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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 23 Feb 2012 (Thursday) 22:29
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Need Advice: Live Dance show indoor photography

Mostly Lurking
16 posts
Joined Feb 2012
Feb 23, 2012 22:29 |  #1


Tomorrow I will be volunteering photographer for the ICONIC boyz dance show (​/watch?v=NQxpMDioQg4 (external link)) which is going to be indoor and under low light / concert lighting.

I have a Canon 7D, 24-70L and a 50L lens.

This will be my first time shooting a live dance show and was wondering if i could get some advice.

I did do some research on the forums before making this post but i still seem pretty stuck.

I will most likely be using my 50L at F/1.2 but what shutter speed do you recommend i try and sit at w/ ISO?

From the searches, it seemed like a general consensus would be 1/500 for freeze action shots and ISO around 400?

I want to achieve photos like this.. …episodes/606/_P​G35442.jpg (external link)
http://nextgeninsider.​com …s/2011/05/ICONi​c-Boyz.jpg (external link)

Are there any photographers out there who shoot fast pace shows like this that could give me some tips?

Thanks in advance.

Senior Member
871 posts
Joined Nov 2010
Location: Baghdad Iraq
Feb 24, 2012 00:25 |  #2

I don't recommend the prime lens.

I shot a national cheer competition from the front row area a few weeks back and it really required a zoom lens. I used my 17-55 f/2.8 and I think the 24-70 f/2.8 would work good in this application as well.

They used the entire dance floor and everything was happening super fast pace.Which makes using a prime lens tricky.

You can see that shutter speed was a tab bit slow but I had no flash. Shooting SS 1/400 ISO 3200 at f/2.8.

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Fred - Photographing everyday Military life in Iraq (external link) | SmugMug (external link)
7D | C 100-400L | Σ 70-200 2.8 OS | Σ 30 1.4 | C 10-22 | Σ 8-16 | C 17-55 2.8 IS | C 28-135 IS | 580EX II | Σ 1.4x

Mostly Lurking
16 posts
Joined Feb 2012
Feb 24, 2012 00:41 |  #3

Thanks for the input. I was thinking about shooting half of the show with the primes and half with 24-70. Apparently the dance group will be performing for 3 hours.. and after awhile the shots will get repetitive in my opinion..

Cream of the Crop
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Feb 28, 2012 11:41 |  #4

My suggestion would be to use as wide an aperture as the lens allows, vary the shutter speed depending on the pace of the music and action, and use auto ISO to get a good exposure. At performances like this, the lighting will probably be changing rapidly so straight Manual mode might not work very well.

If you're good at anticipating the dancers' movements, and can squeeze the shutter when they freeze or pose at the end of a bar or rhythm, then you can use a relatively slow shutter speed like 1/125-1/200. That might work for poses like the ones you linked in the first post. The dancers will be holding that pose for a fraction of a second, before they reverse direction, and that's when you hit the shutter, before they start moving again. Your keeper rate will be low but the keepers will be good.

However, for stopping them in mid-move, like the cheerleading photos shown above, you'll need a faster shutter speed. The cheerleaders aren't exactly going to be holding a pose in the middle of the air, so you'll need 1/400 or higher.

The ISO that you choose (or that you let the camera choose) will be entirely dependent on the lighting at the venue. Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO - as long as you get a good exposure, you can clean up the noise reasonably well in Lightroom/ACR.

http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

1,839 posts
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Joined Mar 2008
Location: somewhere in Oregon trying to keep this laptop dry
Feb 29, 2012 19:37 |  #5

the ISO is the way to compensate in mho. I shot a few seasons of dance competitions when my girls were in highschool. The gym lights were pretty consistant throughout so it was easy to find a set up that worked based on wide apertures that would still allow a deep enough depth of feild to get more than one row of girls in focus, fast shutters that would freeze motion but not leave me underexposed and an ISO that made it all work without getting too noisy. A 70-200 was the best go to lens if I could move around, otherwise I shot primes with extenders.

and bring some ear plugs, I was often able to get front row no obstruction shots by being willing to stand or crouch in front of the PA speakers wich were always way too loud. Way way too loud.

5D, 10D, G10, the required 100 macro, 24-70, 70-200 f/2.8, 300 f2.8)
Looking through a glass un-yun

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Need Advice: Live Dance show indoor photography
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