10 Steps to better photos of stage
productions and graduations
It's difficult to take great
pictures of a play or school graduation or similar event. Even simple
digital cameras can do a pretty good job if you choose the right
1 -Take your camera off the
setting! (P Mode or green rectangle).
Some cameras, such as the Panasonic LZ7, have a special scene mode for
stage performances. Otherwise, choose the action mode.
2 - Turn off the flash. It only throws
about 10 feet and theater management usually won’t allow it anyway.
If you use a flash, the backs of the heads of theatergoers in front of
you will look white.
3 - Set ISO to highest number. ISO refers
to sensitivity to light. High numbers = greater sensitivity. There’s
more “noise” but you need the higher speeds to get acceptable shutter
4 - White Balance – set to tungsten (icon
of a light bulb) so the image doesn’t look too red/orange.
(Ignore this for outdoor, daytime events)
5 - Image stabilization –
if your camera has this feature, make sure it's
ON. This helps compensate for unsteadiness at slow speeds.
6 - Tripod or monopod – highly
recommended. Even if you're seated, you can usually
extend one leg part way to touch the floor.
7 - Use the two-stage shutter release
- Depress the shutter (gently) half-way until the
focus is set and the imaging sensor is charged and ready
- Squeeze off the last fraction of an inch to actually
take the picture.
8 - Tweaking the controls: The
stage is usually brightly lit but the background is dark. Your camera
sees this and averages out the two extremes, setting the exposure
somewhere in the middle. That means your subject is too bright – the
highlights are “washed out.” Most cameras have a +/- control.
Figure out how to use it and experiment with setting it to the minus
setting until your subjects look right and the background is pretty
9 - Get close! Your zoom lens will help
but it also magnifies the shake of your hands.
10 -Shoot at times of least action, and
pan the camera along with the action.