Whether you do it for clients or for family and friends, event photography can be challenging!!! Today on #ThursdaySnapShots we bring you more tips on indoor event photography on Lets Go Big Tunes blog page
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Noise and the Quiet Shutter
For most events, noise isn't an issue, but for certain types of music or for religious services it can be a big deal. When I was asked to photograph a memorial service, I had to choose between the low light performance of my D700 and the Quiet Shutter feature of my D300s. I wound up using both cameras—for the quiet shutter when I was close to the audience, and the D700 for the better low-light and wide-angle full-frame performance embodied by the 20mm overview of the stage and audience in the image above.
Use the Rehearsal
Theater and music performances are carefully controlled scenes with pre-determined lighting, and plenty of audience members who will resent a photographer sticking a large camera up in front of the stage. But dress rehearsals can be a goldmine for photographing plays or dances in particular. Often, by volunteering to take photos of the event, which the sponsors can use for promotion or just as keepsakes, you can get access to a rehearsal and have the freedom to take some great images. If you can, have them crank up the lights to their maximum, but if you can't, then you can use remote flashes to help out.
When photographing the dress rehearsal in the image below, I had three speedlites spread across the front of the stage, which I were controlling with a remote commander on my D700. That gave me maximum flexibility for lighting. I always have the lower right button on my camera programmed to be "flash kill" so I can take images with or without flash.
One way to "fix" the lighting at an indoor event is simply to step outside. Of course you probably can't move the action outside, but if you are also taking portrait shots of individuals, families or teams, you may be able to get them to step outside briefly, to take advantage of natural daylight. My daughter and I took this portrait of ourselves before a recent event using a remote before stepping inside, where it would have been much more difficult.
Asking Permission or Asking Forgiveness
The minute you go indoors, you're of course on someone's property, and possibly at an event that is considered private or proprietary. So think about the permission(s) you might need in order to photograph, to use flash, or to publish the photographs. Of course, if it is an event or exhibit to which you've been invited, you'll want to make sure and get permission in advance. Some religions, for example, do not allow photography or do not allow flash photography. Others are fine with it, or might allow it for some types of services and not others.
Similarly, for sporting events there may be rules limiting your choice of equipment—many pro events have started refusing entrance to anyone with a DSLR, monopod or tripod, while others don't seem to care. High school events may prohibit the use of flash photography, while at college or pro events for the same sport you may see dozens of flashes going off.
And of course, your rights to use or sell the images may be limited if the event is owned by someone—almost always the case for professional sports, for example, and for most commercial concerts—or if you use recognizable images of people. As a practical matter, though, if you are taking images for your own enjoyment these issues aren't really a big deal. But if it is a private event, then obviously you should consider whether you need permission to post images publically.
Join us next week for more photography tips on Lets Go Big Tunes blog page