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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Stage Photography, Advice please...Hi there guys, I joined Pixalo back in March this year, been a very busy period for me, this is ...
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:22   #1 (permalink)
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Post Stage Photography, Advice please

Hi there guys, I joined Pixalo back in March this year, been a very busy period for me, this is my first posting since moving home, from England to Wales, just not had the time to come on here, well im settling in in my new home, and as far as my photography is going, I have had a couple of jobs given to me since moving into a small village, couple of portraits and a christening, more recent, I have met a lady from a certain Page Ranking department, and she might be able to put work my way, this includes taking pictures of stage events, check out my equipment, i don,t think my lens kit i have will be good enough, and its obvious flash is out of the question, any advice on a lens would be good, but please be advised i am not doing photography for a living, but this could be a good career change, and permanent work, most of the work would be not acting but musicians, and im also wondering if there is any way of minimiseing the noise level of a d50,s shutter at such an event, not sure if this would be heard at an event, its just something that as come to mind, my main worry is light and speed for a clear picture, being on a small income at the moment, i can not raise funds for a new lense like f2.8 which i would imagine would cost hundreds of pounds, but with a faster lens i could have a great job to do, Page Ranking work, I have up until now done several weddings a year, word of mouth, and i would like to have a crack at this, which i think i would enjoy, and i would be capable of doing, lots of comments welcome, and if you know anything about royal protocol, please see my further posting, cheers, Pete H.
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Old 05-09-2007, 07:15   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Stage Photography, Advice please

Hi Pete, welcome back - and now in Wales too!

With respect to reducing the noise of the shutter, I've heard of acoustic body cases which silence cameras, tho' never seen one in action (nor know the price). Good luck!
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:05   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Stage Photography, Advice please

My first question would be 'Do you have a tripod?'. If not, get one. There you are, you suddenly have a f1.0 lens . You don't need to spend a fortune, all you want is something that opens out to a steady platform with some simple way of panning and tilting the camera. I have a number of tripods and only one was purchased new. The cheapest of the rest cost £5 in a charity shop and is perfectly capable of holding a light 35mm or digicam nice and steady. For longer lenses, more weight in the tripod is essential and fewer moving parts.

Any event where you're the 'official' photographer, gives you a little more lee-way in terms of where you can place yourself and how you can go about things. Go and reconnoitre the venue, preferably with someone who can tell you where the performers will be, what way the performers will be facing, where the audience will be together with the direction and quantity of the lighting (getting together with the electricians is a really good idea).

Then you can start to work out where you'll get the best shots from and if there's space for your tripod in those locations. If not, choose other locations where you can use the tripod.

Next, make sure you can use the spot meter mode properly. Stage lighting is generally as contrasty as hell on a bad day. What's worse, the less contrasty it looks, the more contrasty, in photographic terms, it actually is. It's vital that you meter off the performers and you need spot metering for that. On the other hand, the D50's 2.5% circle will be fine for performance work, provided you practice with it before hand. They used to say that film was cheap but hey! Digital is free. Take a lot of shots in conditions analogous to the performance(s), until you can use the spot meter without thinking.

When you come to take the pictures, especially at a live performance, remember that the best photographer is completely inconspicuous (unlike the daft girl I saw in action a couple of years ago, who completely spoiled a performance by getting in front of the audience, using flash and generally behaving like a total prune). When you need to move, do so very quietly (practice folding, walking with and setting up your tripod untill you can do it with the minimum of fuss).

If you think the D50 will be noisy in the context of the performance, you need nothing more high tech than an old towel, preferably dark coloured, which you can drape around the camera. A common or garden hand towel will do the job and, once again, practice using it in anger several times before the great day, so you're able to wind it round the camera leaving the front of the lens exposed and access for your eye and hands. It sounds weird but I've used this technique several times, where a SLR was called for in a quiet performance and it works surprisingly well.

I hope your foray into theatrical photography works out, it can be great fun.
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Old 06-09-2007, 11:47   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Stage Photography, Advice please

Thanks for your input, and yes Wales is a beautiful place to be, mets lots of friends already, looking forward to many years here, should have done it long ago, My next venture will be parts of Snowdon, thanks for the input on lens, im going today for test shots in the building, will keep you posted,
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Old 06-09-2007, 20:51   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Stage Photography, Advice please

Cheers for all your advice, been to see the venue today, had a nice walk around the venue, there will be stage lighting, the venue will be John Williams & John Etheridge Guitar Recital world renowned classical & jazz Guitarist, pheew, what a pleasure that will be, i was a bit nervous of the setting and lighting available, i think i might get away with 400asa and a steady tripod. with my lens being 5.6, i have seen so many pros with the wider aperture lenses, which must help. Any more input will be gratefully received. many thanks, will take my bath towel and wrap it around me..he he..
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Old 06-09-2007, 20:53   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Stage Photography, Advice please

im now sorry i got rid of my 602z, it was great for black & White, and so quiet.
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Old 28-09-2007, 16:27   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Stage Photography, Advice please

Update:
The performance was excellent, could not move around, had to shoot from seating area to side of stage, with the kit lens, hand held, got some very good shots, customer very happy, she will be using Images for her Website, 2 excellent performers. pleased with the shoot,
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Old 28-09-2007, 16:34   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Stage Photography, Advice please

That's good to hear! Are you able to share any of them with us if your client allows?
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