some publicity shots of the cast for social media tonight. Apparently the photographer from the local news paper is coming too but it turns out he won't share his pix so this is very last minute.

    Gear is a Pentax K-3 with a 16-85 F3.5-5.6 lens. I don't have a flash but I think the stage light will be full on so probably not needed.

    I usually shoot in P or Tv but I've never shot photos that people count on before so I might chicken out and just put it green mode and take tons of shots.

    Thoughts?


     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I just did the very same thing for a local production; the stage lights are NOT going to be bright enough unless you crank the ISO wayyy up, and are probably not going to be at a good angle for getting lighting on their faces. What might work however is to use a couple of follow spots and light them that way. It's still not going to be a lot of light (shooting production stills, I can get 1/200 @ f5.6 @ ISO 3200 in the center of an un-gelled follow spot. Shooting crew & choral group shots on the stage I used to 200 ws strobes to acheive 1/250 @ f8 @ ISO 200.
     
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  3. charchri4

    charchri4 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I was wondering about angle but the stage is not a ton higher than the seats at about 10 rows back. I do have my on camera flash but I've really never used it beyond making a defuser out of a potato salad container.

    I was wondering about F stop. I would assume for stage shots you would want the set in focus as well as the cast and that means a slower shutter speed. I have a tripod but that doesn't keep people from moving. I'll have to see if I can get some spot lights on to light them up enough to keep my shutter speed up.

    This is super helpful THANK YOU!
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Your on camera flash is NOT suitable for this sort of work unless it's a very small (<2) group. You should get your speed to at least 1/60 in order to avoid any chance of motion blur (and ideally a bit higher). I would definitely do a recce before hand so that you know exactly what the conditions are. Your aperture will depend on the number of rows (depth) of the group, but I wouldn't worry about having the set in focus. Chances are it will be recognizable, albeit soft, which is not a bad thing as it won't compete with the faces.
     
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  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Don't use the built-in flash. Don't use any flash for theatrical sets. Use a high ISO, tripod if you have one, or brace the camera on something if you don't have a tripod (or borrow a tripod). Ask your subjects to "strike a pose and hold it". Use a fairly wide aperture (you really don't need the background to be in focus, and probably there will not be enough light anyway). Use the shortest shutter speed for which you can still get a decent exposure while in low light, high ISO, and fairly wide (not the widest) aperture. If your subjects are close to the backdrop, then it might show up in the photos. Ideally your shutter speed will be at least 1/60 or faster, but even if it slides down into the 1/15 second range, they should be good enough for newsprint quality.

    ps: Don't share your photos with the newspaper photographer. :alien:
     
  6. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I've done a fair amount of shooting shows and it looks like your situation is difficult.
    Ideally, you should be at stage level or above, ideally you would have seen a rehearsal so you understand where on the stage the action between people will be and where you should be for the best angle for each shot. I shot with a 24-70 2.8 and a 90 mm 1.7 with bodies on each one.
    Social media means images reduced to web size so don't worry too much about noise, do what you have to do the get important shots, where there is action of some sort.
    IMO, except for unusually secorative sets, take pictures of people, not sets.
    Fill the screen with actors acting.

    If the director won't cooperate and have some photo ops staged, then get the main characters to do a couple of photo ops after the rehearsal.
     
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  7. charchri4

    charchri4 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Cool. I was thinking the flash would be a terrible idea in this situation. I do have a tri and momo pod I'll have with me and thanks to google I now know what recce means. :)

    I have seen the show but from the side since there is no other place to put musicians. It is a poorly designed 200 seat auditorium better suited for English 101 classes than theater. I think the lighting is pretty decent though and much of it is just 2 or 3 people on stage so that is helpful. I'm sure I can get a ladder to get some height out front and will do that.

    Sounds like I better start with Tv, set it at 1/125, keep the zoom under about 50mm, use a tripod and let the camera have the rest. Is there an upper limit to ISO I would want to stay away from? The K-3 will go up to 51,200 but I have it limited to 12,800.
     
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  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sorry, I think I misunderstood; when you said "Cast" shots, I assumed you meant the cast as a group. Are you talking about running shots (ie shots of the show underway)? "Recce" is short for reconoiter, or scout out in advance. If that's the case then yes, flash is out. This is a gallery of running shots I did the other night (Yes, I know a few of them need to be leveled). This set was mostly shot from the tech booth using a 70-200 and ocassionally 24-70. FWIW, I chose to shoot in shutter priority (Tv) at 1/200 since I was using a long lens, it ensured that camera shake wasn't an issue.
     
  9. charchri4

    charchri4 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow your stage set up looks almost exactly the same as what I am dealing with! The front is flat and musicians on the side but everything else is about the same.

    Yes they are going to do a posed group shot before practice starts. Usually they do those with every light in the house on so I was thinking it would be good light for that one at least. From there we are short a number of musicians tonight anyway so I can sit out for all but 3 numbers and plan to shoot what I can of the rehearsal. It's more fun to shoot than play anyway!

    You bring up something I had thought of but didn't think it was a good idea. I have a Sigma 50-500 that at 200 shoots pretty good and could easily set up in the AV booth with it. You think I should try that for part of the night?
     
  10. charchri4

    charchri4 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow 1051 is a fantastic shot! I love the boys look in the mirror and the moms hair.
     
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  11. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I was assuming theatrical lighting when I suggested using a tripod. I would love to see colored lights on your subjects, and if you can get a good exposure in that kind of light, then that is what you should try for. IMO avoid the house lights unless the production company wants a group shot of everybody together. (like a group mug shot)

    As to your ISO, give it a pretty good boost, and if you have already tested it at 12,800, then don't be afraid to use it there.

    Depending on the focal length of your lens, 1/250 is about the slowest for hand-held shots. Yes, you can go a bit slower if you can brace your camera and nobody is moving, but they probably won't be good for enlargements.

    As you "let the camera have the rest", be sure to monitor the aperture and shutter speed as you shoot to correct anything that you don't want.
     
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  12. charchri4

    charchri4 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow you weren't kidding the light was terrible! Nothing but fuzz and noise in all but a handful. They never did to a posed all cast one either. The link to the ones that jumped out at me on the first pass is here.
    Evita

    I had a hard time knowing where to focus where there were several people on stage. Well it was a lot of fun anyway!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015

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