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Photo Call

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by propmonkey, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

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    Beloit/Milwaukee, WI
    i did a search for taking pictures of shows and i know there are many threads about pictures of the show but i want more advice on taking them. the other night we had photo call for broadway bound which i am running lights for. i recently purchased my camera so i thought i would also take pictures (the main photographer[he got me into photography] was slightly drunk and not that good).

    my current inventory is a Nikon D50 with a Sigma 28-70mm 2.8f lens. the next lens i plan to buy is a 50mm 1.8f as soon as i have the money.

    those are my shots from the show.

    iso - 800
    white balance - tungsten ( i tried a preset but it whited the warms too much)
    focal length - ranged from 28-70
    aperture - ranged from 2.8 to 4 depending on focal length
    mode - shutter priority
    focus - auto one point
    position - handheld

    -high pass filter for sharpening

    i find shutter priority is better for me in low light since im using the lowest aperture and hand holding.

    what do you recommend for settings and techniques?
  2. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Ok, so i'm going to go out on a limb and say that you were shooting faster than 1/60th of a second, and no flash. since you are lights and all

    When i shoot photos of shows, i use my D70s and a 28-200mm Tamron 3.8-5.6 apperture. (might change with the 70-300mm VR nikor i just ordered but we'll see)

    General settings on camera:
    Image quallity: Raw (mainly cause i do professional photography as well and that gives the most control)
    White Ballance: Usually on Auto and changed in post (easy with Raw), if you are using Jpeg, shoot with Incandescent, you will like how those look
    General idea of shutter speed: if i'm shooting durring a run, i try to get 1/200th or better, if i am shooting durring a photo call, i will drop down to 1/60th
    Apperture: Depends on what i need to have to get the speed in the shutter, digitals have a longer focal range than you would usually think even at the lower appertures

    I usually run on Manual and modify all apperture and shutter speeds per shot, generally going through to be 2-3 steps "under exposed" which compensates for the darkness around you. When a light meter reads the general light on a digital you will capture the entire view through your lens and it takes and ballances it out to an even 18% grey. This for theatre tends to over expose your actors and set and give you a still dark void around them. So when i shoot 2-3 steps faster shutter speed from even grey, i recieve a shot that comes to take the actors and set and make them viewable in the post shot.

    After processing:
    Import through Adobe Lightroom (excellent for importing lots of photos at once) (changes file name to what you want, and sorts them into files on your hard drive)
    General Raw Editing in Adobe Lightroom (yes its like the old dark rooms for film)
    Fine tuning editing in photoshop if needed.

    When working with film, you shoot for the shadows, when working in digital, you shoot for the highlights. (sucks when your shooting both)
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Lititz, PA
    Your photos look pretty good, though some are very dark. First thing that you need is a good tripod. Unfortunately, such simple pieces of technology are usually amazingly expansive. What you don't want here is one of the cheap aluminum ones with thin legs. Chances are you will need to spend a minimum of $100 here. If you do a lot of other photography, or if you hike, they make really nice, lightweight, tripods, but since they are made of composite materials like carbon fiber they are quite expensive. For photo calls though, just a good steady one will do.

    Next up, though I haven't played much with the D50, I am a real Nikon guy. I usually shoot photo calls in Program (P), with Auto White Balance, and on Auto ISO (with the base ISO set at 200). Now, I don't know if the D50 does auto ISO or what it's max is, but if you are on a tripod in program then you should get ideal shooting conditions.

    The other thing that is key is knowing what to take your light meter readings off of and what metering mode to use. Sometimes theatre lighting fools the matrix metering system in the camera and that can mess up your photos and your white balance. For wide shots with the actors centered in the frame I often find that Center-Weighted metering works best, and for single shots or small groups I often find I use Spot Metering. If the D50 metering system is like my D70s then the spot meter will meter from whichever focus frame you are using. Some times I will shoot a few in different metering modes and choose the best later.

    Which brings me to my next pointer. make sure you have a big memory card, at least 1GB, look for sales and such and pick yourself up a collection. Then, at photo call, don't stop shooting. You are better off if you have 20 shots of a setup and only one good one then if you have two shots and neither are good. Also, shoot in the highest resolution, this, I suppose is a no-brainer, but some people don't think about it. It is especially important when you are going to work in Photoshop. I would say shoot in RAW for theatre stuff, but sometimes that makes your post production harder, especially if you haven't done it before. working in RAW is great for theatre work though because you can really fix things like color balance and not destroy the photo. If you are a mac user Aperture is great for working in RAW, if you are a Windoze user then Adobe Lightroom is probably the way to go there.

    As for your next equipment purchases, you probably don't need to go after the 50mm lens, you basically have it in your bag now with the zoom you own. Plus, unless you specifically get a 50mm lens that is for digital (Nikon's DX series or Sigma's DC series) then it won't be a 50mm on your D50, it will be a 75mm due to the magnification factor of the smaller image area of most digital chips. You may want to look into some of the longer zooms, or some of the super wide lenses. I just picked up the Sigma 10-20mm and it is a really fun tool in my bag.

    Hope that helps some.
  4. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Cincinnati, Oh
    If you look at the apperture on the 50mm lens it makes sense why he wants that one. It lets in more light. the 2.8f will let him do decent work getting light but with a 1.8f he can probably end up getting 3-4 steps faster on his shutter speed.

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