It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of panto. Last week I got to shoot production stills of Hansel and Gretel in The Mac and as always, it was a hoot. Theatre productions are always great fun to shoot. Due to the nature of performance you never get to stop to take or stage pictures. Yes you can pose photos but I find that the images often look flat and boring. You need a bit of movement and action to create images that pop.
Once the show starts thats it; you just have to hang on for the duration and be ready at all times. I was shooting with two Nikon D750s fitted with a standard wide and zoom lens. Because you have to take pictures from the seating bank in most theatres its quite tricky to get in to position as you can only easily move left and right. If you want to move forward or backwards you either jump over the seats or dash to the end of the row and change there. This means you often have to predict whats going to happen on stage so you can move in to position to get the shot.
I knew the storey of Hansel and Gretel well but as this show was a modern take on a very old story I would have pay attention to the movements of the actors on stage. The stage environment is as difficult as it comes in terms of lighting conditions. Its often very dark with a mix of flood and spot lighting. You can turn up the ISO to give you a faster shutter speed but when you do, its much harder to control the highlights when spot lighted areas creep in to your images. Its all about balance and thankfully due to the flexibility of the RAW files provided by the Nikons you’ve got a lot to work with.