TIPS for taking pictures in a Theater

My two younger daughters will be performing this coming weekend in Seussical the Musical!!!  To say we are all excited is an understatement...we can't wait for late night rehearsals and anxiety over dance moves to be over, um, the AHHHmazing performances to be seen!

No really, it's been quite FUN to say the least...and in the words of our newly opened High's going to be HISTORIC!!!

If you've been keeping up with my ponderings lately, you'll know that this "season of life" with preteen/teenagers has been quite surprising and actually quite lovely (plus or minus the mood swings and occasional drama)

This is our last year of Expert Cubes and Elementary School field trips...our girls are growing up and I'm forever trying to keep up with all their musings and interests.  One thing I never regret, is getting pictures to freeze the moment for them...Let's face it, I'm getting knees are creaking, my ankles are sore...I THINK I can do the things I want to do (Oh the THINKS I can THINK!...see what I did there???) But, the fact of the matter is that SOOO much is going on, that I often forget's for that reason, that I'm thankful for pictures that help me capture moments in time...

So, with that said, I have some helpful tips for you regarding shooting in a Theater!!!


1. Please note that a pop up flash will do NOTHING in most situations.  A pop up flash is meant for distances of no more than 6 feet in front of you.  If you use a pop up flash inside a dark theater from far away, the most it will do is cause distraction for the performers...This has got to be one of my biggest pet peaves...HOWEVER, you CAN adjust your ISO to get more light if your aperture does not give you the ability to have a wide window of light to let through. Typically, in these situations, my ISO is set to 800 or even up to 1600 in some cases.  The spotlights definitely help...if you aren't sure what ISO means, be sure to take a look at my Mentoring Classes!!! 

2. Because it is dark, your camera is going to "want" or "ask for" more light.  Sometimes this means that it will SLOW DOWN your shutterspeed...this can cause major blur on really neat action parts.  Therefore, be aware of this and again, adjust that ISO beforehand to give your camera enough light to work with, without using a flash. By doing so, you allow your camera the ability to speed up the shutter in order to catch action without giving up the light needed for the frame. Try not to slow your shutterspeed lower than 1/200 of a second, especially if they are moving on stage.

IF you keep your camera on Auto, more than likely, in low light situations it will automatically pop your flash (which will do nothing unfortunately) OR it will slow down your shutterspeed to nill and you'll get blurry pics :( You can try to stay on Shutterspeed mode (S or TV) so that you can control the shutterspeed no lower than 200 and the camera will do the rest (again, continue to be aware of your ISO to give your camera the MOST available light it can use!!)

3. Zoom in as much as you can, but also be sure to get the big picture too.  Try to keep in mind the "story" being presented.  Every story has characters, details, setting and action.  Try to "freeze" those story elements in your imagery. 

4. If possible, use different angles.  Instead of just shooting straight on, try aiming up, to almost get the ceiling in the background...try different composition techniques like Principle of Thirds, to give the image more pizzazz!

5. Remember to ENJOY THE SHOW!  Try not to have the camera in front of your face the entire time (or your iphone...recording video or snapping pictures)  Relish the moments WITH your's so, so worth it...Get a handful of really great pictures for the scrapbook and then sit back and watch them shine!!!  

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