Theatre and Concert Photography

The Hanoi Photo Club got the chance for some members to try some kind of  Theatre- and Concert photography at an event of the German Academic Exchange Service.

Here some ideas what you might think of if you have a chance to take images alike.

1) Preparation Before you leave home you need to be prepared for the task ahead. First there’s the obvious stuff. Pack empty memory cards, a couple of extra batteries
 
2) Theatre etiquette
Weeks or months of rehearsals and planning will have been put into the preparation for the show, so be under no illusion that you, as a photographer, are not going to get any special attention.
 
3) Flash or no flash.
The light levels are going to be very low, so it's very tempting to use flash. But the golden rule is, during the performance, absolutely no flash… ever!
 
4) Lens choice
Fast glass is the name of the game. Fast glass is lenses that have a wide aperture. f4 is OK but f2.8 is better. Image stabilizing lenses can help with camera shake, but motion blur is the biggest problem. When you get shutter speeds of 1/100th second or below you can expect to get motion blur on the hands and feet of the actors. Predicting when the actors are going to move is a skill you'll learn very quickly.
 
5) Camera settings
Shoot in Aperture Priority mode and open the aperture as wide as possible. Keep an eye on the shutter speed and stop down whenever you get the chance. ISO is often 1600 iso and record in RAW. Theatre lighting can be a mixed bag, so RAW allows to correct the white balance back home.
 
6) And finally…

Over shoot. Expect one in five shots to be sharp and perhaps only half of those to be good photographs. You may well do better then that, but it’s far better to have two many pictures then to few.

Here is a selection of images of this evening.