Shooting Live Performances

 

Right from nautankis and street theatre to wonderful dances and other entertaining shows, live performances have it all. Here are a few pointers to help you capture the goings-on on this versatile stage.

While using blur, the effect must look intentional and must add value to the picture. Photograph: Harkiran Singh Bhasin / NCPA

While using blur, the effect must look intentional and must add value to the picture. Photograph: Harkiran Singh Bhasin / NCPA

Do Not Just Shoot
Capturing a live performance is like documenting art. If you have managed to get the opportunity to witness one, think of how you can convey it using different media. Shoot photographs, of course, but you can also compile written notes, audio recordings, video clip, interviews and audience reactions to get a more holistic feel of the event.

Use Flash Creatively
The use of flash can help you get some outstanding effects, especially during action-packed performances that are fi lled with a lot of movement. Always use the Slow Sync Flash mode while shooting any low-light performances. This serves two purposes. Firstly, the slow shutterspeed chosen by the camera helps capture enough ambient light, so that the feel of the venue is not destroyed. Moreover, this mode helps you combine a feel of still and motion, due to the combined use of flash along with a slow shutterspeed.

A telephoto lens is useful while shooting performances, if it is not possible to get close to the stage. Photograph/Shridhar Kunte.

A telephoto lens is useful while shooting performances, if it is not possible to get close to the stage. Photograph/Shridhar Kunte.

If Flash is Disallowed
It may often happen that a particular stage performance disallows you to use flash. What should one do then? Go ahead and experiment with the various options available in your camera. You will need to use a high ISO of over 800 or 1600, so that the shutterspeed is fast enough for you to handhold the picture. Additionally, if you are a DSLR user, you can invest in an inexpensive lens like the 50mm f/1.8. Due to its fast maximum aperture, it is great for low light shooting. However, if none of this works and you are forced to use a slow shutterspeed, use this ‘problem’ to your advantage and make deliberate use of motion blur.

Respect the Audience
Always remember that your photography should not spoil someone else’s experience. Do not obstruct an audience member’s view. If this is unavoidable, then be kind enough to ask for permission, make your shot and move away quickly.

Tags: Video, Concert, Dance, High ISO, audience, permission, live performance, notes, audio recordings, reactions, expressions, slow sync flash, motion blur