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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 15 May 2014 (Thursday) 16:36
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Need advice shooting a Dance Recital

 
darthrazz
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May 15, 2014 16:36 |  #1

I am in need of some advice. My daughter's dance teacher asked if I could shoot pictures of the schools upcoming recital.

She wants me to get action shots of the girls jumping and spinning.

I tried last year, as I shot photos for the school's recital but had trouble getting decent shotssince the lighting wasn't that great, and I was reluctant to use a flash.


When I did however use a flash for a few pictures I was able to get good photos of the dancers jumping etc, but I could tell the flash was bothering the audience and the dancers. So I stopped.

I am FAR from a professional so I really appreciate any advice, is there any way that I can capture good "action" shots without a flash in low lighting?


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alan_potter
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May 15, 2014 16:39 |  #2

I put my notes about stage photography here...

http://hamacting.blogs​pot.co.uk …tage-photography-101.html (external link)

I hope you might find something useful in it


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dodgyexposure
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May 15, 2014 17:54 |  #3

^^^ some good adivce in there. From one amateur parent of a dancing child to another, I can say that there is no subsitute for a fast (wide aperture lens) for dance performances, if you want to freeze the action. From your sig, it looks like the only fast lens that you have is the 50/1.8. You will need to be (relatively, theatre speaking) close to the action to get shots of single dancers with that lens. If you can't get close, can you rent a longer fast lens, like a 70-200 f2.8? I use the latter - the zoom is versatile in shifting from group to individual compositions.

You can shoot at slower speeds and introduce some motion blur to give the effect of motion, but you probably don't want this for all your shots.

Lighting is always an issue. If you are going to be the "official" photographer, are you able to influence the lighting level (i.e. increase the lighting)? You may be able to ask for more front lighting than downlighting (which makes it easier to get properly exposed shots of the dancers).

Different routines are often lit differently, so at the very least, you might be able to find out which numbers will have the best light, and concentrate your efforts on those routines.

Finally, the lights are likely to be coloured, and they are often mixed. Shoot in raw, to give yourself the most control over colour adjustment in post.


Cheers, Damien

  
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flashpoint99
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May 16, 2014 01:25 |  #4

Alan's notes sum it up pretty well. Here are a few tricks I have learned after shooting dance for three seasons now. If the background is black of the dancers are wearing a dark outfit -1 to -2 exposure compensation is a must. If you don't compensate for the dark background faces will get blown out. You can avoid the last tip if you are not comfortable with ex comp by using spot metering.it is a bit tricky to use spot on a moving subject at first but after a bit it become easier. High ISO is not an issue. Its much better to up your ISO than get to slow of a shutter speed and end up with motion blur. Use AI servo and pick your focal point manually.




  
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tzalman
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May 16, 2014 06:54 |  #5

if you are not comfortable with ex comp by using spot metering.it is a bit tricky to use spot on a moving subject at first but after a bit it become easier.

Unless you are putting the spot on a 12% luminosity object, or at least something close to that brightness, exposure compensation will still be required. Unadjusted spot metering on a black or white costume would be no less disastrous than any other sort of metering. Even spot metering on a Caucasian face needs +1.


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darthrazz
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May 16, 2014 08:02 as a reply to  @ tzalman's post |  #6

Fantastic advice all! Alan your tutorial is fantastic, solid advice.


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groundloop
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May 16, 2014 10:09 |  #7

dodgyexposure wrote in post #16907229 (external link)
If you can't get close, can you rent a longer fast lens, like a 70-200 f2.8?


That's my suggestion as well. I've shot indoor gymnastics with my 70-200 f4 and just wasn't thrilled with the results. I think the 20-200 f2.8 would be the cat's meow for what you want to do.




  
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flashpoint99
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May 16, 2014 21:26 |  #8

tzalman wrote in post #16908191 (external link)
Unless you are putting the spot on a 12% luminosity object, or at least something close to that brightness, exposure compensation will still be required. Unadjusted spot metering on a black or white costume would be no less disastrous than any other sort of metering. Even spot metering on a Caucasian face needs +1.

Agree. However at dance comps the background curtain is un illuminated while the dancers costume is normally illuminated.




  
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alan_potter
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May 17, 2014 12:50 |  #9

I would not use spot metering... dancers move quickly, and if you don't follow them exactly you may well find that you are "spotting" on a black backcloth, or (depending on the angle you're looking at them at) the floor, or whatever.

I shoot with evaluative metering, with about -2/3 stop exposure compensation. If spotlights are being used, I take that to about -2EV

regards,
/alan


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flashpoint99
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May 17, 2014 13:44 |  #10

Spot metering takes practice. I have used it exclusively for the last few year with great success.




  
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HappySnapper90
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May 17, 2014 19:56 |  #11

I took photos at a relative's dance recital for several years. Ended up using manual (M) mode because there's little time for fiddling with metering when dancers move very quickly and the performances were short. They seemed to have 2 different light levels. One that was brighter and I could basically use the same settings time after time after time (year to year) and then a rather dim mode where I had to open up the ISO/aperture a good 2 stops.

Basically I was checking the histogram after the first couple of photos keeping in mind the highlights were very few so I needed to see if there were any blinkies. The histogram was very dark end weighted.

The only lens I could see you using is your 50 f/1.8 as the others are slow aperture kit lenses. I used a 100mm f/2 lens that I usually used at f/2.2 to f/2.8




  
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Need advice shooting a Dance Recital
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