Learn From Your Successes, Too

This year, I was looking for expressions and action. Amanda McBroom obliged me. Note that the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 is quite sharp even at maximum aperture.

The organizers said, “Last year was great. Do the same.” That’s very nice, but it’s not how I roll. I view every shoot as an opportunity to learn how to do the next one better. So I reviewed the images from last year’s Ojai Art Center Fundraiser and made a plan to get better images at this year’s event.

For the reception images, I chose to boost ISO to 800 for a better balance of ambient light and flash, and I think the results (examples in the previous blog entry) were indeed much better than last year.

For the performance photos, the benefits of experience included: 1) more confidence to shoot at ISO 3200 if I could nail the exposure, 2) a willingness to move closer to the stage for a different perspective, and 3) a determination to chase better moments and not waste my time on shots that lacked emotion, expression and/or action.

As a portrait photographer, I'm obsessed with eyes, but as a performance photographer, I need to remember that closed eyes tell a story too.

Reviewing hundreds of last year’s images also taught me not to waste my time snapping pictures while the microphone was directly between the performer and the spotlight, as it produces a nasty shadow right down the middle of the singer’s face. In the end, I think most of the images are better, even if  marginally so. But the experience was FAR superior, because I got those results with much less effort during the event and MUCH MUCH less effort in post-processing. I worked hard, but I had fun and produced something different from what I did before. I wonder if they’ll let me shoot from the stage next year…

Last year, I shot the entire show from the back of the theater. This year, I spent some time close to the stage. When headliner Sam Harris sat on the edge of the stage to sing a ballad, I got a shot not possible from the back of the theater.

1 Comment

Filed under Camera Settings, Dance and Theater, Lighting, Low Light

One response to “Learn From Your Successes, Too

  1. Jude

    You teach yourself well Dean!

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