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Thread: Taking pictures of dance performances

  1. #1

    Default Taking pictures of dance performances

    Hi everyone,

    I am still new to photography and i realised i have been taking alot of indoor pics for dance performances such as clubs and concert halls.

    Can anyone advise me on what kinda settings to use? coz i am now using TV mode on canon 450D with 18-55 kit lens with built in flash. how can i adjust the settings so that i make the best of this camera? without getting additional stuff?

    I tried using the flash but the pics look very harsh, and i don have a diffuser, without it the pics look very dark.

    So i will like to see if there are any solutions without getting more stuff at this point of time.

    Apparently, taking performances aint one of my forte.. haa..

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbone View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I am still new to photography and i realised i have been taking alot of indoor pics for dance performances such as clubs and concert halls.

    Can anyone advise me on what kinda settings to use? coz i am now using TV mode on canon 450D with 18-55 kit lens with built in flash. how can i adjust the settings so that i make the best of this camera? without getting additional stuff?

    I tried using the flash but the pics look very harsh, and i don have a diffuser, without it the pics look very dark.

    So i will like to see if there are any solutions without getting more stuff at this point of time.

    Apparently, taking performances aint one of my forte.. haa..
    1)Use a Tripod, forget about the flash. Flash is probably not allowed/welcomed for indoor performances
    2)Use as high an iso as your camera can handle
    3)Shoot in Manual mode, play around with your aperture and shutter speed. Take a few pictures and review on your lcd. Dont leave the exposure to the camera.

    My 2 cents.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    I agree with rongren.. Once halfway the concert I was with programme mode.. i was not really happy with the results.. switched to A.. better.. but it was best at M after I tried out a few shots =)

  4. #4

    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    not true about the flash leh. it really depends whether or not flash photography is allowed. rule of thumb, if you see other shooting with flash. then shoot until you get stopped haha. i mean the worse is they come up to you and ask you to stop right?


    i think a pop up flash is sufficient though. although an external one would help alot. a pop up without a diffuser would do fine. the issue with dance performances is movement. you need to decide if you want to stop motion or allow for some movement blur. going manual is a good idea. let the flash do the fill. you can do a flash compesnsation and drop it by 2/3 stop or a stop.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by rOnGrEn View Post
    1)Use a Tripod, forget about the flash. Flash is probably not allowed/welcomed for indoor performances
    2)Use as high an iso as your camera can handle
    3)Shoot in Manual mode, play around with your aperture and shutter speed. Take a few pictures and review on your lcd. Dont leave the exposure to the camera.

    My 2 cents.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Movement is not always your enemy. Flash is disturbing to the audience.

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    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    hi iso
    fast lens
    avoid camera shake

    black & white too

  8. #8

    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    For me, its usually A or M mode. Forget about the flash, its quite disturbing to the audience.
    Get a fast prime lens instead or at least the zoom lens with f2.8.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    As a courtesy to the audience and performers, it is best NOT to use flash. In some performances, indiscrimate use of flash may distract or temporarily 'blind' the performers and cause injury (for example is executing some difficult dance movements).

    As a general guide, you'll need high ISO, fast lenses (depending on the intensity of the stage lighting), a steady hand or monopod (again tripods are not allowed in many performances for safety/security reasons.

    Shutter speeds and aperture settings will depend on what you are trying to achieve with your shots, but generally M setting offer much better control and more predictable results. Slower shutter speeds if you wish to convey motion, faster shutters if you wish to 'freeze' action.

    Watch out also for colour balance/white balance as the type of lighting varies widely depending on the venue and the setup.

    Happy shooting.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    It really have to depend on the focal distance you are taking the photo....

    For example (Focal Length: 175.0mm, Exposure Time: 1/200, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO equiv: 400) :


    Without an external flash like the 580EX2, I don't think this shot can be achieve...

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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by stupidbloke View Post
    not true about the flash leh. it really depends whether or not flash photography is allowed. rule of thumb, if you see other shooting with flash. then shoot until you get stopped haha. i mean the worse is they come up to you and ask you to stop right?


    i think a pop up flash is sufficient though. although an external one would help alot. a pop up without a diffuser would do fine. the issue with dance performances is movement. you need to decide if you want to stop motion or allow for some movement blur. going manual is a good idea. let the flash do the fill. you can do a flash compesnsation and drop it by 2/3 stop or a stop.
    depends on the situation and event i guess
    If dance performance = dance performance in a indoor shopping mall then its probably fine to use your discretion to see if the situation allows for flash..
    If dance performance = dance performance in concert halls, then I can be 99.9% sure flash is not allowed, and like other bros have pointed out, disturbing to the audience and performers ( = not welcomed). It will be too late to "shoot under you get stopped"..

    cheers~

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    use fast prime and high iso, try not to use flash as it screws up the colours and ambient lighting, worst still if there are smoke effects, the flash will light up the smoke. also, if performance background is dark, u might want to -ev 1/2 stop or so if using matrix metering so as not to over expose subject which is usually in spotlight.
    did some performance shoot in low light posted here and here hope this helps...

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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    It really have to depend on the focal distance you are taking the photo....

    For example (Focal Length: 175.0mm, Exposure Time: 1/200, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO equiv: 400) :


    Without an external flash like the 580EX2, I don't think this shot can be achieve...
    That's because you are using a f/5.6 lens.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    That's because you are using a f/5.6 lens.
    Hmm.. Given the same situation to "freeze" (no movement/lens/subject blur) the moment, I think you still need a powerful external flash.


    With the lighting conditions & distance from the stage, I think even if you are using a prime or the Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L USM you won't get that "uniform" light on the face as you would need to relay on the ambient lighting on both side of the stage.


    This shot (by the Canon 18-200mm IS) was taken in Vivocity during one of the CNY'09 dance performance, I think a lot of fellow CSers have taken shots on the events too. Maybe they can share one of their shots (without flash & with the similar focal length) for that indoor event.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    It really have to depend on the focal distance you are taking the photo....

    For example (Focal Length: 175.0mm, Exposure Time: 1/200, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO equiv: 400) :


    Without an external flash like the 580EX2, I don't think this shot can be achieve...
    depends on the light conditions of the stage. how well lit the subject is.



    i achieved this shot (uneditted) from 50m away from the stage, obviously taken with no flash, handheld at 1/100 sec, f/5.6. i was on manual mode, so i set my aperture to 5.6 to remain constant at all zoom lengths.

    i cant do a close in shot due to the focal length of my lens. but all in all, its possible to do stage photography without flash. depends on lighting condition, and play with your settings. its only when u shoot more then you knw the capabilities of the camera body by pushing it to the limits.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by luntut View Post
    depends on the light conditions of the stage. how well lit the subject is.
    I agree that it really depend on the lighting conditions, without a flash you are at the mercy of the environment....

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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    I agree that it really depend on the lighting conditions, without a flash you are at the mercy of the environment....
    Sometimes, even with flash you are still at the mercy of the environment. I'm not sure if you have shot concerts before, but many of them do not allow flash.

    That is why many people shoot stage stuff and gigs with fast primes, rather than a 70-200 f/2.8, though, if lighting and performance conditions are ideal, it can still be used.

    This was shot with a 85mm f/1.8. While this is not a dance performance image, you can see that the EXIF is ideal for shooting dance, as the shutter speed is fast enough to freeze motion.


    EOS 1D MkII
    85mm f/1.8
    ISO 1600, 1/200s, f/2.2

  18. #18
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    Sometimes, even with flash you are still at the mercy of the environment. I'm not sure if you have shot concerts before, but many of them do not allow flash.

    That is why many people shoot stage stuff and gigs with fast primes, rather than a 70-200 f/2.8, though, if lighting and performance conditions are ideal, it can still be used..
    Actually most concert don't even allow you to bring a dslr (unless you have media pass)... True with a flash you may be still subject to the lighting conditions but at least you have 1 more control (beside Shutter Speed, Aperture & ISO) over your environment.

    Personally I feel that using a prime for a dance performances is too many restrictions... One moment the dancers is in the front, and a sec later he/she is at the back. Unless you are bringing a second body, you would be missing quite a number of shots....

  19. #19

    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    I would support: fast prime + high ISO + crop when necessary.

    With regards to flash... I'd still say fast prime + high ISO (maybe abit lower) + fill flash + crop when necessary.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Taking pictures of dance performances

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbone View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I am still new to photography and i realised i have been taking alot of indoor pics for dance performances such as clubs and concert halls.

    Can anyone advise me on what kinda settings to use? coz i am now using TV mode on canon 450D with 18-55 kit lens with built in flash. how can i adjust the settings so that i make the best of this camera? without getting additional stuff?

    I tried using the flash but the pics look very harsh, and i don have a diffuser, without it the pics look very dark.

    So i will like to see if there are any solutions without getting more stuff at this point of time.

    Apparently, taking performances aint one of my forte.. haa..
    What type of dance are you taking photos of?

    Looks like we're going to have similar interests.
    Am also new to photograhy and trying to take some dance photographs.

    Currently using a prime lens. At first not used to the fact that there's no zoom, but now (after around 4-5 sessions) I am more quite comfortable with 'using my legs for zooming'. I suppose that also depends on whether can walk around the place, or whether you're allocated a fixed seating.

    I don't flash onto the dancefloor as it distracts everyone. (Though some people though I use flash because my nikon sends up a bright beam of light when I try to autofocus.) I only use flash off the dance floor, when people are posing broad smiles for the photoshoot.

    Then again, like what Rongren says, if it's in a shopping mall where it's distracting anyway...then I suppose no harm trying to use on if it helps to enhance the photo.

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