In my nonsense shorthand, this means “photography is problem-solving”. And it always is.
Take the other night, when I shot a classical concert – Händel’s Messiah, by Masterworks of Oakville. Among my challenges were:
- Low light!
- The required white balance is non-standard.
- No flash allowed.
- Close-ups and long shots both needed.
- You do not want to get in the way of the audience.
- Finding the right position – be close.
- The organizers had made it known that I was not to move around…
- The conductor had asked me not to make clicking sounds! Ouch.
As you see, I had my work cut out for me. So how did I handle all this?
- I used the right equipment – only f/2.8 lenses. 16-35 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8 and I had primes and a small camera.
- I shot everything at 1600 ISO. f/2.8 and 1600 ISO gave me acceptable shutter speeds.
- I arrived early, so I was right behind the orchestra, about 30cm from the soloists.
- I had three cameras. My main cameras had a 16-36 wide and 70-200 long lens.
- I set these two big Canon 1D4/1Ds3 cameras to “silent” shutter (a little quieter than normal).
- I also disabled all beeps.
- But I shot all shots of quiet passages with my Fuji X100, which is totally silent.
- I shot RAW, allowing me to tune white balance afterward.
- I angle shots to ensure the size of the crowd is emphasized.
- Shoot detail.
- Show all angels – choir, soloists, audience, the works.
- Fill the frame!
- Shoot the right moments. Emotion is good…
A few of the resulting images:
Final note: also shoot “establishing shots”: the venue, the show notes, and so on.
Shooting converts is fun if stressful – and using techniques like these, that stress can be handled.