If you have children or grandchildren in school that means your calendar is more than likely jam-packed with end-of-the-year concerts, recitals, prom, awards ceremonies, graduation.
It’s hard to stay on top of it all, and even harder to document sometimes.
In light of the busy season, today’s blog is full of some quick tips to help you make the most of photographing those end-of-the-year events.
A week ago, we gathered the family, including grandparents, and headed to the grade school spring concert. Of course, I knew I wanted to document the performance so I started out by getting some general information from the kids.
Rule No. 1: If your child is a performer or seated in of an audience, find out where. I tend to sit on the same side the kids are on so I can get a close image. That means staking out your seat early. When picking out your seat, it’s also important to know the limitations of your gear (Rule No. 2).
Rule No. 2: Know the limitations of your gear. I waited until a few minutes before the students were filing in and then took a few test images of the stage so I could figure out exactly how to adjust my camera for the light. The auditorium stage at this event was pretty dark (photo, right). If you are armed only with a pop-up flash on your camera and you are seated at the back of an auditorium, know your flash won’t reach your target on the stage. Practice makes perfect.
Rule No. 3: Try to get a clear shot at your target. Again that means going to the venue earlier than the average Joe to capture a prized aisle seat. Sometimes even that doesn’t help. From my vantage point at this concert, one of our girls was partially obscured by the director (photo, left). There wasn’t much I could do other than move myself or time my photos so I had a clear line of vision. The aisle seat also didn’t help me this time because of where my subjects were located on the stage (I had an open view of one but not the other) which meant I was shooting over the people in front of me. Yes, there are some heads in the shots and yes, they will be cropped out later.
Rule No. 4: Realize there may be “hot spots” on the stage (Siana, photo, below), areas where the lighting is super strong. You have a couple choices here. You can make adjustments in your camera so you don’t overexpose your subject, or you can wait until your subject is no longer in the “hot spot” to photograph them.
Rule No. 5: Patience. Don’t give up if you aren’t getting the images you want during the performance. Yes, photographing these events can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t get exactly the shots you want. Thankfully, most venues take into account you will want great photos of your child and they allow you to photograph your child after the event. Then you can choose a perfectly lit spot with no obstructions.