Advice on shooting stage event


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Zoomster

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Aug 6, 2007
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Thomson
#1
Need some advice.

Have been asked by my company to take some photos at the launch of an event.
First time actually being asked. They had seen me using DSLR at some other informal event.
Haven't really tried this type of photography but am willing. I mostly shoot landscapes, flora, some street scenes etc.

Event is held indoors in our auditorium. Lighting is tungsten-yellow type but definitely not bright enough to shoot without flash.

Event has speech, slide presentation, performance (dance item) and presentation of tokens of appreciation (maybe 20 people going up on stage, shake hand, take token, pose for picture etc). All these items will be on raised stage. Plus some makan reception and exhibitions outside later but that’s a no-brainer.

These are the items I have:
Camera: 40D
Flash: 430 EX speedlite
Lens: 17-50mm f/2.8 Tamron & 24-105mm f/4 IS Canon

Do you folks think this setup is okay? I will be able to move around and shoot just at the foot of the stage. Probably not going up on stage. Also would using a whale-tail (which I can get easily) be useful or just direct flash?

PS – event shoot is being done for free. So I am not renting lens etc for which I won’t be able to reimburse.

Thanks!
 

Reportage

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2008
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#3
as long you can move around right in front of the stage then what you have is fine...just clarify with them that you need to use flash to make things easier.

I recommend you be on stage for the prize givings for more level pictures. The 24-105 will be the lens used most of the time. There will also be the customary group photos though should be easy enough for the 24-105.

for the VIPs, try taking in Raw.
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#4
Get the event schedule to see the flow of events. helps to be prepared and move to right position. If there is any rehearsal you should attend. Have a look at the room and check for walls and ceiling for bounce flash.
Get the whale tale and flash gels and do test shots just before (but light already switched on). Focus especially on images at stage (handover of token) and in audience where the light will be different. Read up about flash, fill flash and metering in such conditions.
 

calebk

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Jul 25, 2006
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Clementi
#6
I doubt you will be able to stand on stage to shoot the prize presentation. You'll be blocking the view of everyone.
 

Shin Howard

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Feb 18, 2008
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#7
I recently covered a company event with 40D gripped + 580EX II + 24-105L.
The Flash was attached with a DIY Bounce card. My set-up was ok for this event until we were inside the building, then it was a bit tough as 24mm on crop frame is not wide a enuf for large group portrait. But you have the Tamron 17-50 so you shd be good to go. :)

Please do not do multiple shots in quick session in case your flash get exhausted and u miss the impt moments.

Good luck.
 

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MrWhites

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Nov 27, 2007
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Woodlands
#8
Do some planning before the event, know wheres everything gonna be and if theres any rehearsal, attend it. Look around where'll you will be shooting and plan what equipment you wanna use and when. Good luck:D
 

MrWhites

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Nov 27, 2007
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#9
I doubt you will be able to stand on stage to shoot the prize presentation. You'll be blocking the view of everyone.
oh, from what little experience i have from taking photos of events, the photographer is rather important. I was allowed to go on stage and sit on the stairs leading up to the stage even tough i was blocking alot of th audience. Have to do what i have to do when im the one thats gotta do it:dunno:
 

calebk

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Jul 25, 2006
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Clementi
#10
oh, from what little experience i have from taking photos of events, the photographer is rather important. I was allowed to go on stage and sit on the stairs leading up to the stage even tough i was blocking alot of th audience. Have to do what i have to do when im the one thats gotta do it:dunno:
I never mentioned no stage access entirely, but wouldn't you find it weird if during prize presentation, when the action is at center stage, the photographer is right in front of center stage, blocking the entire audience's view? I for one have never seen that happen before. Even at graduations and cert presentation ceremonies, the main photographers are on the ground, with a long lens, so the perspective is more flattering.
 

Reportage

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Nov 24, 2008
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#11
it all depends...on how high the stage is.

If the photographer already given permission by the organiser to go up on stage for the photos, blocking the audience view is the least of the concerns.

Are videographers who go on stage during the live performances to record ever considered as blocking audience view?
 

surrephoto

Senior Member
Jan 14, 2009
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#12
Like cartman has said, your setup is certainly more than sufficient.

If you are afriad of the lack of flash power to bounce ceiling, use your whale-tail. It is great to make your shot look "unflashy". If tungsten is primary, you should use a gel.

With regards to settings and metering you can try my method (C & C but don't flame thks),

Use aperture priority mode in centre-weighted metering. This is to assure your shots are as natural as possible.

Don't be afriad to stay at ISO 1600 or beyond. The priority during events is to get the shot right.

If in AV mode your shutter is too slow, (less than 1/60), turn down the exposure compensation (standard wheel, don't touch flash exposure) to a maximum of -1 2/3 stops. This will make flash do the primary subject exposure work. Use FE lock on subject's neutral shade (usually a person face), signal, then fire.

If you don't use FE lock in this method, exposure will go bonkus.

Hope this helps.
 

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calebk

Senior Member
Jul 25, 2006
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Clementi
#13
it all depends...on how high the stage is.

If the photographer already given permission by the organiser to go up on stage for the photos, blocking the audience view is the least of the concerns.

Are videographers who go on stage during the live performances to record ever considered as blocking audience view?
You are right. However, permission and discernment are two very different elements. Just because you can doesn't mean you must. The videographer comparison here is a moot one; they usually do not place themselves at the center of action at standing height. Just because you have permission for stage access doesn't mean you have to be a jerk just to get your shots.

I have yet to see one presentation event where a photographer or videographer is at the center of the stage, at standing height, photographing/videographing the presentation. If you are shooting the presentation, you are bound to be in the middle, so you don't have much of a choice. Even if you are allowed on stage, you would most likely be kneeling or half-bending, and because you are on stage, you'd be using a shorter focal length, as opposed to a longer one off stage. Either way, you would not be at eye level.

The topic of focal length has not been given much consideration. In such genres of photography, it's important to flatter the subject(s). Using a short focal length and going up close to stage will exaggerate bodily features - hardly flattering. This is another reason for not needing to go up on stage. While I understand the need to be on eye level as the subject as much as possible, we as photographers should also be considerate people. Like I said, just because you can, doesn't mean you should do something to inconvenience others just to get your shot; use good discretion.
 

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